Spring is right around the corner. Are you excited to start growing your spring vegetables again? Don’t wait until spring is here, though; you should start sowing your plant seeds in February. Mid February is the time to get the ball rolling on your seeds to get them ready to be transferred outside in spring. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, onions, peas, peppers and tomatoes are the ones that are great to be planted this month. If you are looking to continue your New Year resolution of losing weight, kale, lettuce, and spinach are also ready to start germinating at this time.
Getting Germination Started
The first step to getting ready for spring is to pre-soak your seeds before you plant them. This process lets the seed embryo get introduced to water which is important to jump start germination. Fill a shallow container with hot water. Put the seeds in the container and spread them out. Let the seeds soak for up to 24 hours- any longer and the seeds may rot. After soaking, take the seeds and plant them in moist soil immediately. You can purchase seed starter trays at your local hardware store or plant nursery. If you’re more of a DIYer, you can also use egg cartons or yogurt cups. Keep the seeds well watered until they have sprouted up.
Best Practice Potting Mix
When considering which type of soil to use for your seeds, try to find a potting mix that states “seed starter” on the bag. If you find those impossible to find, look for potting soils that are composed of vermiculite and peat without any soil in them. This type of mix is sterile, lightweight, and free from weed seeds. You want your seeds to have no resistance when germinating. You also don’t want them to be competing for nutrients with weeds that are accidentally in other potting soils.
The Sweet Spot
Now you have your seeds situated into their new home, but you need to look at where to place them to get the best results. One common misconception about starting seeds inside is that the window sill is the best place. Yes, plants need to have sunlight but early seeds do not need direct light to grow. The best place for your young seedlings is in a warm, draft-free spot. Most seeds germinate best when the temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees.
You may create a greenhouse effect to speed up the germination if you’re impatient for results. Here’s how. Cover your plants loosely with plastic wrap or if your container is small enough, put it inside of a plastic bag. This will help hold in heat and moisture. Make sure to check your plants daily to see if they are starting to sprout.
Hard Work Pays Off
Now that your plants have started to sprout, it’s time to take off the plastic and place them in indirect sunlight. Make sure to keep their soil moist but not wet. You can keep your teenage plants in their container until it is time to plant them in your garden, or you can put them into bigger pots if you want them to grow stronger and bigger before being transplanted into the ground.
Once you’ve gotten your veggies into your backyard garden, you can enjoy the benefits of growing your own food. Keep the plants fed and happy and they’ll do the same for you!