Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

This is the Year to Start a Garden - Part 2 Starting Plants from seed at home

Starting your own plants from seed has a number of advantages. First of all if you purchase heirloom or unusual varieties of let's say peppers or tomatoes, your only option is to start your own plants.

Cost can be a consideration if you require a great number of plants, buying them can run into more money than you may be willing to spend.

There is also the great feeling of satisfaction that comes from planting those seeds and looking at your seed trays starting the very next day.

You know that your seeds won't sprout for a number of days to come, but you look at those trays several times a day anyway. Then there is that feeling of satisfaction that you get when you see those first crooks when they emerge to the surface. From the first sprout to plants maturing enough to be set out in the garden, I look forward to the process every year. If  you have never grown your own plants from seed, this may be your year to discover just how rewarding raising your own "plant children" can be.

Here are the materials that you will need for starting your own plants from seed. At your favorite garden center, purchase plastic seed starter trays or cell packs which come with four or six cell's. You can also purchase plastic pots of varying sizes.

You will also need a sterile seed starter mix, which is an excellent way to start your plants.

Seed starter mixes are free from soil borne diseases and promote healthy growing conditions.  

Tips for starting plants from seed at home:

1. Order seeds early to allow time for seeding so that you will have your plants ready for setting out at the proper time.

2. Purchase plastic seed trays, plastic pots or plastic cell packs.

3. Your best choice for seed starting is a sterile seed starting mix which promotes healthy seedling development.

4. When starting seeds it is important to maintain temperatures of from 75 degrees to 80 degrees until seeds begin to germinate. When the majority of the seedlings are up, an even temperature of 70 degrees is ideal for plant development.

5.  Before setting your new plants out in the garden, move the trays outside to harden them off. On the first day or two keep your trays in partial shade to allow for the plants to get acclimated to outdoor conditions.

John Coykendall, Master Gardener