Tag Archives: seed starting supplies

Seed Starting Tips for Greenhouses

Taking the first steps in the seed-starting process tends to mean spring is not far away. But with greenhouses, growers can start that process any time.

Thanks to the controlled environment they offer, greenhouses not only extend the growing season, but they also offer the right conditions for starting seeds in them year round.

If you plan to transfer seeds to an outdoor garden, for example, start this process about six to eight weeks before the first frost in your growing region.

Get your seed-starting supplies together and follow these tips to prepare your plants for success!

Seed. Beginning with fresh seed is the simplest way to get started. You can use leftover seeds, but you’ll want to test them for germination. To do so, place a specific number on a wet paper towel. Fold it over the seeds and place it in a plastic bag in a warm place. Inspect the seeds and add moisture as needed. After the germination period, count the number of germinated seeds to determine the percentage of germination.

Growing Media. Balance the amount of air and water content in the mix you use. While air space is important to create healthy seedlings, too much water can create swelling and result in too much air when your mix is dry and not enough when it settles. Avoid compacting your mix by lightly filling trays with your growing medium and brush the excess away. To ensure the right amount of hydration, add water to your mix before adding it to your containers. It’s just right when it is damp to the touch, but not wet.

Containers. Trays and cell flats make ideal seed-starting containers—particularly for large vegetable growers—because they can be filled quickly, are easily moved and are reusable. But they do need to be cleaned before use the next season, and if the plant becomes root-bound in the container, it can lead to transplant shock when transferred. Biodegradable containers eliminate this concern, but they do need to be restocked every season and take up more space in the greenhouse. For hobby gardeners, commercial trays (if that is your preference) are recommended because they are more durable and available in more options than what you might find at a local garden center. They cost more, but last longer.

Sowing. When planting your seed, please note that the placement of it is important to its success. For example, if planted too close to the edge of the tray, it is likely to dry out. Typically, it is recommended to cover the seed once placed (ideally in the middle of the container) with a light layer of soil. Others suggest simply pressing the seed down into the soil without an extra covering. Either way, once the seeds are planted, water them evenly and gently. Plan to group your seedlings by their temperature needs, so you can use mats if needed to efficiently provide heat if required.

Ready to start your seeds? We’ve got the supplies you need—containers, trays, propagation mats and more! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses for more information.

Seed-Starting Must-Haves

Seed Starting Must Haves Gothic Arch GreenhousesIf you’re anxious about the start of spring, there’s no better way to prepare than to focus on starting seedlings for a new crop of plants right now!

To ensure your success from the beginning, use quality supplies that are designed for the seed-starting process. Not only will you see results from your efforts, but also your enthusiasm and passion for gardening will continue to grow.

As you’re getting ready for the spring, keep these seed-starting must-haves in mind as you start this rewarding, yet sometimes challenging task.

Seed. Begin the process by selecting quality seeds that are fresh or have been stored properly, such as in a cool, dark location with low humidity. If you have questions about seed viability, you can soak them in water. Generally, living seeds will sink, while dead ones will float. Of course, it goes without saying that you should choose seeds that thrive in your region’s general growing conditions.

Seed-starting pots or flats. Plastic pots or containers are preferred over clay because they allow for retaining moisture seedlings need. Flats, larger, rectangular containers that hold many seedlings, can also be used. It’s important to start with clean, dry containers, especially if using empty yogurt containers and margarine tubs. Be sure to add holes in the bottom of recycled pots for drainage. Wide, shallow containers are preferred because they prevent overcrowding and prevent too much moisture build-up around young roots.

Seed starting mix. Give your seeds the support they need with peat moss, compost or a designated seed-starting mix. Plain garden soil is not recommended, but as plants sprout their first leaves, they should be transferred into a nutrient-rich potting mix. Commercial brands (as long as they don’t contain synthetic chemical fertilizer) can be used, or you can make your own organic mix.

Label plants and take good notes. Track your (and your plants’) progress by properly labeling your seedlings and taking notes about their journey. Especially if this is your first time starting seedlings, be sure to take good notes so you can make improvements the next time around. The Center for Historic plants recommends recording when the seeds are sown, the germination date, the success rate and when seedlings are ready for transplant. Not only can you evaluate the timing of your production schedule, you can also track the quality of the seeds used. Be sure to make note of that as well!

Light and supplemental lighting. Seedlings need a lot of light, in terms of intensity and time—as much as 16 hours a day. While you can invest in a grow-light system, you can also use the long fluorescent lights available at hardware stores. Keep the tubes clean so there is nothing that impedes the intensity of the light. It is recommended to start with fresh new bulbs when starting seedlings as the light does become dimmer over time.

Heating mat. Most seedlings thrive in warm soil. In that case, setting your containers on top of heating mats allows the seedlings to get the heat they want and need. Using a heating mat also gives you the control of the temperature, such as if a control unit is attached or it is equipped with an automatic thermostat. Keep an eye on the seedlings, though, because as soon as they sprout their first leaves you will want to remove the use of the heating mats, as then they plants will grow better in a slightly cooler environment.

What seed-starting supplies do you need? Call one of our friendly representatives a 800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and we can help you get ready now for spring!