Ask any homeowner who has a love for plants, and he’d tell you that one of the most costly parts of gardening is buying your favorite plants at an affordable price. Fortunately, you can easily prevent this problem by growing your own plants from the seeds, and once you learn how to germinate seeds at home, you’ll have the privilege of having a beautiful garden without the need of shelling out a huge amount of cash. So, without further ado, allow us to help you with that.
Tip #1: Start with Soilless Seeds
Ideally, you should acquire seeds that are a year’s old. A soilless seed, as well as a plastic container that could keep the moisture in, are always a great starting medium for at home germination. Simply because, a soilless seed starting medium would give you a guarantee that both the seeds and seedlings won’t be affected by too much salinity or too much salt. Additionally, the soilless seed starting medium could either be the actual soilless seed starting mix, or you can also use a paper towel. If you’re on a tight budget and would rather go for a paper towel, then you’d have to move the germinated seeds in the soil once they have sprouted.
Tip #2: Use Spacious Containers
Although clay pots are more aesthetically pleasing than plastic pots, the latter is more preferable because they are capable of retaining moisture the seedlings need. Aside from that, look for spacious, yet shallow containers in order to avoid overcrowding of seedling, as well as immoderate moisture around young roots. Plug trays and cell packs are perfect for plants that have to be transplanted. The good thing about plastic containers is that you don’t have to spend at all. You can recycle empty margarine or yogurt tubs and they’ll work great. Just don’t forget to poke holes at the bottom as this will serve as their drainage.
Tip #3: Direct Contact with the Soil Is Important
The key to having healthy plants is by ensuring that there’s firm contact between the seeds and mix. This can be done by using a kitchen sieve to spread soilless seed, wherein, you have to mix equally over the top of the seeds to the depth of at least two times the seed diameter. Basically, the key is, whether it’s canopied with planting medium or not, it’s important that each seed maintains a firm contain with the moist surface in order to start germinating.
Tip #4: Keep Your Plants Disease-Free
Did you know that by simply sprinkling sphagnum moss and chicken grit could help you prevent the growth of pathogens? Yes, you heard it right. Aside from that, if possible, try to have a fan that would encourage air circulation around the area. Fungal infection, better known as damping-off, is usually the result of excessive moisture, and if the air doesn’t circulate properly. Luckily, there are a few techniques that would allow you to prevent this. One of which would be covering the seeds with planting mix, then tamping it down. You can also spread a thin layer of 50% milled sphagnum and 50% starter chicken grit over the surface of the ground. This would keep the soil around the emerging shoots dry.
Tip #5: Keep Moisturized By Covering Trays
Use a plastic dome or cups to keep moisture in. This simple DIY would ensure that the moisture level would remain constant. In case more water is needed, all you have to do is let it wick up from the bottom. Keep in mind, the seeds could be quite sensitive, and that’s why it’s very important that you refrain from under-watering nor overwatering it.
Tip #6: Keeping Seeds Warm Can Encourage Germination
The ideal temperature for seeds to germinate is between 65F to 75F. You can easily achieve this temperature by placing the seed containers near a heater as long as proper precautions are followed. Likewise, a heating pad specifically made from the plant is also a great way to keep the plants warm and encourage germination.
Tip #7: Feed Them Well
Last, but definitely not least, would be giving your seedlings proper nutrition for them to grow strong and healthy. Just like humans, when the embryo inside the seed is under development, it greatly relies on the food in the endosperm for it to grow. Once the shoot emerges from the soil, and the true leaves start to develop, supplemental fertilization becomes very important.
There you have it, these are just some of the best ways on how to germinate seeds at home.