Use a Covered Tray to Germinate Seed

February 10, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

germinate-seeds-in-coverred-seedling-tray


It’s that time of year to start the process of seed germination for zones that will allow planting in late March or early April. Time to plan your strategy for what you will plant and where you will plant them, and then to start the process to germinate the seeds indoors.

How to germinate seeds indoors

An effective method to germinate seeds into healthy seedlings indoors is to use a special tray, just for this purpose. There are a variety of seedling trays available, and a good choice is one that has an outside shell, the seedling tray itself, and a see-through cover.

Soil

Begin with good soil that is specifically recommended to germinate seed. It is a good idea to pasteurize the soil before using it, to ensure a healthier environment for fragile seedlings, and to increase the likelihood of successful seed germination if you are using your own soil.

Seed Tray

A tray system that is designed to wick water from the outside shell up into the seedling tray (with a cover) is ideal to keep the moisture inside through the germination process.

Plant your seeds according to instructions (which are usually very similar, say, bury only about one-quarter inch deep). Using a pencil is my preferred tool to press the seeds down a tiny bit into the soil after dropping them onto the surface.

Add water to the outside shell tray, about half an inch, much of which will get wicked up into the soil trays. There will be no need to add anymore because the cover will condensate and keep the moisture inside.

Don’t forget to write down what seeds went into what parts of the tray! I just sketch it out on a piece of paper while using an orientation method, like a paper clip in the top right tray cup.

Germinate Seeds in a Good Environment

Then, simply keep the tray in a warm place and on a flat surface. For most seed varieties to germinate, the soil needs to be ‘warm’, that is, room temperature or slightly warmer. Some seeds germinate fine in cool weather while others do not. Generally speaking, just keep the tray in an area of your environment that is the warmest (but not in direct sunlight, else it get too hot).

You can purchase specially made seed tray warmers to keep the environment warm enough to germinate.

Once the seeds germinate, move near a window with sunlight. When the seedlings get tall enough to reach the top of the cover, you can prop it up a bit higher (use your imagination with how-to), and-or it’s okay to remove the cover until mature enough to plant outside. Just keep an eye on the moisture level in the tray because it can dry out quickly in the sun.


Home Gardening for the Soul

Learn the skill of home gardening. Not only will it be a rewarding experience, but the talent of knowing how to successfully grow foods will bring you a step closer to self-sufficiency while being less reliant upon ‘the system’.

It takes time to learn how to be successful at gardening. Some plants are easier than others, but they each have their own special-care requirements. It can be fun to learn them, and it is certainly rewarding (and tasty!) to eat your own home-grown food. Not only is this much healthier for you, but it will definitely save you money too!



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