5 clumsy seed sprouting mistakesSpring is approaching fast… which means gardeners all over are starting seedlings off. Starting seeds off isn’t usually a difficult process, however making little mistakes could cost you your plant… follow these essential steps to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!
- Check the seeds Checking seeds is one of the most important processes a gardener can do. If the seeds planted haven’t sprouted in the correct number of days, it is probably because they weren’t viable in the first place… this may occur when seeds are old or incorrectly stored over a long period. When storing seeds make sure they’re fully dry before putting away, if not they may rot or go mouldy. The best thing a gardener can do is to check the seeds are worthwhile before planting, this is done by placing seeds on a damp paper towel and covering over. After a few days the seeds should have started to sprout, the ones that haven’t will not germinate.
- Make sure any containers are sterile Disease issues can be a big problem for seeds. Plastic containers are reusable, this doesn’t however mean that they don’t need a good clean. If in previous years containers have had diseases or fungi, cleaning is essential. It is good practice to clean containers after every growing season… this is done by submerging them in bleach water, leaving them to soak and rinsing well afterwards.
- Soil & planting technique When sowing seeds… its very important to know the soil, if the soil used from the garden then the seeds sowed may encounter some problems, if the correct steps weren’t taken. If using garden soil, sift it however be careful. Sifting the soil will remove any clumps and sticks… after bake the soil on a tray with grease proof paper at 180c for 30 minutes, yes this sounds ridiculous but will kill off any weeds or pathogens. To get the best results… I would recommend using seed starting mix over garden soil. Planting seeds too deep can also be a problem, avoid compacting the soil after planting a seed as this can make the seed struggle to push through.
- Soil temperature Making sure the soil is the correct temperature is vital as well, if the soil is too cold or too warm the seed wont sprout. If the temperature is too low then try to insulate with bubble wrap, cotton wool or get a heat matt. Grow lights above the container will also supply heat. If the temperature is too high, try putting the container in a cool place like on top of the fridge.
- Correct watering Seeds need to be moderately moist in order to sprout… too much water will end up rotting the seed and too little will and it wont sprout. Seed germination is highly dependent on correct watering. Young seedlings need it to be just right in order to grow, they are tender and fragile just after sprouting and will die if they dry out. Too much water affects the roots… meaning it can’t get the correct oxygen, this will stunt or even kill the plant.