6 Common Seed Starting Mistakes

Seed Starting Mistakes

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Are you making one (or more) common seed starting mistakes?

Starting seeds is one of my favorite times during the year. It means winter is finally coming to an end and the start of my favorite season – gardening season – is upon us. However, seed starting can be tricky for newbies. It can be tricky for me at times as well!

6 Common Seed Starting Mistakes

I’ve had many people tell me that they tried to start their seeds at home, but they always failed. There are several mistakes that people make all the time that can lead to failure.

Before we look at the problems you might face, I want to address a common myth about starting seeds at home. You might think it costs too much to start seeds at home.

That’s a myth, my friends. You can start seeds cheaply at home without special equipment or grow lights that cost half of your grocery budget. Gardening itself doesn’t have to be expensive; you can find ways to cut the costs of gardening and enjoy this hobby no matter your budget.

When you start seeds at home, you want to be successful, so let’s take a look at these common mistakes.

6 Common Seed Starting Mistakes

Watering Seedlings

1. Starting Them at the Wrong Time

Every gardener needs to know their USDA Hardiness Zone and your average last frost date. Then, you need to know the best time to start each plant before that date.

Every plant is different! Some need to start 10 to 12 weeks BEFORE your final frost date! The plants need to be old enough to transfer to their outdoor garden location.

If you start your seeds too early, they will too large for their pots or they might become root-bound. Their growth could be stunted. Timing is crucial.

2. Using the Wrong Dirt

You can’t go outside and scoop out dirt from your garden. Seeds need a special type of dirt because they are more prone to diseases and infections.

One of the most important factors is using sterile soil. Otherwise, you risk passing a disease to your delicate seedlings. You also could bring insects in from outside.

Who wants bugs in their home?

Don’t waste your time. Start your seeds in good potting soil! Your seeds need nutrients to start. You can buy high-quality seed starting soil. For extra nutrients, add worm castings or compost.

Look at my articles about how to start a compost pile at home.

3. Overwatering or Underwatering

Dry soil won’t lead to healthy, sprouted seedlings. As your seeds are sprouting, you have to keep the soil moist at all times. If the soil dries out, you need to add moisture quickly.

At the same time, you don’t want to add too much water once your seeds are sprouted and under the grow light.

When you are germinating your seedlings, it is best to cover your pots with plastic. Doing so keeps the moisture and humidity levels higher, giving you a better chance of a high germination rate.

TIP: Don’t pour water over your seedlings. Instead, use a spray bottle to mist your plants. Doing so mimics natural rain and creates even moisture. You can also pour water directly onto the water around the seedlings rather than over top.

Seedlings

4. Not Providing Enough Light

No matter what you think, you don’t have enough natural light in your house to correctly grow seedlings. Seedlings require a lot of light!

You can purchase an artificial grow light or use a higher strength light bulb. Your lights should be kept close to your seedlings, ideally 2 to 3 inches, and gradually raised as your plants grow taller. You need to keep the lights on for 12 to 16 hours per day!

5. Planting Too Deeply

Seeds are particular in how they want to be planted. Seed packets typically can give you all of the information you need, including how deep to plant in the soil. If the packet doesn’t tell you, you should be cautious and plant no deeper than two or three times as deep as the seeds are wide.

6. Forgetting To Label

Seeds are particular in how they want to be planted. Seed packets typically can give you all of the information you need, including how deep to plant in the soil. If the packet doesn’t tell you, you should be cautious and plant no deeper than two or three times as deep as the seeds are wide.

Gardening is Learning

Gardening is a learning experience for all. Sometimes, you’ll find that you made a few seed starting mistakes; that’s just part of the deal. Thankfully, you can fix most of the mistakes or make sure you don’t do them again!

Have you ever made any seed starting mistakes?

One thought on “6 Common Seed Starting Mistakes

  1. Was wondering what makes my pepper and tomato seed leaves curl, and takes forever to develop true leaves? And the tender stems tend to curl also. Thank you very much

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