The advantage you get out of growing plants from seeds is that many varieties can only be grown (that are not locally available) and it's cheaper that buying from a nursery. You can order any variety of a specific plant simply by browsing through a mail order seed catalog or several online seed catalogs. You can even order exotic seeds especially from catalogs like "the greendealer".
In this article we will discuss how to grow plant seeds - detailing the process of germination and the light, heat, moisture and fertilizer requirements involved in growing seeds.
So basically we are going to discuss how do seeds grow with the necessary conditions required for the same, and how to plant seeds in the growing medium.
Each seed consists of an outer shell and an inner fleshy part. Certain seeds have a really hard outer shell which needs to be softened by soaking in water, or even nicked, to get the process of germination started. How do seeds germinate? There are four factors involved - growing medium, heat, light and moisture. Once it has germinated, you will also need to start fertilizing. We will discuss all this in detail below.
As the seed begins to germinate, the roots are formed from one end and the stem emerges from the opposite end. Once you have purchased the seeds, or developed them on your own, you can get started with the process of bringing up a plant from these seeds.
It is beneficial to soak the seeds in warm water. You can also add a pinch of sodium nitrate to the water especially for seeds that have a very hard coat.
The soaking can be done for 1 or 2 days for most seeds. The seeds will bloat up a bit, you can dry them with some paper towels and tranfer them to a planting medium before they are too dry.
Some seeds which have a really hard coat would need be scarred with the help of a file or a sandpaper. Be sure not to damage the embroyo inside.
You can use any type plastic or peat moss containers that are atleast 3 inches deep. If you are reusing a container be sure to cleanse it throughly with a solution of water and bleach (10 to 1 parts).
If you are using self made containers like ice-cream cups or water cups, you will need to make a hole at the bottom for drainage. You would need to place a tray underneath the containers to collect the excess water drained out.
It is a good option to buy the flats, also known as jiffy stripes, that are designed specifically for growing seeds. They come well equipped with a tray and individual slots have a holes in the bottom.
The also have plastic lids on top to keep the humidity levels intact while the seed is germinating.
Just fill up the containers with the growing media and you are ready to sow the seeds
You would need a special type of growing media when you are raising plants from seeds. It is important that you don't use the garden soil because it will contain several pathogenic microbes that are harmful to a germinating seed.
A potting mix, specifically prepared for germinating seeds, can be bought from a nursery or you can make a mix of your own using equal portions of peat moss, sphagnum moss, perlite and vermiculite. You don't have to use all of these ingredients, just a combination of two or three is enough.
Seeds germinate and grow better in a warm growing medium. A temperature of 70 to 80 F is optimal for most seeds. If the medium gets too cold it will impede the seed germination.
If you are growing the seeds indoors, you can place a 40V incadescent bulb underneath the flats. The heat produced by the bulb will warm up the growing medium. Don't use a higher power buld or the heat build up will get too high.
Seeds need light to germinate as do the little seedling that develop later. Simulating 10 to 12 hours of light using a source like fluorescent tubes is the best option. Fluorescenct lights are closer to the natural day light than incadescent lights.
You can check out our article on grow lights for more information on indoor lighting needed to grow plants from seeds.
It is important to note that seedlings require periods of darkness along with light. No plant would do well under 24 hours of light.
We hope you found the information till here, on how to grow plant seeds, useful continue to part 2 of this article for information on watering and fertilizing: Germinate Seeds - Part 2.