One thing is for sure when growing plants indoors from seeds: these are pretty friggin’ delicate babies. It took me some trial and error to get things flowing properly – as well as gathering some tips along the way from a few, more wise bloggers. Here are some tips based on this combined knowledge:
Before you start:
- Do not use old or improperly-stored seeds. Store seeds in a cool, dry setting to extend shelf life. They do expire!
- The same applies for your soil. Make sure to use fresh soil as old soil tends to go into dormancy. Also, be sure to wash any pots you may be reusing.
I used soil pods for my seeds, so any advice is based off that experience.
Once you’re ready to plant your seeds:
- Make sure to follow the seed packet for instructions on planting. If you don’t have instructions, cover the seeds with 2-3 times the seed size in soil. This really could be make-or-break, so try to be precise! If planted too deep, seedlings might run out of energy before they are unearthed. If not deep enough, seeds might dry out before germinating*.
- Do not over water the lil guys. Overwatering prevents the plant from accessing oxygen. Moisten (not soak!) the soil and let it dry out a bit before re-moistening. Overwatering also is a leading cause of growth stunts in the early stages.
- Be patient. They all grow at their own pace. You might see sprouts from one pod on Tuesday, and not the other until next week Thursday. Don’t give up on the pods too quickly! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a new leaf begin sprouting.
Plants are not (guaranteed to be) ready to make any moves until they are at least 3” in height. Whenever I took out any seedlings from their little incubator before this, it was highly unlikely they would continue growing.
Setting Your Seedlings Up For Success
In the initial years after moving from a tiny, green town to a larger, concrete city, I had constant allergies which seemed to appear out of no where. I realized after (- yes, a recurring theme in my life! -) that my body just needed gradual exposure to adapt to the new air quality.
Plants are just like this when moving from indoor to outdoor life. There is a whole new palette of elements for them to navigate! Seedlings need to adjust to new settings, just like humans. This is why hardening** them is crucial!
You may have noticed in the past your seedlings were becoming long and stringy and not growing properly. These seedlings are struggling to reach for the sun! However, when you put them outside, they quickly wilt and die. They are typical teenagers and don’t know what they want yet. Place them in a sunny area but do not plant them permanently outside just yet.
It is so important to harden your seedlings before planting them outside for good – especially if you live somewhere with varying weather conditions.
To do this, bring your seedlings outside for a few hours a day so they gain some familiarity to the elements. Start slowly, maybe in a shaded area with little to no wind. Ease your way up to a time period between direct sun contact to sunset. Eventually, you’ll be able to have a full-fledged outdoor plant that’s set up for success.
* Basically, entering the growth stage.
** AKA toughening those babies up.