The first few weeks of spring are perfect for planting seedlings. It’s not too soon! Check out our guide on how to get your gardening season off to a great start.
1. Get your seeds.
Seeds are usually sold in packets, you’ll find them at the grocery store, garden centres and some hardware stores.
Beginners, don’t be intimidated! To begin your career in horticulture, pick plants that are less demanding: strawberries, raspberries, nasturtiums, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, lettuces, herbs, etc.
2. Buy (or make) compost and potting soil.
A good natural fertilizer will help your plants grow faster, stronger and fuller. Plants need nutrients from natural fertilizers, which are long-acting and gentle on the plants. You can even opt for manure if you’re not worried about the smell, or if the wind doesn’t usually blow towards your house.
Avoid synthetic or chemical fertilizers: they’re terrible pollutants, only effective in the short term and could burn your plants.
3. Select your pots.
Some materials are particularly useful for pots, like clay, cardboard and eggshells: all you have to do is put the pot directly into the soil in your garden when your plants are ready to survive outside. Biodegradable pots make transplantation much easier.
If you don’t have those handy, give your empty cans and yogurt containers a second life. If you do reuse these kinds of containers, wash them thoroughly first. And don’t forget about the importance of good drainage: poke holes in the bottom of your recycled pots and place them in a dish so that excess water can drain out.
1. Plant your seeds.
Place each seed in its own pot so it has enough space to grow. Plant them fairly close to the surface: make sure they are covered, without burying them too deep.
To find out the best times to plant your seeds and transplant them outside, check out this calendar.
2. Water your seeds.
Don’t use water from melted snow or rainwater: that water contains too many minerals for seeds and seedlings. For the first two weeks, water your seedling pots by spraying them with dechlorinated tap water. If you live in a city, your tap water is most likely chlorinated. To evaporate the chlorine, fill a pitcher of water from the tap, let it sit overnight, and then stir the water just before watering the seedlings in order to reoxygenate it.
Watering is an art: not everyone is a natural. The soil should be damp, but not completely soaked – a plant that soaks in water too much will eventually rot. If you tend to get carried away when watering, remember that it’s better to water too little than too much: your plants are more likely to suffer from drowning than from dryness.
3. Pick the right place for your seedlings.
Place your seedlings near a window, in full sun. Make sure you turn your pots around every day so that they get sun on all sides. At this little daily visit you can also check in on how your seedlings are growing and make sure they’re getting enough light and water.
Follow all these steps and you should see some real growth: your hard work will bear fruit – literally!
Learn more from our experts in the Advice Zone to find out how to compost at home.