Growing your own seedlings has seen a peak in interest recently, as people spend more time at home and look to engage in this enjoyable aspect of gardening. The thought of planting a simple seed and watching it grow into a vibrant and healthy new plant is a fun activity which is enticing to many people. As a result, major Australian retailers have launched various campaigns involving seedling pods & kits, in an effort to entice shoppers to their stores. While relatively simple, successfully growing from these basic seedling kits does require a few easy guidelines to be followed.
Listed below are Searles top 6 tips for success when growing seedlings from simple biodegradable pod seedling kits:
- Timing/Sowing – Some seeds simply won't germinate if planted at the wrong time of year. Check the type of plant and when it is best for the seed to be sown. If it is not the correct season, save the seed for planting at a more appropriate time of year. Seeds are sown with only a slight amount of soil or mix covering them. Too deep and they are buried and won’t germinate. Cover the seed to the equivalent of twice the diameter of the seed itself, a light sprinkle is generally enough.
- Sunlight - ensure your seedling pod is getting the right amount of light each day. Most seeds won't germinate without sunlight, and best germination performance is normally from around 8hrs sunlight each day. A warm but not too hot spot, inside on North facing window can work well. Autumn & Spring provide good conditions in many areas for seedling germination. Winter can be difficult due to short days. Summer often requires extra special care to manage the heat and moisture which freshly germinated seedlings are exposed to.
- Water – Check your seedling pods daily. Most biodegradable pods will dry out quickly, especially when placed somewhere sunny to encourage germination. The growing mix in the pod should be damp to touch. Water gently to ensure fragile seedlings aren’t damaged by watering. If need be, use a spray bottle to apply a fine mist to soak the top to about one cm deep, instead of a gush of water being delivered from a watering can. If you experience a heatwave, check your pods twice a day and ensure the young seedlings aren’t left bone dry.
- Transplanting – There is a great variation in how many weeks it takes for different plants to be ready for transplanting into the garden or their final pot/container. A simple method of knowing when a seedling is ready to transplant is when it has at least four leaves on the stem. One of the many benefits of growing seedlings in biodegradable pods is that there is no need to remove the seedling from the pods when transplanting, and risking damaging the seedling roots. Simply transplant the pod and seedling together into the desired garden location or pot. The roots will then continue to grow through the side of the pod as it breaks down, allowing the plant to access nutrients and moisture from the garden/pot.
- Location – Different plants have different needs which should be considered before planting them in a particular location. Check the details for the type of plant, and ensure you choose a suitable location.
- Feeding - Once your seedling has four leaves, start to fertilise with Searles Seamax Fish and Kelp every two weeks, once planted out into the garden or larger pot use a controlled-release fertiliser Searles Recharge which is applicable to your seedling. Always follow the packet for recommendation rates and other instructions.
If you’re looking at starting your seedling growing with the Autumn 2021 kit available from one of the major supermarkets in Australia, we have put together a simple 1-page logbook, to help you get the best from your seedling kit. Click the link below to download the file.
Discovering Your Garden Seedling Logbook
Growing from seeds is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. If you’re wondering how to get started, pop into your local gardening outlet who will be able to suggest suitable plants to grow in your area now, and also show you through their range of seedling growing products.