SEED STARTING
Presented by:
Marianne Pelletier, CMG
Double Coconut
Rain Forest Orchids
Why Should I Start
Seeds Myself
 You can save money
 For a $2 packet of seeds there is a possible of getting 10-1000
plants
 Swapping with fellow gardeners
 Saving your own seeds
 You have control.
 You know that you won’t be bringing something unwanted home
 You get more variety
 The enjoyment of seeing your seedlings emerge from
the soil
Before You Start
 Determine how much to grow
 What you want to grow
 Varieties should be selected by:
 Size
 Color
 Growth Habit
 What zone you are in
 Determine if you want:
 Heirlooms
 These are old, open-pollinated cultivars
 Hybrids
 This is a cross between two different plant varieties to get the
attributes of each variety
 If you see F1 it means it is a hybrid
Acquiring & Storing Seeds
 Acquiring
 Buy from a reputable seed company/catalog
 Storing
 Keep any left over seed in the packet it come in
 Store in a tightly closed jar or container
 Store at a low humidity at around 40 degrees such as the
refrigerator
 Use silica gel, powdered milk or cornstarch to keep the relative
humidity below 40%.
Wilson County Planting Guide
Seed Starting Supplies
Label/Marker
Spray Bottle
Soil-Less Mix
Flat/Cell trays/pots
Seeds
Warm Spot in Your House
Optional Equipment
Artificial Lights
Heating Mats
Cold Frame/Greenhouse
Grow Lights
Flower Seeds
The Divas of the Seed World
How to Help the
Seed to Germinate
 Scarification
 Stratification
 Soaking
 Light
 Dark
Scarification
Tools Needed
Small Sharp Paring Knife
Sandpaper
What is it?
 To remember what scarification means just think of the
word “scar”, which is what you are doing to the seed
 Happens naturally when a bird swallows the seed and
then passes it through the digestive system
 Not all seeds need scarification. The following website
is a good reference www.chestnut-sw.com
How To
 Nick the seed with the paring knife or scratch the
surface of the seed with the sandpaper
 All seeds don’t need this method and you may kill them.
Refer to www.chestnut-sw.com for a list of flowers and
vegetables and how to treat them
Flowers That Need Scarification
 Hollyhock
 Angels Trumpet
 Moon Flower
 False Indigos
 Canna
 Morning Glories
What is Stratification?
 Stratification is when a gardener purposely chills the
seeds.
 Certain seeds have a way of protecting themselves from
germinating too early or too late.
How
 The only things you will need for this method is a Ziploc
bag a marker, and your seeds.
 Make sure to label the bag with what type of seed and
the date that it is to be removed from the refrigerator
 Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator.
 Make sure it the bag is sealed or the seeds will dry out and
will not germinate
Flowers That Need Stratification
 Snapdragon 4-6 wk
 Columbine 2-8 wk
 Coneflowers 3-6 wk
 Blackberry Lily 4-6 wk
 Lavender 4 wks
 Clematis 3 months
 Peonies 2 months
 Larkspur 6 wk
 Jacobs Ladder 2 mth
 Cardinal Flwr 10 days
 Pansies 4 wks
 Salvia 1 wk
Light
 Mainly the smaller seeds need light to germinate
 Do not plant seeds deep
 Place seeds on surface of soil and mist with spray bottle
 Cover with plastic and place in sunny spot
 Check seeds daily
 Once white roots or leaves are seen remove the plastic
Flowers That Need Light
 Hollyhock
 Columbines
 Snapdragons
 Butterfly Weed
 Wax Begonia
 Celosias
 Foxglove
 Coneflowers
 Baby’s Breath
 Coral Bells
 Impatiens
 Forget-me-not
 Petunia
 Balloon Flower
 Salvia
 Pincushion Flower
Dark
 Seeds won’t germinate while exposed to light
How
 Bury the seeds 3x their width and water in
 Cover flat with newspaper and a sheet of black plastic
 Check seeds daily
 Once you see white roots or leaves remove the
coverings
Flowers That Need The Dark
 Pot Marigold
 Bachelor’s Button
 Delphinium
 Sweet Pea
 Phlox
 Verbena
 Pansy
 Statice
Soaking
 Seeds that require soaking usually have a tough seed coat
 You can also soak seeds to check on germination rate
How
 Place the seeds you want to soak in a small bowl
 Let the seeds soak for the appropriate time
 If seeds need to be soaked for more than 12 hrs.
change water every 12 hrs.
 When done soaking pour off water. Coffee filters
work great for this
 Plant immediately
Flowers That Need Soaking
 Canna – After scarifying, soak for 48 hours
 Daylilies – Freeze 2 weeks, soak for 5 days
 Bells of Ireland – Soak for 24 hours
 Hibiscus – Soak 48 hours
 Sweet Peas – After stratifying, soak 48 hours
Vegetable Seeds
Vegetables Not to Start Indoors
 Bush & Pole Beans
 Carrots
 Corn
 Garlic
 Peas
 Radishes
Vegetables to Start Indoors
 Beets – Start 5 weeks before last frost
 Broccoli – Start 6-8 weeks before last frost
 Cabbage – Start 4-6 weeks before last frost
 Cauliflower – Start 4-6 weeks before last frost
 Cucumbers – Start 3 weeks before last frost
 Eggplant – Start 4-6 weeks before last frost
 Peppers – Start 8 weeks before last frost
 Tomatoes – Start 6-7 weeks before last frost
Seedlings Have Germinated
Now What??
Seeds Germinated
Now What?
 When sprouts appear move the seedlings into bright
light
 They need 14-16 hrs of natural or fluorescent light to keep from
becoming leggy
 Keep away from drafty windowsills
 Once the true leaves appear, water with a half-strength
solution of fertilizer
 You can use a water-soluble, all purpose plant food
 Gradually increase strength over time
 Seedlings should be thinned to at least 1” apart or
transplanted into individual pots
Damping
Off
 Soil borne disease that attacks the seedlings as they
germinate causing them to collapse
 Stem turns brown, but leaves stay green
 Prevalent in warm, moist, muggy conditions or when
seedlings are sown too thickly.
 To prevent
 Use only clean pots and seed trays
 Use a soil-less mix that is moist but not over wet
Transplanting to Garden
 Plants will need one to two weeks hardening off
 This is to acclimate the plants to the outdoors
 Start by setting them out for a few hours at a time in a
protected, semi shady location
 Outdoor temperatures should be 45 degrees or warmer
 Gradually increase the time and exposure to direct sunlight
 Transplant seedlings to the garden in the late afternoon
or on a cloudy day and water