|Part of the
You Can Learn Landscaping and Gardening series.
By Ken Brown
Updated: February 04, 2005
It is almost spring time. Sure there is snow on the ground, but now is the time
to begin thinking about starting seedlings. The seeds of today will turn into
the beautiful flowers and fruit of the summer.
Basics of growing plants from seeds
What do you need to grow plants from seeds? Where do you grow them, it's
winter? When do they need to be placed in soil? How do you plant the seeds? Why
should you start your plants from seeds. Just go to the store and buy your
tomato plants, perennials and herbs ready to plant in the ground.
Well for starters, you can save some money by starting your summer plants from
seeds. For the price you pay to buy garden sized perennials, you can plant
seeds that will give you a whole garden of beautiful foliage and flowers.
Sometimes your local garden store doesn't have the wide variety you can get
from mail order seed stores.
Some gardeners will harvest seeds from the year before and prepare them in the
spring. Your only cost is the time you spend. But isn't that really enjoying
your hobby? The seeds you save can be used to trade with other gardeners.
Plant seeds in the basement
Many people will plant seeds in the basement or a bedroom or even in a warm
garage. My father used to start his tomatoes indoors in the basement. We lived
in a tri-level home so the basement actually had windows. But he would still
put a grow light on the seedlings as the winter sun wasn't out long enough to
do the job.
By starting them indoors you get a head start on summer. In the upper part of
theMidwest, you can't plant seeds outside until the soil warms up. Wait until
your soil heats up to 65 degrees fahrenheit before planting. My dad used to
keep the house temperature lower than 65 degrees. So he used a little heat lamp
in the room where he grew the seedlings.
You can get seed planting trays and containers from garden supply stores and
online garden catalogs.
Get soil that is known as a soilless mix. Your local garden center has the mix
you need to give your seeds the best start possible. It is important there are
no nasty organisms in the soil you use. That is why you should use a soilless
How to plant seeds
To plant the seeds you can use what is known as a dibble or just use a pencil
to poke a hole in the soil. Then drop the seed in the hole and cover lightly
with your soil mixture. Outdoors, make sure you have removed rocks and clumps
of clay before planting. By the way, a dibble is nothing more than a tool to
make a hole in the soil for your seeds.
Keep your seeds moist. If you plant them outside, water them everyday. Inside,
keep them moist any number of ways. Create a mini greenhouse with plastic wrap.
Put a little sprinkler type system in place or water them with a watering can
with a gentle spray. You don't want to wash the seeds away.
After the seeds germinate remove the plastic so the seeds get air. Light, air
and water are most important at this point. Light needed is more than 6 hours a
day. Try 12 hours a day, which is why most indoor gardeners get grow lights.
Gro lights can just be fluorescent lights normally used as shop lighs.
Garden plants to start indoors
Now that the seeds have sprouted and appear to be thriving and growing it is
time to take them outside. Do it gradually. Kind of like sunbathers from the
North taking a vacation in the Carribbean. You don't jump out in the sun for 12
hours that first day. You transition to full exposure slowly. Gradually place
your plants outdoors a little at a time. Start with 4 hours in the shade and
over 2 weeks or so transition the plants to their final home in your garden.
If you use a container that will decompose in the ground, then you plant
container and all in the ground. Otherwise, pull the plant gently out of the
container being sure to bring as much of the soil as possible with the roots.
The plants are tender and need to feel like they are still at home.
Annuals can be grown from seed also. But start them early, so the plant is
strong and hardy before the transition to the garden. Annuals that can be
successfully started indoors.
Annuals to grow from seeds
So try it out this winter. Now is the time to get the supplies you need and
begin to look for seeds. Not all seed stock is the same. Some can be old and
won't germinate. So get your seeds from a reputable dealer. Follow their
directions. They want you to be successful with your plants so you will buy
from them next year.
Happy gardening, even in the winter.
Get the seeds
Prepare the soil
Plant the seeds
Water regularly (Keep moist)
Provide plenty of light and fresh air
Transition to the garden slowly
Enjoy the fruits of your labor