Best Way to Germinate Seeds for a Flower Garden

Best Way to Germinate Seeds for Flower Garden

best way to germinate seedsThe best way to germinate seeds for a flower garden starts with planning. Every flower has its specific requirements. Though not all the needed information accompanies the seed packet, information for individual flowers exists online, in books, in seed catalogs, and through university or agricultural venues. Look at different seed catalogs for an informative way to begin. Beautiful photographs and information accompany a lengthy list of annual and perennial flowers. Many seed companies include a shipping schedule based on your growing zone found easily with your zip code online. Propagate together flowers with similar needs regarding soil type, watering, light conditions, and germination, at the same time, using separate cell packs in one flat.

 

Two Methods to Start Seeds

To maximize the best way to germinate seeds for a flower garden incorporate two methods, direct seeding and indoor germination. Some seeds germinate best by direct sowing; planting seeds directly in the ground where you want them to grow. Other seeds that are sensitive to an early cold outdoor environment germinate indoors and usually handle transplanting with no adverse effects.

 

Seeds differ in their need for cold or warm weather before germination. Some seeds require darkness while others light before germinating. Indoor planting will avoid damage from frost. Six to eight weeks prior is a good time to start. If you are just starting out growing flowers, choose hardy annuals and perennials. Annuals live out their life cycle in one year. Perennials take two years to fulfill their life cycle and often remain for years to come.

 

Direct Seeding

For direct seeding, prepare the outdoor location. Check the pH, and texture of the soil. Adding compost helps improve drainage for dense clay or silt content while increasing holding ability of water and nutrients in predominantly sandy aggregate. Mix soil with planting medium for direct seeding. Water large seed plantings gently with a watering can or sprayer attachment on a hose. When planting small seeds, water the ground first, place the small seeds on the ground, then cover with a small amount moist soil and gently pat them down. Small seeds can easily wash away so carefully water them. Include two seeds per planting. Too many seeds in one spot will grow a crowd that kills all of them. Consider planting small seeds indoors for best results.

 

Indoor Seed Starting Methods

best way to germinate seeds 2The best way to germinate seeds for a flower garden indoors involves a low-cost method or an easy more expensive method. Like most ventures, there are ways to reduce the cost that requires more work but saves money. A more DIY indoor propagation supply list includes growing vessels, tray to hold them, planting medium, watering apparatus, and seeds. Containers need a depth of two to three inches. Good make-shift containers include Styrofoam cups, plastic one-serving yogurt cups, small milk cartons, and cut off 500ml plastic water bottles. All need holes punched in the bottom for drainage. A tray capable of holding all containers collects draining water and transports conveniently. Use a premixed sterile growing medium or combine potting soil, compost, vermiculite, and perlite to make your own. The goal is a clean, well-draining growing medium, free of diseases and bugs.

 

Before filling the containers, wet the soil, so it is moist and crumbles. Soggy soil mediums make plants vulnerable to diseases. Press the growing medium firmly in the cells removing gaps. Plant the seeds. When planting tiny seeds, lay them on top of the dirt and cover lightly with more medium and gently pat down. Cover the tray of make-shift pots with saran wrap, keeping moisture in for proper germination. At the first sign of leaves, remove the plastic cover.

 

Now the tender seedlings need gentle misting to water them, 15 hours of daylight, and a slight breeze to grow hardy and free of disease. The seeds need a sunny location, preferably a south window. Depending on the direct light in your house, you may need to move plants around occasionally. Signs of insufficient light are long, leggy stems, and angular growth. If your seedling starts looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they need more light. Seedlings require 14 to 16 hours of sunlight a day, either direct or under grow-lights, and darkness at night. Should both seeds sprout in one cell, gently remove the weaker looking seedling. Wait till the seedlings have three to four true leaves before hardening them off. Hardening off involves acclimating your seedling to a new harsher environment. Start hardening off by taking your plants to a protected sunny outdoor location for a few hours. Increase the time outside for the next nine days and your annual and perennial plants are ready to be transplanted into the garden.

 

The more expensive propagation method uses a seed starting kit. Kits supply cells, trays, and growing medium. Often included are heating mat, adjustable lights, a plastic dome, and timer. Seed starting kits vary widely in components and price, so shop around before purchasing. A determining factor in buying a kit is the number of flowers needed for the garden. A combination of direct seeding and indoor growing may satisfy your requirements. Larger seed growing kits are available on stands to accommodate greater numbers of trays. Once purchased, the cost is reduced to seed and planting medium, and possibly new cell packs. As an alternative, make-shift cells that fit comfortably in the previously purchased trays will reduce cost.

 

Options for the Best Way to Germinate Seeds for Flower Garden

For the novice, the inexpensive method gives experience and room to practice the best way to germinate seeds for a flower garden. However, if time is an issue and money is not, seed starting kits are the way to go. Some hardy annual flower to seed outdoors includes sweet peas, marigolds, larkspur, and poppies. Some of the beautiful flowers to propagate indoors are snapdragons, petunias, impatiens, and cosmos.

 

 

 

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