Nothing says summer more than fresh picked flowers from your gardens. To ensure continuous blooms all season long, I like to start our first set of seeds in trays and then when the weather warms, I will have the first set of flowers as starts.
Why do you plant multiple rounds of seeds?
The reason why I do a few rounds of seeds, is to ensure I have enough fresh flowers from June to September. Each plant has only a certain amount of time before they hit their peak and start producing less blooms. So I like to stagger them a few weeks apart.
How to start flowers from seed
There are a few supplies you will need. I found some nice seed trays off of Amazon. All of my local feed stores were out for the season. I was able to find seed starting soil at the feed store. You want soil that is labeled specifically Seed Starting Soil. The last thing you will need is your choice of seeds.
I started Zinnias, Sunflowers and Snapdragons. Snapdragons is the only one that I will not be doing a second planting. Zinnias and Sunflowers I will be starting today as well as planting seeds directly into the gardens in about 2 weeks.
Once you have all of your supplies gathered
It is time to get busy. The first thing you want to do is to fill your seed trays with seed starting soil. I like to wet down my soil in a large container. Just wet enough that it clumps together and is not dripping water.
After you wet it down, fill your trays to the top, leaving about 1/8 inch of space at the top. I like to drop 3 to 4 seeds in each square of your seed starting tray. The reason I add more than one seed per space, is that they are not 100% guaranteed to sprout. The older the seed, the more the percentage drops.
If all seeds do sprout, I will thin them down to 2 starts per square. This is a step that is hard for me to do as a gardener, but it is very important for the health of your remaining seedlings. Once they get a bit older, I will thin again down to the healthiest plant. But, that is a few more weeks away.
Cover you seeds with seed starting soil up to the top of the tray. Make sure to label your seeds that you have planted. You will not be able to tell what you have planted once they sprout. Mist with water and place the lid on top.
Placement of your seed trays
You have a few options. If you have a seed starting heat mat, definitely utilize that. For most of us, we will not have that item. You will want to find a nice South facing window that gets a good amount of sunlight. You want the heat to encourage your seeds to wake up and grow.
You do not have to purchase a heat mat. I have been gardening for over 15 years and I purchased my first one last year. If you do purchase anything, I recommend some basic grow lights. They will be extremely beneficial and you will lose less starts.
once your seeds have sprouted
It will take anywhere from 10 to 14 days for your seeds to sprout. They will need light once they break through the soil. Your seedlings will reach up for the light and can get leggy and weak if they do not have proper light.
Once my seeds sprout, I like to keep a small fan blowing on them. This acts as a nice breeze and will encourage the starts to produce strong stalks/stems.
If your seedlings get too leggy, it would be best to start over. Once you start flowers from seed, you will be able to start anything from seed. Vegetables are another great seed to start inside.
If you are interested in ordering from seed catalogs and learning to plan ahead, Click HERE