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7 tips to start seeds in winter

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The perfect gifts for gardeners are teak garden benches.  The best way to frame your seat is with some spring flowers.  To make the most of flowering months, you will want to get a jump start of the 2020 growing season.  Here we offer some of the best tips for getting your garden ready, even though it is winter.

Even if you are feeling thoroughly impatient, you can’t really get down amongst the dirt until February and March.  Even in these early months of the year, you need to start your seeding process indoors.  By choosing to grow your own flowers from seed, you can save a heap of cash as well as grow rare varieties hardly ever available at garden centres.  Don’t worry if you fear you do not have the expertise to grow from seed.  Here are some simple steps that will ensure your success.

#1 Collect the right materials

Seeds will not thrive in the soil from your garden.  So, you need to buy the right sort of home for your seeds.  You need an organic blend of peat and perlite in a seeding tray or use peat pellets and water.  If you are using a plastic tray that fits into a drainage flat, you can plant two or three seeds in each cell.

Therefore, a trip to the DIY store will be necessary to purchase the seedling tray, the right soil and a drainage tray.

#2 Read the instructions

As dull as it sounds, you need to read the back of the seed packet.  The envelope filled with your soon to be plants is your users-manual.  It will tell you everything you need to know to start your seeds indoors.  It is likely the packet will suggest you begin the seeding process four to eight weeks before the final frost.  Then, when you are ready to transfer your tender plants to the garden, it will let you know how much sun is required, how much space and the type of soil preferred.

#3 Provide the light

To grow the seeds will need heat and light. Seedlings tend to like the same temperature that humans do, so being in your heated home should be good enough.  However, young plants need 12 – 14 hours of light per day – and you are lucky to get 8 hours sun.  You can solve this problem by purchasing a fluorescent lamp, which should be hung 4 to 6 inches about the seedlings. When the seedlings grow, adjust the height of the light to match.  Putting the light on a chain should help you achieve this quickly enough.

#4 And they quite like water too

Moisture is essential to the growth of your plants. However, you have to moderate the water because if a young plant gets too wet, it will quickly rot.  Use a narrow spouted small water can and apply this to the peat, not to the leaves of the plants.  Your drainage tray, which you housed your seedling tray in, will allow water to drain away and prevent overwatering.

#5 Spread them out

You are going to have to do some dividing as the seedlings continue to sprout.  You might find the stems growing together like a mini lawn quite satisfying, but if they are too crowded, the stems will be fragile and the leaves sparse.  So, when your plants are about an inch-tall split them up so that each plant has a cell to itself.  This step is essential if you want your plants to thrive when you plant them in the spring.

#6 Slowly does it

Imagine if you were used to a cosy bedroom – with all the heat and light you needed – then suddenly you are thrust into the outside in early March or so – with the nippy mornings.  It really wouldn’t be pleasant.  The same for your plants.  You need to go through a period of hardening off.  This means a week before planting them; you should put them outside for the afternoon and then bring them in overnight.  You should increase the time outside gradually over the week – waiting for all risk of frost to pass.

#7 Time to let them go free

When the time comes to plant your seedlings outdoors, follow the instructions on your seed packet.  It should tell you how deep to dig the hole and how far each seedling should be from its neighbour.  When the hole is ready, push the seedlings to the bottom of the hole and cover the root ball, not the stem, with soil.  Then, water in and walk away.

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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