More often than not, growing plants from seed is better than growing them from transplants. Growing plants from seed is cost-effective and allows you to witness the entire growth process. But how do you grow plants from seed?
Step by step procedure for growing plants from seed
Step 1: Choose a suitable growing location
The first thing to do is select an ideal container for growing your crops. It is advisable to choose a clean container that is big enough to accommodate all your crops.
If you use a small planting container, you may have to transplant the crops after germination. You can use either plastic or peat pots. Your planting container should also have an effective drainage system.
So, create tiny holes at the bottom of the container for proper irrigation. If you are planning to plant outdoors, choose the most suitable growing location that meets all the requirements of your plants.
Step 2: Use quality soil for planting
Once your container is ready for planting, get a quality potting mix. You can find quality potting soil at your nearest garden store. Avoid using garden soil in your container since it may contaminate your plants.
Garden soil is bulky, especially for seeds. Pour the quality potting mix like miracle-gro into the container and water it. Avoid overwatering the soil to keep off bacteria, fungi and other disease-causing organisms.
Step 3: Begin planting
Before you start sowing seeds into the soil, read all the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Plant the seeds at the right depth. Typically, you should plant the seeds at a depth three times their width.
Note that different seeds have different requirements. After sowing the seeds into the soil, place the container in an area that receives sufficient sunlight. Keep in mind that your seeds need the right levels of moisture, sunlight, and warmth to germinate.
Step 4: Water wisely
Once you sow your seeds, you have to keep watering the soil. Water the seeds using distilled water to keep your plants safe. At this stage, the soil should stay moist at all times.
Nonetheless, be careful not to overwater the soil. Otherwise, you will kill your seedlings and create a conducive environment for pathogen survival. When watering, always focus on sprinkling water on the base of the plant to avoid splashing water on your leaves.
Before watering your plants, always dip your fingers slightly into the soil to check whether it needs watering. This way, you prevent the soil from becoming soggy.
Step 5: Maintain consistent moisture
Before your seeds germinate, you need to ensure the soil contains moisture at all times. As a result, to prevent moisture from escaping, consider covering your planting containers.
It would be best to use a plastic bag to cover the container. When your seeds germinate, remove the covers. Also, as the seeds grow, it is best to reduce the amount of water they receive.
Step 6: Keep soil warm.
Aside from constantly watering your plants, you need to make sure the soil is warm. Remember, seeds need warmth to germinate. When the soil temperatures are low, your seeds take longer to germinate.
On average, the best temperature required for germination is 26 degrees Celsius. Gardening experts often recommend waterproof heating mats. These mats are uniquely made to keep soil temperatures the same regardless of fluctuating climatic conditions.
Alternatively, place the planting container in a warm area like a refrigerator top. After germination, your plants need an air temperature of approximately 21 degrees Celsius to continue growing healthy.
Step 7: Fertilize.
Conduct thorough research on the best fertilizers on the market. Then, apply them to your seeds after they sprout. Needless to say, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the fertilizer. Ensure you apply the fertilizer gently to avoid damaging the seedlings. Use liquid fertilizer at least once a week to boost strong and healthy plant growth.
Step 8: Give seedlings enough light.
Ensure you expose your seedlings to sufficient light. Otherwise, the seedlings won’t grow properly after transplanting. Gardening experts recommend exposing your seedlings to at least six to eight hours of sunlight during the summer
For best results, ensure the plants get at least 14–16 hours of sunlight each day. You will always know when the seedlings are not getting enough light when they start slanting toward the direction of light.
Consider placing your planting container near a window that brings in light or on the porch area. Some seed manufacturers always provide lighting kits. It would help if you understood all the requirements of your plants.
Step 9: Circulate the air.
You need to make sure the soil is well aerated to foster healthy plant growth. This way, you keep off bugs and diseases from attacking your plants. Additionally, you foster the formation of strong stems. So, how do you promote the proper circulation of air in the soil? Place a fan near the seeds to facilitate air movement.
Step 10: Harden off seedlings before transplanting outdoors.
Before transplanting your seedlings outside, you need to make sure they adjust to the new environmental conditions. So, harden the seedlings before permanently taking them outside.
