How to start plants from seed
So how do you successfully grow plants from seeds?
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to grow plants from seeds once you have tried it yourself! But you have to be aware that growing plants can become a very addictive hobby!
To help you start your own growing adventure we have created a 4 step plan filled with tips & tricks to successfully start growing seeds.
You can watch our Youtube video to see what method works best for us. Hopefully, it will help you to avoid the mistakes we have already made for you!
To help you start your growing adventure as soon as possible we have written down the 4 steps including shopping list items and beginner mistakes on this page.
To start your own seeds you will need a pot, tray, or container. What you choose to start your seed in doesn’t matter, as long as it has good water permeability. It is important that excess water can drain away! We have seen many starting gardeners making this mistake. Because the water can’t escape, the compost stays too wet and the seeds or seedlings will rot. Wet soil also creates the perfect environment for unwanted fungi. To prevent soggy soil we start everything in these module trays. But, you can look into that later and first start a few seeds in small pots you can find in your house.
Starting your own seeds all starts with the pot, tray or container you choose. What you start your seed in doesn’t matter as long as it has good water permeability. So no sealed bottom! This is where many starting gardeners go wrong. Because the water can’t escape, the compost stays too wet and the seed or plant will rot. This can also cause fungi to take over. We start everything in module trays.
After you’ve chosen your container it’s time for the compost! We often get asked if a special compost mix is needed but we actually start everything in the standard compost bags from the local garden store (BIO). Don’t be afraid to just get what’s available.
You can buy a seed starter mix if you start a small number of seeds every year. But if you like to grow more the price of the seed starter mix adds up. Therefore we make our own mix. Here is how we do it:
We Sieve compost with 12 or 6 mm sieves and mix play sand and vermiculite until we get the mix we want to use. We mix it on the go until it feels fine and fluffy.
Vermiculite holds a lot of moisture and slowly releases it when the soil dries out. This allows your plants to be watered more gradually and the nutrients in the soil to be washed away less quickly because they are trapped in the vermiculite.
Fill your pot, seed tray or container with as much compost as possible. Compost always loses a lot of volume after watering.
Now that you have done all the preparation it’s time to finally sow your seeds! Whether you want to grow fruits, flowers, or vegetables the quality of your seeds has quite an impact on your harvest. Besides the different varieties to select carefully, you also have to check the expiration date. The fresher the seeds are the higher the germination rate will be!
Besides the expiration date, the packaging also tells you when and how to start seeds. As a rule of thumb, it is best to sow seeds as deep as they are large. Some seeds need light to germinate. Only lightly cover those with a sprinkle of vermiculite or compost.
Sow your seeds in your chosen container
The compost has been chosen, the seed tray has been filled, now it’s time for your seeds! Whether you want to grow fruits, flowers or vegetables the quality of your seeds has quite an impact on your harvest. Besides the species or variety you also have to deal with the expiration date. So always look carefully on the packaging until which time the seeds are good.
On the packaging you will often also find information about how deep the seed should be sown. As a rule of thumb it is best to sow seeds as deep as they are large. Most of the time this is not very accurate except for lightly germinating seeds like lettuce and celery.
Sow your seeds in your chosen container
All life needs, or starts with water. As soon as the seeds get wet, in combination with the right temperature the germination starts! Some seedlings appear after a few days while others take it easy. Be patient!
When you sow small seeds or use larger pots, it is easier to first water the compost and then sow your seeds. This way you will know for sure all the compost is wet without washing away your seeds.
Another method is to fill a large tray with water and let the compost suck up the water it needs. This takes more time but all compost is wetted evenly without losing tiny seeds. Sowing on dry compost is also easier, pots are less heavy, and a lot less dirty!
Place your pots on a light spot. for example a very sunny window sill or greenhouse. The seedlings want to grow towards the light. If you do not provide enough light they will keep growing and growing until they look like giraffes and fall over beyond recovery.
Would you like to learn more?
If you follow these steps, success is guaranteed! If you would like to learn more about growing plants feel free to visit our socials!