Yesterday I wrote about chosing seeds and picking out how you would like to grow them. Today I want to write about how to plant them, as well as how to use a soil blocker. Before you open your soil and dive in get yourself a work station set up. To make the process easiest you’ll want a large bowl or better yet a large bin to pour your soil in. You will want to clear off a table (I use my kitchen table if it’s too cold to work outside) have your seed packets, soil, bin, and the item you chose to plant seeds in ready to work.
Once you get your work station set up fill your bin almost full of soil and add hot water in it. Use your hands to mix the water and soil together, the purpose of this is to fill your seed trays with wet soil so you don’t wash your tiny seeds away by mistake. Using warm water is just more pleasant to work with. If you put dry soil into your seed trays then add seed then dry soil on top you will need to water immediately and the soil won’t easily absorb water without over flowing and/or washing your seed out of the tray. The step of wetting the soil before putting in the tray is worth it’s time!
To plant seeds in containers, fill the container 3/4 full of wet (not soggy) soil, pack it down lightly to remove air pockets in the container. Add 2-3 seeds per container then cover with a tad more wet soil and press down lightly. Your seed has been planted and watered at the same time!
Let’s say you invested in a seed blocker, I want to take a minute to show you how to use a seed blocker. First step is wetting the soil, you need to be able to squeeze a hand full of soil and let go and have it hold it’s shape. If you have drippy mud there’s too much water and you’ll need to add more soil.
The soil blocker is easy to use, if you’re a baker you know that when measuring brown sugar you must pack it firmly into your measuring cup…same holds true for the soil blocker. Turn it on its side and pack it full being sure to pack in as much soil as your can and try to smooth the bottom best you can.
Once you make all your soil blocks add 2-3 seeds in the little indent then cover the seeds by taking small pinches of soil and gently patting them down. The soil blocks hold thier shape just fine!
Once you have your seeds planted the next important step is to label what you plant! This is vital if you plant more then one type of seed! I remember last year I labeled everything then when the weather warmed up I set them out side…it rained and washed the ink off my tags…I had 200 unlabeled tomatoes plants (a dozen different types of tomatoes). So I ended up passing out mystery tomatoes plants to friends family and neighbors! I’ve also had times when I’ve spilled my seeds on the floor and have a mystery bag of seeds! Life happens, just roll with it!😆
Let’s take a quick look again at planting seeds in a small plastic cup you might have in your recycle bin.
As far as watering your seeds….you don’t want your seeds to dry out but you don’t want them needing scuba gear either. Best way to know you need to water is if the top feels dry you need to spray with water …yes spray…when sprouting seeds it’s easy to kill a tiny seedling by drenching it with water from a watering can. If your using cell trays or cups and you’ve used wet soil then spraying every other day should do just fine. If you’re using soil blocks be sure to carefully pour a small amount of water in the tray holding your soil blocks…the blocks will absorb the water from thier base which will feed your seedlings.
Next blog will be about where to keep your seed trays when you don’t have a green house!