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10 Tips for Seed Starting on a Budget

Reused plastic cups make good seedling pots as long as you poke holes in the bottom.
Are you low on cash but want a summer garden? No worries. Seed starting can be very inexpensive if you know where to shop, when to plant, and how to succeed with as few resources as possible. Fancy seed-starting flats are not needed, reuse instead. Pricy grow lights can be […]

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DIY Seed Starting: Seed Packets (Part 1 of 6)

Read the back of your seed packet to find details essential to successful germination.
Starting seed indoors is the best way to get your garden off to an early start. It also provides for earlier and longer harvest by extending the growing season. Not all plants are suitable to start indoors–these include large-seeded or fast-growing vegetables that produce quickly, such as beets, radishes, squash, and melons […]

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DIY Seed Starting: Damping Off Prevention (Part 2 of 6):


You wouldn’t put your newborn child into dirty blankets for fear of dangerous germs in the bedding, so don’t germinate your garden seed in anything but fresh, soilless seed starting mix. Used or natural soil is riddled with fungal microbes, called Pythium and Phytophthora fungi, which are fatal to seedlings. They quickly cause roots and tender stems to rot.
Under warm, wet conditions ideal for […]

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DIY Seed Starting: Containers (Part 3 of 6)


Gardeners that start seeds at home have lots of containers to choose from. You can buy seed-starting flat kits, peat pots, reused containers, or even make seedling soil blocks. Some are more costly, while others allow you to grow more for less. My preference is to germinate seed in recycled containers to save your money and reuse plastic waste. Here is what to look […]

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DIY Seed Starting: Proper Sowing (Part 4 of 6)


The first step of any seed sowing project is to read the entire label of the seed packet. That tells you how deep to plant each kind of seed and under what growing conditions. Those that are usually started indoors may be surface sown or planted 1/2 inch deep, depending on seed size and growing preferences. Each plant’s seeds have there own needs for […]

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DIY Seed Starting: Watering (Part 5 of 6)


Every gardener has done it at least once. Watering newly sown pots too aggressively, which dislodges seeds, moving them all across the soil surface. That’s why watering indoor seedlings properly is essential in the first weeks after sowing.
Watering Seeds
How you water seeds depends on the sowing depth, pot size, and available watering tools. Shallowly planted seeds need more gentle watering tools, such as misters, […]

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DIY Seed Starting: Transplanting Seedlings (Part 6 of 6)


 
Most seedlings will need to be transplanted as they grow. Larger containers and a more robust mix with added fertilizer will enable seedlings to become large, vigorous plants. (Note that good seed starting mix contains no added fertilizer because it keeps some seeds from germinating.). As long as the light is plentiful, repotting will help your seedlings develop stronger roots and shoots.
Seedling Pot Size
A […]

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Is it Safe To Reuse Soil for Seed Starting?


“Is it safe to re-use Black Gold for starting seeds, etc.? Do I need to sterilize it the following year before planting? I had several flats of seeds with low germination or die-off last Spring and would like to use the soil again. Thanks.” Question from Piper of Petersham, Massachusetts
Answer: It is always safer to start with fresh Black Gold Seedling Mix. This will ensure […]

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Testimonial: Black Gold Seed Starting Mix

BG-Seedling-1.5cuWhether you are starting seeds for spring or fall crops, Black Gold Seed Starting Mix will give great results. Just read the recent review from Charles Sims. He wrote:
“This is the very best seed starting soil that I have used. I have used many different kinds, but this is now my preferred brand. I used it to start Tomato and Pepper seeds. The tomatoes sprouted in […]

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Bottom Heat for Happy Heirloom Seed Starting


The only way to have heirloom vegetables and flowers in your garden is to grow them from seed.  Most heirlooms simply aren’t grown commercially, so they’re not often available as seedlings.  To obtain those antique varieties and to savor their long-lost flavors,  we must order the seed and start the plants ourselves.  This also applies when starting your vegetables in advance of the last […]

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