Benefits of Growing Plants from Seed
Most people think that growing plants from seed is tedious and time-consuming. Although this may be partially true, there are many benefits to growing plants from seeds. Some of these advantages include:
Did you know that growing plants from seed is simpler? All you have to do is buy seeds and sow them into the soil, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Not to mention, most manufacturers indicate the sowing instructions on the packet.
Once you sow the seeds into the soil, keep monitoring their progress. Make sure they receive enough sunlight, moisture, and warmth. Be careful not to overwater the plants.
You are in a better position if you have a greenhouse since the seeds will be protected from bugs and disease-causing organisms. Ultimately, growing plants from seed is pretty straightforward.
When you grow plants from seed, you have a wide variety to choose from. With seeds, you can grow almost any plant species. You will find the most popular varieties on your wish list. On the other hand, transplants do not offer as much variety
Garden stores may not be able to offer a broad spectrum of transplant varieties. Additionally, some plant species can only be planted from seeds. So, if you want to plant a wide range of plant species in your garden, consider growing them from seed.
- Plant health:
When growing plants from seeds, there is a higher chance of growing healthy plants. Seeds enable you to start the planting process from scratch. Therefore, the health of your plants will depend on the maintenance practices you incorporate.
On the flip side, it can be challenging to find healthy transplants. This is because they might have been sitting for too long in the garden store.
Good plant health is guaranteed when growing plants from seeds because you have control over the fertilizers and planting equipment you use. Transplants are also prone to damage during transportation, especially for beginner gardeners.
As mentioned earlier, growing from seeds is more cost-effective. Buying seeds is cheaper compared to buying transplants. Therefore, growing from seeds will be way cheaper if you are a commercial farmer.
You will grow a broad spectrum of plants from seeds compared to transplants. Moreover, seeds offer value for money since you can store them for an extended period of time. So, if you don’t manage to plant all the seeds, you can store them for the next planting season.
This is impossible for transplants. It is quite impossible to store transplants for months. Thus, if you don’t use them in the current planting season, you will have to discard them.
- Environmental impact:
If you are an organic gardener, it is always advisable to grow from seeds. It might be hard to find transplants that are grown organically. Most garden stores grow transplants with synthetic fertilizers. Therefore, they would limit you if you are trying to grow plants organically.
When you grow plants from seeds, you have the freedom to use organic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides right from the start.
Disadvantages of growing plants from seeds
Although growing plants from seeds carries a wide range of benefits, it might not always be the best option. Below, we look at some of the drawbacks to growing plants from seeds.
Growing plants from seeds needs extra time and effort. This is because you have to nurture the seeds from scratch. Once you sow the seeds, you need to water them and monitor their progress. Additionally, you require certain knowledge of gardening when growing plants from seeds.
More often than not, you need to sow seeds at the right time on the planting calendar. If you make the mistake of planting your seeds on the wrong date, you won’t obtain a plentiful harvest. Note that every plant needs planting at a certain time. So, always consult a gardening expert before planting seeds, especially if you are a first time gardener.
If you are planting seeds indoors, you need to invest in an efficient lighting system. You might need to purchase grow lights to foster quick germination of your seeds. This might cost you a few extra dollars.
Factors to consider when growing plants from seeds
When growing plants from seed, there are several factors you might want to consider. The most common ones include:
- Climatic conditions:
Typically, the weather conditions in your area should be conducive to plant growth. So, before starting from seed, make sure you understand your region’s climatic conditions.
- Quality of soil:
Seeds need a quality potting mix to grow well. Therefore, it would be best to purchase potting soil from your nearest garden soil. Avoid sowing the seeds in garden soil since the seeds may not be able to sprout. If you don’t have the right soil, replace it.
Cost of growing from seed
Growing plants from seeds is cost-effective. Thus, if you are a commercial farmer, consider growing from seeds. Luckily, growing plants from seeds is pretty straightforward.
All you have to do is sow the seeds and monitor them keenly. Also, ensure you expose the seeds to enough sunlight, moisture, and warmth to foster quick germination.