How to Start Seeds and Why We Prefer This Method


In this video, Lindsey shows us how we start our spring transplants. Transplants are a great way to get a head start on the growing season, especially when there is still frost or bad weather conditions outside Additionally, Lindsey introduces us to a new seed she’s going to experiment with growing, butterfly pea and how to properly germinate your seeds.


0:00 Starting Seed Transplants
2:04 Basic Tips
5:12 Read Back of Seed Packet
6:49 Upcoming Videos


Hi everyone. My name is Lindsey and I’m here on the urban farm, and today I’m gonna be sharing with you how we are starting our spring transplants. I love the spring here on the farm. Everything starts to bloom. It’s a great time to get things planted, and just the start of a new season is always exciting.

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We start most of our plants as transplants. So transplants are when you start a small seed, you start a seed in a small container, and then you eventually put it in the soil when the conditions are right. The nice thing about transplants is that you can start them while there’s still frost or bad weather conditions outside. So whether you have a greenhouse, a just small plastic covering of some sort, or you grow them inside, you can start your transplants ahead of time, get them to be a nice size and then put them outside when conditions are favorable. And this gives you a real big head start to this season.

I use trays like this, so this is just a flat bottom tray. It fits in our growing light stations, which is really nice. And then I just use these plastic reusable filler trays and we just have them cut into smaller packs. It just makes it easier to either do multiple varieties of something in one tray and just to kind of, when you do have plants in them, carry them around so you don’t have a big flat tray, but there are lots of different kind of containers you can use. Depending on what you’re growing, you might use a different container. But these are generally what we start most things in.

And I’m just gonna show you with a few examples how I start transplants in these. I have this black gold seeding mix, and a seedling mix is a great way to get your transplant started. It’s really airy and fluffy. It doesn’t have any of the more mulchy components that another kind of soil might. So this is mostly perlite and then peat moss, and then it has a wedding agent in it too, which just helps keep the soil moist so your seeds don’t dry out, which is really critical. Using something like this is a great way, otherwise you can make your own. Definitely. Just make sure, I really suggest having a decent amount of perlite in it that’ll really make the difference with making sure your soil doesn’t get too wet or too mucky. Today, I am gonna be planting some tomatoes. I’m just gonna show you really quickly how I do that. So this is the soil in here, and then I already, I watered it yesterday, so now it’s just nice and wet while not being overly saturated. We never want our seeds to be overly saturated because they can rot. And then I just make a very loose hole, not too deep, and I’m just going to place one seed in each. A lot of times if you get multiple seeds in one cell, you’re like, oh, I can separate them. And a lot of times you can, but sometimes the roots get damaged if you’re trying to pull apart a cell.

So it’s better just to keep it one seed per cell if you can. And then with these, I just lightly cover. And that’s the good part about using a soil like this too, is you’re not covering it in a heavy mulch or something that the seed won’t get light through. You wanna make sure water and sunlight can eventually pass to your seed. So having a really airy mixture like this helps. And then as always, I label everything that I plant in here. And this helps because sometimes we sell plants, sometimes they go places, but just so I know what variety this is. And then sometimes I also write just what kind of plant it is too, and that just helps keep everything organized.

I also wanted to show a new seed that I’m gonna experiment with growing, and this is butterfly pea, and you might have seen this in other contexts. It’s becoming kind of a cool thing to add to drinks. I’ve seen it in tea because this flower creates a beautiful blue color that you can add as a natural food dye, so you can add it to rice to make it blue, to teas, to make them blue. So it’s just a fun thing that I thought we could try growing this year.

One thing to keep in mind is to always read the back of the seed packet. The people that grow seeds know what they’re doing. So in this one it says that you want to scarify seeds and soak them overnight. So this is a really important thing that if you hadn’t read, you might just stick the seed in the soil and you might be like, why isn’t it germinating? Well, it’s really important to remember that not all seeds are the same. And for example, you can see these ones have a thicker seed coat. So usually if you went like this to other seeds, you might break them in half, you might dent them with your fingernail, but this has a really hard seed coat, which makes it unable to germinate readily. So I’m gonna show you what scarifying looks like, and there’s several ways you can do it. You can rub it against sandpaper, you can just trim a bit of it off. So just very carefully, you can just go like this, and we don’t need to break the entire seed coat off. So that’s not like, that’s not the purpose of it is to get this entire black off. It’s just to give it enough space that it can crack open and that it’s receiving light and moisture into the inside of the seed, past the seed coat. So after I have it like this, I would soak it overnight and then it’ll be ready to plant in the morning. But just something to keep in mind is to always read the back of your seed packet because there is some really important information on there.

Those are the basics of how I start transplants in the spring. Right now, I’m starting a lot of tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, and then in a couple weeks I’ll start some of the smaller, faster growing things like squash and cucumbers. So we have those ready to go in the coming months. But really exciting time of year here at the farm, and I really suggest that everyone try growing transplants. It gives you an amazing head start to your season.

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