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Seed Watering Tip

March 12th, 2013

As I was watering my seedlings the other day I thought I’d tell you about my watering techniques.  When the seeds haven’t germinated yet, I use a spray bottle to keep the top of the soil moist. Generally this is all that is needed until the seeds germinate.
watering seedlings 1
When the seedlings emerge, I spray them with a spray bottle to moisten the top of the soil, I like that it also gives them a bit of movement (like a fan blowing on them) to make them stronger. Then I water fully with an old dish soap container.  I find it perfect for getting just the right amount of water without flooding the tiny plants.  I feel like it gives me good control over how much water I use and puts it right where I want it to go. You can get the smallest drip or a decent stream of water exactly where you want it.
watering seedlings 2
When the seedlings are finally get big enough and are outside, I water with my favorite watering can. Be mindful however, don’t overwater your little seedlings. Let the soil dry out in between waterings. Overwatering is one of the main reasons for failure with houseplants and seedlings.

Do you have any good techniques or tools to share? 

15 Comments to “Seed Watering Tip”
  1. Victoria on March 12, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I will have to try the spray bottle technique. Most of my seedlings get their water from a resevoir beneath them, but I’ve noticed that some of my peat pots are dry on top & sans sprout.

    One tip I have is to monitor your grow lamp height & make sure you adjust accordingly & often. Start low & work your way up.

    Reply to Victoria's comment

  2. Marina C on March 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Thank you for this simple tip, which I will also use for my terrarium.
    In the garden, I use an irrigation system I put together from Drip Depot.
    Drip lines for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, celeriac, all larger plants, which allow for deep watering once a week, little waste.
    I use small over head sprays for direct sow seedlings, lettuces, Asian greens, onions, in my cutting garden.
    I takes a few hours to set up each season, but since I reuse the lines every year, and my beds are all the same length, it is a cinch to set up whatever rotation I am in. No more dragging of hoses!
    Saves water, saves time… And if I need to go away, it’s not a daunting task for my friends who are kind enough to help out.

    Reply to Marina C's comment

  3. Melissa on March 12, 2013 at 8:12 am

    The old dish soap bottle is a great idea! Going to try that one!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  4. Justin on March 12, 2013 at 9:04 am

    That dish soap bottle trick is worth its weight in gold. I’ve had an awful time getting water into the right spot in the right amounts without washing away the seed or the starter mix.


    Reply to Justin's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Well, good to know that this tip was of value. I was wondering if I should even write this post, guess it was!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • amy on March 12, 2013 at 11:51 am

        Ditto what Justin said! I would never have thought of it:)

        to amy's comment

      • Nebraska Dave on March 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

        Susy, yes, I use the spray bottle but never thougt about using the soap bottle. The spray bottle has a tendency to knock down the tender sprouts when they just come up.

        to Nebraska Dave's comment

  5. Melanie on March 12, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I love the old dish soap bottle trick, as well. It’s a wonderful idea and I’ll be trying this with my seedlings. I’m glad you wrote this post and it’s a lesson that no idea is too simple to pass on. Keep the great info. coming, and thanks so much!

    Reply to Melanie's comment

  6. Kaytee on March 12, 2013 at 10:28 am

    So glad you posted this. I never would have thought to use a dish soap bottle. I’m saving my bottle when I finish it!

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  7. K.B. on March 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I always bottom water. All the seed containers are in trays, and I just add water to the tray. I go back in an hour or so, and if there is any standing water, I remove it (by swapping out the pots to a dry tray, then emptying the wet one). I only worry about standing water with tiny seedlings – larger plants can use a bit of extra water.

    I also make sure the potting mix is wet before I plant – some types are really hard to wet, and warm water hot, but obviously, shouldn’t be used if the seeds are already planted.

    Reply to K.B.'s comment

  8. Jessica on March 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    And here I’ve been lugging my giant yellow watering can in the house and trying not to get water all over me, the floor and the cats. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  9. Donna B. on March 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I already use the spray bottle method… but the dish soap dispenser?That’s actually quite brilliant! It’s gentle enough for seedlings but also holds a buncha water… Good tip!
    Learn something new everyday! :D

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

    • Donna B. on March 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      [mrrrp… linked my instagram addy and it wasn’t even right. Oi. Long day…]

      Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  10. Margot - New Zealand on March 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I have just discovered your Blog and it is wonderful, i just have to do the math to change the seasons from Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere and the things I have discovered. I especially like your use of the old Dish Washing liquid bottle. That is brilliant!!
    I guess there may be days when you feel despondent and wonder at “why” you are doing something, especially at the tail end of winter when everyone is really over it but it seems to be ages before Spring makes its presence felt.
    Thank you and please keep writing and gardening. Your spring must be very close and sadly down here in New Zealand, we have officially gone into the Autumn months.

    Reply to Margot – New Zealand's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      It always amazes me to meet people who are in the opposite seasons, the world is such an amazing place. Glad you’re enjoying the blog, now you can watch my garden throughout our summer while you’re in winter.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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