Seed Starting Essentials- Plastic Seed Trays, Seed Starting Kits, Seedling
As winter turns into spring, home gardeners stock up on seeds and seed starting
supplies. We chomp at the bit, in eager anticipation of a new growing season.
All winter long, we stockpile seed trays, seed starting kits, seedling
propagation mats, and propagation trays. We also acquire abundant amounts
of seed starting soil, peat pellets, peat pots, and peat strips.
Why Peat? Peat is an organic, naturally occurring material. Roots
can easily penetrate peat pots and pellets, as they grow.
About Peat Moss
Here are some descriptions to help you determine what seed starting materials
and supplies to stock up on:
||Plastic Seed Trays with plastic pots (inserts) - less expensive
than peat pots and pellets. Seed starter trays can often be used over
Plastic pots are great when you have a lot of seedlings to start. They are
more commonly used with flowers and herbs. Be careful when transplanting,
to minimize disturbance of the roots. Also, seedlings can get root
bound, if left to grow too long in plastic pots.
||Plastic Seed Tray Kits with peat strips - Strips of peat
pots in a starter tray, is preferred by many gardeners. Square pots, in strips
of 5 to 8 pots, fit in plastic flats. Refills are available.
||Seed Trays with peat pellets - The seedling tray is neatly filled
with peat pellets. Some trays have a plastic insert, to keep the pellets
perfectly spaced. Trays are reusable. Replacement pellets are available.
||Dome Covers for Seed Tray Kits - Seed trays come with or without
a dome cover. Dome covers serve two purposes: 1. To retain moisture, and
keep the soil from drying out. 2. To raise the temperature of the starter
soil, speeding seed germination.
Dome covers are great for starting seeds. However, the extra heat and moisture
encourages damping off disease, a fatal
seedling disease. When using the covers, watch for excess moisture. Remove
the cover frequently, to allow excess moisture to escape. After the seedlings
have sprouted, we recommend you discontinue using the cover.
||Jiffy Peat Pots - Round or square pots, in various sizes. Round
pots are by far more popular. Fill Jiffy peat pots with your favorite
seed starting mix. Peat pots minimize transplant shock, as the roots are
undisturbed. At planting time, transplant seedling in the pots, right into
the garden. Roots easily grow through the organic pots.
||Jiffy Peat Pellets - The pellets are small and compact...until
you add water. Then, they expand into a convenient seed starter. A mesh material
holds this "ball of peat" together. Gardeners like the ease of use of Jiffy
peat pellets, which helps to minimize transplant shock.
||Seed Starting Soil (or mix)- The primary ingredients of
any good quality seed starter soil, are sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Starter
soil mix is properly pH balanced. Rich, lightweight starting soil, allows
your seedlings to easily emerge from the soil.
Manufacturers often fortify the mix with fertilizers and micro-nutrients
needed for early season growth.
||Heated Germination Mats ( Propagation Mats) - Home gardeners who
have germination mats, rightfully swear by them. Germination mats are helpful
for sprouting just about any seed, and a gardening essential for hard to
Propagation mats provide bottom heat, speeding seedling germination, and
better germination rates. Promotes healthy, vigorous seedling growth. Germination
mats pay for themselves over and over again.
After seeds have emerged, remove the germination mat. As the roots spread
downward, the higher heat can actually hurt tender, young roots.
Tips for Transplanting Seedlings:
Time the transplanting of your seedlings, to after the last frost date for
Don't leave your seedlings in trays and pots too long. As soon as roots emerge
from the peat pots or pellets, it is time to transplant them (weather
Transplanting on cloudy days, helps to minimize transplant shock.
As planting time nears, "harden off" seedlings by placing them outdoors
for progressively longer periods of time.
How to Transplant Seedlings
More on Hardening Off plants
Also see: Cold frames
More Gardening Topics:
About Spaghnum Peat Moss