Step 1: Clean Used Seed Trays
Use hot water and detergent or soak in a sterilizing solution and rinse before you begin sowing. Fill a tray with multipurpose or seed compost, and use a second tray to gently firm it to remove air pockets.
Step 2: Scatter Seeds Evenly Over Compost
Pour seeds straight from the package or sprinkle them from the palm of your hand. Sow thinly to prevent waste and overcrowding, which results in spindly seedlings that are more prone to diseases.
Step 3: Lightly Cover Seeds With Sieved Compost
Label the tray with the plant name and date. Water gently with tap water using a fine rose to avoid disturbing the seeds; avoid stored rainwater which can cause damping off disease.
Step 4: Place Tray in Propagator
Place the tray in a propagator or cover it with clear plastic to create the warmth and humidity needed for germination. Keep in a light place, such as on a windowsill, but not in strong sun. Remove the cover as soon as seedlings emerge.
Step 5: Transplant Seedings
When the seedlings have a few leaves transplant them into seed trays or
small pots. To do this, water the seedlings, then hold a seed leaf and
loosen the roots with a dibber or pencil to gently tease each one from
Step 6: Get Trays Or Pots Ready
Have ready seed trays or small pots filled with multipurpose compost,
then water and allow to drain. Dibble a hole in each compartment, insert
a seedling, and gently firm using the dibber. Water and label.
Step 7: Harden Off Seedlings
After a few weeks, harden off the seedlings by gradually exposing them
to the outdoor environment. Place them outside during the day and bring
them in at night, or place them in a cold frame and gradually increase
Tender plants and half-hardy annuals and perennials are started indoors, since they need artificial warmth or frost-free conditions. The seeds of most hardy plants can be sown indoors, too, if you want closer control of their germination and early growth.
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