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Seed Starting 101 Series

April 23rd, 2010

After many requests from readers, I’ve decided to do a Seed Starting 101 Series. I figured this would answer many of the questions readers have, and be a good resource for new gardeners. Of course I’m not an expert seed starter, I’m still learning as well. This is where you come in, all you experienced seed starters. You’ll be able to add valuable information in the comment section (so make sure to read the comments if you’re new to seed starting and gardening).

I’ve been thinking about what to include in the Seed Starting 101 Series and so far I have a few ideas:

Type of Seeds (pelleted, OG, heirloom, hybrid)
Seed Starting Supplies (lights, heating mats)
Specific Seed Needs (stratification, light, heat)
Containers (soil blocks, flats, peat pellets, peat pots)
Soil Mix (options, my own mix)
Diseases (dampening off, fungus)

Do you have any specific questions or things you’d like to see discussed in the Seed Starting 101 Series?

17 Comments to “Seed Starting 101 Series”
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Seed Starting 101 Series http://goo.gl/fb/DkrMe #seedsowing #seedstarting101 [...]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Seed Starting 101 Series | Chiot’s Run — Topsy.com's comment

  2. Tess on April 23, 2010 at 5:32 am

    Hello from the Philippines, or as we say it, Mabuhay!

    I’ve been following your blog since I found it a couple of months ago. Your posts about gardening are always so interesting and refreshing. When you blogged about borrowing books from your library a few posts ago, I was quite amused, I manage a children’s library & activity center for underprivileged kids here in our little town in Southern Philippines. Later this year, we’ll be teaching them how to grow tropical vegetables and flowers.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask if you can write something about starting herb seeds (like thyme, I noticed that you like thyme). Just a suggestion to your Seed Starting 101.

    Thank you for the wonderful posts. I really enjoy reading them.
    .-= Tess´s last blog ..Summertime is fiesta time =-.

    Reply to Tess's comment

  3. withajoyfulheart on April 23, 2010 at 6:06 am

    I’d love to read more about OG and heirloom seeds, heat needs and coldframes. I’m terrrible at letting my plants get leggy ;-) Actually, I’d be happy with anything you want to share…love reading your blog.

    Reply to withajoyfulheart's comment

  4. denise on April 23, 2010 at 9:06 am

    awesome – just what i need right now. thanks!
    .-= denise´s last blog ..herb garden =-.

    Reply to denise's comment

  5. Seren Dippity on April 23, 2010 at 9:36 am

    What is the difference between veggie seeds, herb seeds and flower seeds. I have had success with every veggie seed I’ve tried; I still sometimes end up with leggy seedlings but I’m getting better at regulating light. But herbs and flowers elude me.

    I would love to fill in my flower beds with flats of annual color without having to pay nursery prices for the flats. I’ve had _some_ success with direct seeding flowers, but even then what should be blooming now are just tiny little plants.

    Herbs? Basil is easy, I direct sow and it goes wild. This year I managed to get dill and parsley started and still alive at 3 inches tall (but I won’t hold my breath that it’ll survive transplanting.) Most other herbs I’ve tried won’t even germinate. Thyme in particular.
    This is frustrating because local nurseries don’t carry the wide range of herbs I’d like to grow.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

  6. Morgan G on April 23, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I think it would be especially helpful for all of us to contribute by reporting observed germination times for what we are planting. If we include our region within our comments, it could be a very useful pool of info! That’s my two cents! Looking forward to this series, thanks, Susy!
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Thoreau on Nesting =-.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

  7. Justin on April 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Thank you, Suzy, for responding to my request for this series! I think it’s going to be awesome and we’ll all learn a lot. You’re much more seasoned than many of us beginners. I can’t wait to hear what other people have to add.

