soil temperature is critical for best germination. A soil
thermometer should be used to monitor soil temperature. One
that is marked with optimum soil temperatures for specific plants is
a helpful tool for germinating seeds. Use the soil
thermometer along with the propagation
mat to keep an eye on soil temperatures in the
seeds that are started indoors are no bigger than dust. A seed
sower comes in handy to help distribute them more accurately
and evenly in the seed pot. The seed sower
I use is shaped like a trowel with a thumb-click wheel on the handle.
The click wheel causes a vibration that makes the seed
"jump" off the sower and into the pot. I find it very handy
for those extra-small seeds. I also use it outdoors in the vegetable
garden for sowing small seeds like radish and carrot seeds.
I start all of my own flower, vegetable, and herb transplants. Every
winter I start several thousand seeds for my garden and home
landscape, so I have, by necessity, developed a seed-starting
timetable of each and every plant. Each plant has its own proper
seed-starting time and it varies, depending on the plant, from 12
weeks (which we're near now) to two weeks before the time the plant
should be planted out in the garden. My list is based on the average
last frost date of May 31. I start by counting backwards (measured in
weeks) from that date.
I've learned over the years that each type of seed has its own ideal
seed-starting method and may require special treatment. Oftentimes if
you don't have success with a certain type of seed, it probably
requires special attention. For each plant I have notes on soil
temperature for best germination, to cover, cover lightly, or not to
cover seeds, any special formulation of seed-starting mix to use, any
seed pretreatments needed before sowing the seeds, whether to direct
sow into peat pots, exclude light for germination or not, and any
other valuable information I've discovered or learned on how best to
start the particular seeds. Knowing what a particular type of seed
needs for best germination makes all the difference in the world.
Because each plant is different each step along the way is also
different from sowing the seeds in seed pots to transplanting the
seedlings to cell packs to getting the seedlings acclimated to the
outdoors by "hardening off."
here to order seed starting supplies from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.