Are you thinking about growing flowers by seed? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on the seed starting process, based on what I’ve learned while sowing seeds the last few years.
It’s getting to be that time again! SEED SOWING TIME! I’ve been sharing the different aspects of growing a cut flower garden. But I thought it would be helpful for those gardeners that are just starting this process if I shared a step-by-step tutorial on how I sow my seeds.
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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. So everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion, and things that worked for me along the way.
Steps For Seed Sowing
Choose the Right Container
Seed starting containers should be clean and have drainage holes. For several container options, you can read my blog post Supplies Needed for Seed Starting. More information regarding how to clean your used containers can be found on my post Seed Starting 101 – Growing a Cut Flower Garden Series. I use cell trays and plastic pots for my seed containers.
Use Moist Quality Soil
Use a quality seed starter potting mix. Moisten the soil until it’s thoroughly damp, but not soaking wet.
Fill the container to the top with soil. As you go, tap firmly against the table or shelf to make sure the soil settles and to prevent air pockets in the containers.
Label the container with the name of the variety of plant and the date planted.
Make Holes For the Seeds
Read the back of the seed packet for the planting depth. I’ve always followed the rule to plant the seed twice as deep as its longest side if there are no instructions available.
Make a hole for the seed in each container using a pencil, dibbler or your finger.
Drop Seeds into Holes
Drop 1-2 seeds into each hole.
Cover Seed Hole with Soil
Add a light dusting of seed starter potting mix, unless otherwise stated in the instructions. For larger seeds, add 1/4 inch of potting soil over the surface, covering the seeds.
Set Container in a Water-Filled Drainage Tray
After sowing the seeds, set the container in a drainage tray with an inch of water in the bottom, removing once the soil surface is evenly moist. It’s important not to let the container sit in the water for more than an hour.
Place on Heat Mat & Cover
Continue to check the soil moistness after 2-3 days. Bottom water again as needed.
Remove From Heat Mat & Uncover Once Germinating
Check the container daily. Once the seeds have germinated and the sprouts are visible, remove the plastic dome lids and remove from the heated mat. Keep in a light and bright space such as a greenhouse or sunroom. If you don’t have that option, keep the seedlings under a grow light.
Water as Needed
Check the seedlings on a daily basis to make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out. The very first leaves that appear on the plant are called cotyledons. Be sure to bottom water your seedlings until you see the first real leaves that appear after the cotyledons. Once those second sets of leaves appear, water with a gentle spray from a watering can or hose when needed, usually every 1-2 days.
Transplant if Needed
If your seedlings start to outgrow their containers before they’re ready to be planted outdoors, you’ll need to transplant them into a larger containers while still growing inside. It’s important to give the roots more room to grow.
Harden Your Seedlings
After all danger of frost has passed, you can begin “hardening off” your plants before transplanting them into the garden. Don’t skip this process! Your plants will go into shock by the sudden change in temperature.
Set the containers in a sheltered spot outdoors, increasing the amount of time they spend outside each day, over the course of a week or two. I usually start with 2-3 hours the first day.
Transplant to the Garden
After an adequate amount of time to acclimate the plants to the extreme temperatures, transplant the seed starts to the garden.
I hope this post gives you more of an “at a glance” step-by-step instruction on how to plant your seeds. For more detailed information, you can read my blog post Seed Starting 101 – Growing a Cut Flower Garden Series. I address more specifics regarding seed starting there.
And you can read any of the other posts in my GROWING A CUT FLOWER GARDEN blog series with this link. I hope this helps!
And I have an added bonus for you! My friend Stacy of Bricks ‘n Blooms shares some simple tips to getting organized before starting seeds indoors. Make sure you check it out on her blog.
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