Getting plants to grow from seeds is the most economical, fun and rewarding. At the same time, it is a challenge that requires learning. Avoid making common mistakes when growing seeds, which we have already made, and increase your chances of success by sowing seeds.
Common mistakes when growing seeds
It is common not to provide enough lighting when the seeds germinate. Young plants need a lot of light to grow healthy and strong. They need to be located in the brightest place in the house, such as the southernmost window, a deck, or a patio. Consider using artificial light to provide all the light they need. On the market, there is a wide variety of lighting specially designed for plant growth.
Seeds growing with artificial light
What happens when the seeds don’t have enough light? They will grow very tall and thin despite sprouting, looking for more light, and will be more easily damaged as they are more fragile. If this has already happened to you, you could still save some by transplanting them and covering them with substrate until the middle of the stem.
Excess or deficit of water
As the plants are more delicate the younger they are, special attention must be paid to this aspect. Most seeds need the substrate in which they are sown to be always humid but without waterlogging.
How do keep the seedbeds moist? The good idea is to create an artificial greenhouse effect, covering the seedbed or the seed containers with transparent plastic or glass to constantly maintain humidity until germination, aerating them from time to time.
What will happen to the seeds if I water too much? Too much humidity could lead to fungal diseases, which will damage the seeds or seedlings.
It is better to water from the bottom of the containers so that the substrate where the seeds are absorbs the water from below, through the holes; This is by placing a tray with water under them and allowing them to absorb it for a while, until the moisture reaches the top, and then emptying the tray so that there is no excess. Spraying them with water over the top is fine but may not get them soggy. Don’t let the seeds dry out! Check the substrate each day to adjust what the ideal watering frequency will be.
The general rule of thumb is to sow the seeds 1-2 times the size of the seed deep. If in doubt, it is best to keep them shallow.
Sowing seeds by hand outdoors
What happens if I sow the seeds too deep? If you exceed the depth of the seeds in the substrate, they may not sprout or sprout but not reach the surface.
Some seeds require light to germinate, so they are sown superficially, gently pressed to adhere to the substrate, and sprayed with water. There are some accessories like these, which help to position the seeds in their proper place and depth.
Such a good substrate you provide them so well they will grow. Don’t skimp on a quality seedbed substrate. It’s one of the common mistakes when growing seeds.
A good seedbed substrate mix is the first step to success
You can buy a ready-made seedbed substrate or make the ideal substrate mix: a good base of compost or coconut fiber, hummus, and river sand.
Vermiculite is great for coating the seeds. This material keeps moisture, has good aeration and allows the seeds to sprout to the surface without difficulty.
Do not overload the seed space. It is better to sow few seeds in many spaces than many in the same place. Otherwise, they will grow too close and you will have to discard many of them.
If you have limited space when transplanting the seeds to the garden or larger pots, you may be worth getting rid of some. You will feel that you are wasting them, but the result will be an excess of plants, an amount of them that perhaps You had not planned to maintain, and if they are close together, and inadequate growth that will end up wilting some of them.
Each plant species needs a space between them, according to its size, respect it to have healthier plants and better harvests. In our store, the file for each species indicates the minimum distance to be kept between plants. There is also a list of garden plants with the ideal distance between plants.
Due to the overload of the space, aeration is important since poor aeration causes a worse development of the plant and an ideal focus for the appearance of pests.
Pot size in advance
If you will grow plants in pots, calculate for the first hour what will be the ideal size for the plant you want to have. Not all have the same requirements. Some will use a small pot and others have huge roots to extend to the bottom from a deep pot. Know them in advance.
Doubts with the size of the pot? Better go oversize. It will not hurt. If you think it is going to fall short, get a larger pot. And don’t forget to make enough holes in the base.
Check the seeds and seedlings from time to time to locate possible unwanted pests. These can reach the delicate moment of germinating seeds.
The temperature of the seedbeds is also an important factor for germination. Between 18º and 23ºC, most of the seeds germinate, but we do not want you to stay with this information, find out what the specific needs of the species you are going to grow are, especially if they are unusual species for you, it is one of the most serious common mistakes when growing seeds.
How do I increase the temperature of the seedbeds? Let nature do it at the right time or… place them indoors on a hot appliance, and better yet, get a heated seedling, greenhouse or propagator.
Use labels, wooden sticks or any type of poster that identifies what has been planted and when it has been planted. This is necessary to know when they have to be transplanted or what needs they have.
Even if you are experienced, newly germinated seeds can look very similar and difficult to identify until they are mature plants. If they are mixed, it can be difficult later to rearrange the crops.
It is an easy mistake to avoid, but growing seeds is one of the common mistakes. It seems obvious, but properly label what you plant. It takes very little work and will save you headaches.
Scarification and Stratification
Strati what? Some seeds, such as maples or pines, need that before sowing them spend the winter for them, do not panic. This process can be stimulated artificially, sowing the seeds in an airtight container in the fridge weeks.
Some seeds, those with a very thick shell, find it great to be superficially filed so that the water penetrates them faster and thus germinates before their usual time.
Others can hydrate in water 12-24h before sowing so that they are soaked in the water sooner and life begins as soon as possible. You can read more information about scarification and seed stratification.
Transplant or move plants when temperatures allow
Do not rush if there are still frosts in your area. Young plants are sensitive to frost and if it can still frost, it is better to delay sowing or transplanting until the conditions are ideal. If you have a sheltered or indoor place to grow plants, this will not be your problem.
If the plants haven’t grown outdoors, they need your help in this transition to the outdoors. Begin to gradually expose them over a couple of weeks to outside conditions, placing the plants outdoors for a few hours each day.
What happens if I move the plants outside without adaptation? You could be very lucky and have them survive and adapt perfectly, or you could lose them all at once. We advise you not to play a card. Young plants are fragile and delicate, the stems that have not been exposed to the outside air could break with gusts of wind, or their delicate leaves could be burned by the sun in a few hours.
If you are careful with them, you will avoid these problems, acclimate them little by little and they will suffer less damage with the changes.
Keep track of how many seeds of each species you sowed, how many germinated, how much water you used, etc. it will help you year after year to make better decisions and waste less time and seeds in achieving the same or better results.
Store seeds for another year
If you do not sow all the seeds you have, it is necessary to conserve them well to use them at another time or replace the losses of your first attempts. Ideally, keep them moist, low humidity, and in the dark.
Do not give up! Some species are more difficult than others, but there is nothing more satisfying than watching them grow or taste their fruits. After all, it is worth it, and even more so if you share it. Do it anyway, take control, you will make mistakes, but they should not stop you. Every time you try, you will do better, we also failed, but we learned many lessons. Do we accompany you in this challenge?