Learn how to grow seedlings for the vegetable garden:
- You’ll need fresh seeds. Seeds do not last forever unless you keep them frozen and yet there are some who do not survive the defrost process. Seed packages have the season stamped so you can check if they are fresh. If ordering online Johnny’s Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds are my favorites.
- A good source of light, especially if you do it indoors. Here in Houston, a window with South light or a south facing porch. I don’t recommend doing it in an open backyard, a roof protection is needed.
- Consult your planting schedule to determine when to start each kind of seed. In Houston go to Urban Harvest website and click on Seasonal planting guide. Overall, you need to do it one month before placing the plant in the garden. Make sure that the vegetable can be transplanted. In general in Houston, we transplant Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage.
- Always use potting soil. No garden soil. And if possible, use a new soil, newly purchased, to reduce the risk of diseases that may affect your seeds. Also, you can grow without soil in specific mediums sold for this purpose.
- Wet the soil before planting and place it into containers. Sow your seeds according to instructions in the package. In general, the depth is equivalent to 3 times the diameter of the seed. Cover with soil and water.
- Place one seed on each small containers. Ideal depth of about 8 cm or 2″ for the container.
- Watering should be gentle. Or you can dip containers into 2-3 cm water for 15 minutes. It is important that if you water from above you make sure that the water reaches the base, so your seedlings will form deep roots. The soil should always be moist, but not wet.
- Always label with the name of the seed the container and keep the package for future reference.
- When the seedlings have two true leaves, I mean those that follow the first ones, you should start fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength.
- The speed of germination is dependent on temperature. Here in Houston in 2-3 days, the first leaves appear. If the soil temperature is less than 25C, you should cover it with plastic to trap heat. Remove as soon as the first leaves appear.
- If the seedlings are outside, remember to daily monitor and remove fallen leaves that deprived of light your plants.
Visit our collection of articles on how to grow vegetables in Houston.