To gear up for the new growing season, Pike Nurseries recommends jump-starting the planting process inside the home now. Many seeds, including peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, have a longer germination, also known as the time it takes to reach maturity. By starting now, the seed will get a head start on the spring season!
The experts at Pike Nurseries offer the following simple steps for seed planting:
1. Begin with a seed starter kit. This is the easiest way to grow seeds. Most kits include seed starter soil, a self-watering system and a clear cover that seals the tray and turns it into a mini greenhouse. Additionally, the seed trays on some kits are made of peat, which can be planted in the ground along with the young plant to help keep the tender root system intact.
2. Choose your seed. From veggies and herbs to annual flowers like marigolds and salvia, Pike Nurseries is home to a variety of seeds for everyone’s spring garden.
a. Read the back of the seed package for additional information. First, look at the germination time. To start planting now, choose the seed with the longer germination. To determine the best time to plant each different type of seed, count back from the frost-free timeframe. The back of the seed package will also provide information on how deeply to plant the seed. A good rule of “green thumb” is the larger the seed, the more deeply it should be planted.
3. Before planting, soak the seed starting soil in water. Pike Nurseries recommends soaking the starting soil in a bucket of water the night before planting to allow the starting soil to thoroughly soak up the water. Once ready to plant, squeeze as much water as possible out of the soil.
4. Fill the planting pots or trays with seed starting soil. Pack it down into place and add more as needed.
5. Use a pencil to make a hole for the seed. Drop in one seed per pot. If the seeds are very tiny, place a few seeds in one pot.
6. Gently water the newly planted seed. Place the mini greenhouse lid from the seed starter kit on securely so that it now serves as a greenhouse.
7. Label the pots. This is especially important when planting different types of seeds!
8. Place the seeds in the sunniest, warmest place indoors. If windows are drafty, place new seedlings a few feet from the window.
9. Fertilize your seedlings. Once the seedlings have their first set of true leaves, begin to fertilize them.
10. Plant your seedlings outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. Although current temperatures are surprisingly warm, the possibility of a cold snap still exists. Pike Nurseries recommends waiting until late March or early April to transplant seedlings outdoors.
For more information on seed planting, stop by one of Pike Nurseries’ 17 store locations across Georgia and North Carolina to speak with a garden expert.