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Seedstarting is different from other plants in pots. You need to have the right containers and also have the right soil medium for success.

Seedstarting – using the right containers

You don’t need fancy containers, in fact you can start your seeds in almost anything so long as it’s at least 2-3 inches deep. Also make sure it has drainage holes – you don’t want to drown your seedlings! If you take a look at seedstarting containers out there in the market, you’ll notice there are 2 general kinds – ones that you can pretty much start the seeds in and then plant out (ie because they are biodegradable) or plastic reusable ones (just make sure you wash them out well after to stop disease spread). Some gardeners will plant their seeds in the one big pot and then transplant them into smaller pots as they emerge. Others put them in little individual cell pots (ones you see at the nurseries) with 1 seed per cell for ease of transplanting later.

Seedstarting growth medium

You can’t use garden soil. I know some gardeners who insist that they just plonk the seeds in soil and hope that they’ll grow but using a special seedstarting mix would ensure a higher success rate – after all, you are providing optimum growing conditions. You will notice that most seedstarting mixes are light and the texture is pretty fine – some call it soilless growing mix – it holds enough water to saturate the seeds but is free draining enough not to drown the seedlings and cause fungal rot. A good seedstarting mix is made up of a blend of sphagnum moss, vermiculite and perlite. It’s intentional that the mix doesn’t have too much nutrients as it will encourage the roots to grow outwards in search for more nutrients.

Some people like to mix their own (I do) and use 1/3 perlite, 1/3 vermiculit and 1/3 sphagnum moss. Others save themselves the trouble and buy ready-made mixtures. As soon as your seedlings appear, start to feed them with diluted fertilizer solution (I find that the stuff that drains out of my worm farm is a marvellous tonic – make sure you dilute it otherwise you’ll burn the tender roots) – weekly is probably sufficient.

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