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A helpful guide on getting the best from your seedlings.
Sowing seeds might seem rather easy, but there are a few tips to increase germination rates and help you get off to growing success. Whilst some seeds will germinate with very little help, others need a bit more care and attention and it’s vital that you follow the instructions for each individual plant and species.
One of the things that many people don’t get correct is sowing depth. Whilst some seeds actually need sunlight to urge them into growth, others need to be cocooned in a tomb of darkness for a few days or weeks. The depth at which a seed is sown is important because each seed only has a specific amount of energy. If their growing shoot runs out of energy before they reach the surface, then they’ll die. Meanwhile, if you sow seeds too shallowly, you’ll end up with thin, straggly and floppy plants.
It's very important to thin seeds out. Some of the smaller seeds make it hard to sow each one individually. If seedlings develop in clumps, culling weak plants is vital to help stronger ones survive.
Follow the packet instructions very carefully to ensure you're sowing at the correct depth. Regardless of whether you’re sowing in a seed tray, modular container or seed bed, use a pencil or something similar to create a small trough on the soil surface to the correct depth. Individually place or thinly scatter seeds, before covering them with soil.
Watering is vital for healthy seed germination, but beware watering seeds from the top. This will dislodge the seeds that you’ve just carefully placed. Instead, stand seed trays in water so that natural osmosis can draw water up into the soil and towards the seeds. Meanwhile, if any mould or fungus appears on growing seedlings, cull the plant immediately, safeguarding seedlings around it.