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Easy Steps for Starting Vegetable Seeds

Growing your plants from seed offers many advantages and should be an option to explore when starting a garden. Many more varieties will be at your disposal versus purchasing established plants. This will also make the plants cheaper by unit and ensure a known quality. Seeds can be sowed indoors, outdoors, in containers or trays or directly into the garden.

How you decide which method is best for you can be determined by which crops you choose to grow, climate and indoor space you can devote to the operation. Seeds sown indoors tend to have a higher survival rate once planted but, all methods should be explored to determine what is best for you. Here are a few simple steps you can try to get your seeds started using a container or tray.

First step is to make sure you have a clean container or tray to start the seeds in. Make sure there are holes for drainage in the bottom of the container. Next, prepare your grow media. If using soilless mix, coco coir, potting soil or similar media you will want to moisten it before planting. The media should be damp/moist but not soaking wet.

Now fill your container or tray almost to the top with your media. Time to sow the seeds. To avoid confusion it is best to plant one variety of seed in each container so as not to mix up the garden. Plant a seed every inch until the container is lined with seed. Cover seeds with a layer of media filling the tray. Make sure to label each tray with variety of plant, planting date and maybe even potental transplant date.

At this point you may want to mist or lightly water in the tray or container full of seeds. If the container is moistened well by the initial dampening then this step can be skipped. Now it's time to cover the tray with a plastic dome or plastic sheeting or a plastic bag, etc. The idea here is that you need to trap some humidity so that the seeds stay evenly moist. Too little or too much water can cause issues.

Depending on what season you are growing for you may want a heat mat to help sprout the seeds. Once the seeds have germinated and sprouted remove the cover to avoid damping off. The seed tray or container can be put outside to use the sunlight to grow or can be placed under indoor grow lights. Again, plants started indoors under these grow lights tend to have a higher rate of survival once transplanted to the garden. Once the seedlings are around two weeks old and they have developed their true leaves they can be thinned or transplanted to one plant every two inches. A few more weeks and they will be ready to go into the garden. 

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