    Some more ideas for related posts…
    - When and how to harden-off and/or transplant.
    - Benefits/drawbacks of starting in 3-inch pots as opposed to cells. Is there a point where you should transfer from cells to small pots? (You may already be planning to talk about this in your peat pot post)
    - I’m not sure where this fits in, but I have this recurring problem where my seedlings will look great for about two weeks and then they’ll either fall-over under their own weight and snap the thin stalk or they just whither and die.
    - I too would love to hear more about herbs. I can get a herb box growing from store-bought flats but I can’t seem to get anything going from seed. If they sprout at all, they never even get to the first real leaves before croaking.

    This is sort of unrelated, but I’m hoping you or one of your readers might have some input. I’ve had a recurring problem where some of my potted plants pick-up small little gnat-like or fruit fly-like bugs when I put them outdoors and bring them back in. I don’t think they’re aphids as they don’t live on the leaves and don’t seem to munch on the leaves. They seem to come from just under the surface of the soil in the pot. I’ve tried spraying the soil and plants lightly with a soap-based bug spray but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing to do. It doesn’t seem to help much.

    Reply to Justin's comment

    • Susy on April 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm

      Great ideas, I’ll try to incorporate all of those.

      Those little gnats are mostly like the gnats that live in the potting mix. I’ve never had problems with them, but I mix up my own soil mix. One of our friends had trouble with them and they were told to let the soil go dry in between waterings, you could give that a try. I’ll research a little more on it for the pests/problems post in seed starting.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Sarah Jane on April 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve tried starting tomatoes two or three times with no success. I think part of this is because my apartment windowsill doesnt get full sun. Any advice would be great!
    .-= Sarah Jane´s last blog ..My First Salad =-.

    Reply to Sarah Jane's comment

    • Krista on May 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      Sarah Jane, don’t give up! I had success on the first try!! Tomatoes, Egg Plant and Peppers require a grow mat ( a mat that keeps the seeds at a specific temp for germanation to happen) watching and transplanting tomatoes has been very easy and very rewarding you can do it :)

      Reply to Krista's comment

  9. Arika on April 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I’d like to see some pictures of your seed-starting set up. Thanks for sharing info on seed starting- was just thinking about setting up some indoor shelves for seed starting next year!

    Reply to Arika's comment

  10. Kjirsti on April 24, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I would love advice on how to handle planting the seeds that are more like dust. I didn’t have much success with my very small seeds- like wave petunias, and begonias.
    .-= Kjirsti´s last blog ..A word on discount plants =-.

    Reply to Kjirsti's comment

  11. MAYBELLINE on April 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

    When thinning seedlings, how do you get over the psychological torment?
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on April 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      That’s a tough one isn’t it. I always think of how much better the one seedling will be. It’s not so bad on plants you can eat the cuttings of like broccoli & cabbage.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Tee on April 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I would like some advice on:

    1. “seedling triage”—some common problems and solutions to them
    2. fertilizing seedlings–when to start and any suggestions as to what types
    3. tips on certain types of seeds–This is my first year and I ordered all heirloom seeds that had the most cryptic or nonexistent instructions :(
    4.succession planting and companion planting

    I really enjoy your blog. I started following after seeing your gorgeous pictures on flickr and you inspired me to start my own garden :) I built three 16 square feet raised beds and gave it a whirl. Thus far I’ve only been able to eat salads from my garden and I am hooked!

    Reply to Tee's comment

  13. sarah on April 27, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I am trying to find a good site that could inform me of my local planting time. For seeds, for direct sow and so on. I would love to start some more plants by seeds (especially herbs) but think it may be too late here. I live in the No Cal, East Bay 94553. I do not mind buying plants from the nursery – but when I see a 2.99 price for cilantro 6 cell pack and I can purchase an envelope of seeds for 1.59 – I’d rather go that route! It’s work – but worth it. Again – your blog is wonderful!
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..Mother Nature’s twist. Our first carrots. =-.

    Reply to sarah's comment

  14. Krista on May 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    love this !! very great series .. I can’t wait!

    Reply to Krista's comment

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