General seed starting

Wed. Mar. 7, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  General seed starting

Soon we’ll be planting seeds indoors for an early start.  What do you need:

  • a place to put your seedlings!
  • sterile containers or peat pots or those peat pellets
  • soil-less seed starting mix
  • light (I use an old shop light on a pulley system)
  • heating mat
  • fan
  • seeds!
  • Check out this comprehensive article about Seed Starting by the Unversity of Minnesota Extension including timing.  Adjust timing for your climate!

Place your planted seeds on a heating mat.  These are relatively inexpensive and well worth having, especially if you place your seeds in the basement.  Bottom heat will help your seeds germinate and will also help prevent Damping Off.

damping off – see the mushy yellow spots

Once your seeds sprout, they’ll need light.  Always check out your seed packet for information on germination, soil and light conditions.  Generally speaking, your seedlings will need anything from 12 to 16 hours a day.  Tomatoes and peppers are a good example of 16 hour a day lighting.  Keep the light about 6 inches from the top of the seedlings (thus the pulley system).


This photo was taken a long time ago when I was just getting into it!  NOW, I place my seedlings in peat pots in a tray on top of the mat.  You can then bottom water the plants and it keeps them from drying out so quickly.  Also it’s less messy!  Letting a fan gently blow across your seedlings will help strengthen their stems.  Leave the fan on for about an hour a day.

Pepper seedlings
Pepper seedlings