Seed Starting for Best Gardening Results
Benefits of Starting Your Own Seeds Early
Some seeds — such as tomatoes and peppers — are best to start indoors or in a greenhouse. Some types of vegetables, such as beans and squash, are best started outdoors. If you want to successfully germinate seeds indoors or in a greenhouse you must start with the right container. I’ve tried them all and nothing compares to the Sili Seedlings trays.
- Extended Growing Season: Early seedlings for transplant extend your growing season and harvest bounty. Especially for plants like tomatoes and peppers to achieve optimal fruiting time.
- Avoid Pest Damage: You'll reduce the early onset damages of spring soil-borne diseases & pests. Specifically, for beginner BTE Gardeners transplants can be helpful if your sprouts are getting devoured by pests. I have this problem with pests hiding in the mulch in our in Zone 9 climate due to having such a mild winter.
- Saving Money: If you bought starters from the nursery last year you know they can be $5 per pack! Not only does starting your own plants save money.
- Garden Purity: It protects your gardens from getting accidentally introducing nursery transplants carrying diseases and unknown pests eggs.
Problems With Seed Starter Containers
I was fed up with flimsy seed starting trays that would break, made removing the starter plant a mess and I had to pay to replace them after every growing season. There's nothing more frustrating than patiently nurturing a seed into a healthy sprout only to watch the soil and roots crumble into your hand due to the clumsy, stiff design of plastic seed containers. Additionally, toxic chemicals like BPA, leaching from the trays into my starter plants soil under the heat of the sun always bothered me.
I tried purchasing dozens of different seed starting designs - from metal to heavy duty plastic, compostable coco coir, DIY toilet paper rolls - all the most unusual and popular options on the market. I found that none of these options lasted more than one season long nor were they easy to work with. Finally, I found my forever seed starting trays. Not only do they work better in terms of germination rate, plant health, they are also much nicer to use and better for our own health!
- Eco Friendly
- Food Safe
This is my genuine gardening testimony that I hope helps other growers have the best seed starting success! The future prosperity and success of your plants starts with how the seeds are started. What sets my new favorite seed starter trays apart is really their intelligent design and unique material composition. Sili-Seedlings are the only infinitely reusable, 100% silicone seedling trays: BPA-free, food-safe, UV resistant, and FDA-grade silicone. Because of this unique sustainable material, these seed starter trays make starting, growing, and transplanting your seedlings so much easier. The propagation trays are flexible, durable, reusable, and can be sanitized after every use.
Avoid Fungal Disease Spread by Seed Containers
I was shocked to learn that by being resourceful and reusing my old plastic seed trays I was inadvertently spreading fungal disease to my soil and plants. When you neglect to sanitize your seed containers in between growing seasons it is easy for bacteria, disease and fungal growth to permeate the material, infecting the soil. However, as an organic conscious Back to Eden Gardener who appreciates simplicity and, the idea of hand washing or sanitizing each seed tray seemed tedious and time consuming. The use of chemical anti-fungals was also out of the question.
When I read that these new Sili Seedling seed trays were dishwasher safe I kind of chuckled at the unusual idea of putting a seed tray in the dishwasher with my dishes. However, it works and it’s so easy. Since the seed starter trays are dishwasher-safe, you can kill harmful fungi, bacteria, or viruses that could jeopardize your garden without any use of chemicals or anti-fungals. First, hose off any loose dirt on your trays before putting them in your dishwasher. Once cleaned, you can use your normal dishwasher detergent on a normal cycle. To sterilize them, look for a "steam" or "sanitize" function on your dishwasher. Once the cycle has completed, you'll have sterilized your trays. If you don’t use a dishwasher it is just as effective to throw the rinsed trays into your sink and soak them in a hot water bath with dish soap.
One of the biggest reasons gardeners have problems in their garden is reusing trays/tools from previous seasons that collected harmful fungi or airborne pathogens. It's unfortunate and very annoying, so if you run into these problems, try using something that can be sterilized. It could save your garden and a lot of your time!
How to Use Sili-Seedlings Trays to Start Seeds
- Good quality starter soil is essential to healthy seed germination. It should be organic, nutrient rich, aerated and with good drainage for optimal results. Beginners may want to buy an OMRI certified organic seed starter soil mix. You can also make your own mix for amazing results with some practice. Our favorite DIY seed starter soil recipe is 4 parts Dr Earth Potting Soil and 1 part Dr. Earth Seed Starter Fertilizer Mix and a sprinkle of Worm Castings. It's similar to a homemade Back to Eden Wood Chip compost but more aerated and nutrient dense for optimal starter conditions.
- Fill your seed starter trays to the top, slightly compacting the soil with your fingers to ensure no air pockets are left below.
- Plant your seeds according to the packet variety instructions. Choose organic, heirloom seeds for best results in your organic garden and the ability to save your own seed. Get 10% off your order using the code: SAVE10NOW
- Label your plants. Tired of buying, losing and confusing labels? You can write directly on these silicone trays with a dry erase marker! Mind blown! Simply wipe the label away for easy re-labeling of your plants year after year. You'll want to get your own fine tip dry erase markers since they aren't included.
- Choose a location with plenty of light and warmth. Seeds need sunlight to germinate. If you have a window sill with plenty of direct or indirect sunlight this works great for many indoor veggies. If you do not have a location with enough natural light, consider purchasing a full spectrum LED grow light. It's worth the investment and quickly pays itself off with the food you'll grow year round. You will also be able to extend your growing season. Also consider the temperature of your starter plant's location. Most indoor veggies like to grow at 60°F/15°C or 70°F/20°C temperature range consistently. Using an indoor seedling heating mat will help if your climate is too cold.
- Water daily. Nourish your growth. Keep soil evenly moist but not oversaturated.
- Once your sprouts are up and the true leaves are showing it is ideal to start sub-irrigating your plants instead of watering from above. Simply place the seed tray directly in a pan of shallow water and refill it every few days. This helps stimulate root growth and prevents leaf mildew.
- Once your plant has grown and roots are filling the tray they are ready to transfer to the ground or a larger pot. Simply stick your finger in the drainage hole in the bottom of each seed tray while tilting the tray on its side. The flexibility of the silicone allows the entire starter plant to gracefully pop out of the container with roots, soil and plant fully intact.
- Before you put your starter plants into the ground, remember to harden them off. Allow them to sit outdoors where they will be planted a few days before putting them into the ground to help them acclimate. Wait until any danger of frost has passed in your region to plant your starter plants directly outdoors.
- After your transplants are removed or at the end of the growing season remember to follow the steps to sanitize your trays. You are all set to reuse your seed starting trays again and again for a lifetime!
Read our other article to learn more about How to Start Vegetable Seeds and Gardens Indoors. Happy Gardening!
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