Here are five tips for seed starting…
1. Use a moist matchstick to plant your seeds. Pour your seeds into a flat container. The moistened stick will pick up one seed at a time and you can easily drop your seed into the hole.
2. Make your own seed tape using paper towels strips and cornstarch moistened with water for glue. Dot the cornstarch mixture onto the paper towel and drop in your seed (using your moistened matchstick). Let dry and roll up. Store in plastic bags until ready to plant. Seed tape eliminates seed waste and gives you super tidy rows!
3. Use only fresh seed for shallots, leeks, onions and parsnips. Seeds for these veggies last only one year.
4. Some seeds last several years. If you are unsure if your seed is still good, give it a test. Moisten a paper towel, sprinkle on 10 seeds and roll it up. Store in a plastic bag for a few days. Check the seed to see if any germinated. If so, you have a good idea of your germination rate. For instance, if five of ten seeds germinate, then you can count on a 50% germination rate for your old seeds.
5. New seedlings need air circulation. The air moves their stems slightly which makes them stronger. Keep a low fan going in the room where you are growing the seedlings. In addition, you can help your plants by “petting” them once or twice a day by gently running your palms over the tops of the plants so them move back and forth a bit. Also, keep rotating your trays so they keep leaning in different directions towards the sun or light source.
FOR YOUR REFERENCE: We handed out a flyer on Seed Starting that one of our gardeners, Steve Abbott, made up a couple of years back. We also included a flyer on local Planting Dates made up by Beth McQuinn.