Whether you are new to gardening, want to refresh your skills, or are passing knowledge along to the next generation of gardeners, learning the proper way to plant seeds is going to be one of the most important things you do in your gardening career. The reason for this is that all the other gardening skills are built upon the rather simple premise that you know the proper way to start a plant off. Think about it, if you don't know how to plant seeds, then you won't really have any plants to take care of. Here is the way that you should plant your seeds to ensure that they get the best possible start in life.
- Get your materials. Whenever you are going to begin any task, it is always a good idea to have the proper materials. In this case you will need to get a few things. You will need to get some containers, such as egg cartons, milk cartons, seeds trays, or anything else that can be conceivably used to hold the seeds while they grow. Be sure that clean your containers properly before planting. Next you need to get some potting mix to plant your seeds in. While it is possible to start your seeds using regular soil, potting mixes are generally better for the young plants and provide less nutrient problems. You will also need to get a few markers and some masking tape to label the containers once you have planted them. Finally, you will need to get your seeds.
- Choose your plants. Choosing which seeds to plant can be a little confusing. After all, all plant seeds are the same right? Actually that thought is both right and wrong. It is right, since most plants are going to require the same basic care; but it is wrong since there will be specific care issues that arise for each kind of plant. Be sure that you do your homework on the plants you wish to grow before you begin planting them.
- Choose a location. When you begin to plant seeds, you need to choose a location for where they will go. This location should receive around 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, and also be protected from the elements directly. One of the best locations to use would be to use window ledge, or if you don't have one that you want to use, then get a high density plant light (such as a florescent light). Keep in mind that you will be accessing this location almost daily, so you should not use an area that is too cluttered, or you can end up causing a huge mess later on.
- Prepare the soil. After you have chosen your location, it is time to prepare the soil that you will use to plant seeds in. Do this by completely filling up your container with the potting mix. Once you have filled the container up, lightly smack the soil against the table a couple times to help settle the soil just a little. If you have enough soil in the container that there is a mound, you will want to level it off. You can do this by using your hand. After you have leveled the soil, it is time to compact it just a little more, by pressing lightly down with your hand, but don't press to hard. Next, you will want to lightly moisten the soil, so that when you plant the seed it doesn't get dried out.
- Plant the seed. Once you have prepared the soil, it is time to actually plant your seeds. Remember, plants sometimes require a minimum distance between seeds when planted. To know if your plants are like that, simply read the back of the seed package. To plant seeds sprinkle the seeds around in your container on top of the soil that you just prepared. Once you have done this, it is time to cover the seeds. A good rule of thumb to know how deep you should place the seeds is to plant seeds to a depth of twice their height.
- Label the plant. Once you have planted the seeds, be sure that you label the plant. This will help you later on to remember what you have in each container. Simply place a little bit of masking tape on the outside of the container, and then write the plant name on it with your marker.
- Maintain the plant. Maintain your seedling plants according to the homework you did earlier on. This means providing the proper amount of water on a daily level, adding nutrients if necessary; transferring the plant to a larger container, or even outside when the time comes.