Seed Starting 101
Starting seeds is a critical step in growing your indoor garden. It can be a frustrating process but with the proper knowledge and methods you’ll be able to maximize success.
First, soaking your seeds in water helps to hydrate them and get them ready to sprout. Germinating seeds can be done either in a cup of water or directly in the soil media. Some people prefer using a moist paper towel to soak the seeds. Next, prepare your media for planting. If using rockwool, be sure to pre-soak it in pH 5.5 adjusted water to dissolve any remaining lime. A light peat mix also works well for germinating and starting seeds. Once your media is ready, sow your seeds as directed and cover with media. In rockwool, you can pinch the top around the seed to cover it lightly. Depending on where you are growing your seedlings a heat mat might be necessary and helpful to keep the roots warm.
A seed has all the required nutrients to sustain a plant until it opens its first set of true leaves. Until that point, you can feed your seedlings with just water. There are many different containers that can be used for seed starting, and we recommend using a 7” humidity dome with a standard 10x20 nursery tray. The Gro Smart trays from Gro Dan can be used with rockwool to elevate the cuttings above the tray, keeping them well aerated. Too much water can kill your small plants with diseases or cause them to drown. Be patient when watering and be careful not to over do it.
Young seedlings don’t need a lot of light getting started but they still need enough light to grow. A small t5 fixture can be used through vegetative growth. Make sure your seedlings get enough light so they do not grow leggy or floppy stems. Once your seedling opens its first set of true leaves you can begin to feed it a light nutrient solution with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0. Sometimes things don’t work out well and your seeds might not take. Trying a variety of techniques will help you to find the one that works best for you. Don’t get deterred if you don't have perfect success your first time.