When starting out your gorgeous garden, it can be tough to figure out how to best seed your future flowers. Let’s look at the best tips from florists of New Jersey.
Starting off, think about compressing your soil. By pressing down on the soil, you not only eliminate air pockets that little rootlets don’t like, but you also make it so much easier to remove your baby plants once they are ready to transplant.
Rather than use regular potting mix to cover seeds that need darkness to germinate, it is recommended use fine vermiculite. Potting soil often forms a crust on the top of the tray, which can wick water away, rather than soak down in. If you add your seeds to dry potting mix and then try to overhead water, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll send your seeds floating to the corners of the container. If they are really tiny like Iceland poppies or snapdragons, it is easy to wash them away.
In the rush to get growing, it is easy to fall into the trap of starting all your seeds all at once. If you read the seed packets or catalog descriptions, you’ll note that it is recommended to start some slow-growing flowers earlier than others. If your frost-free date isn’t until mid-May, for example, you’ll want to start your foxglove now, but hold off on fast-growing, heat loving zinnias until later.
It is amazing how much faster and how much better seeds germinate with a little heat at their feet. Propagation mats work great for this. If you are a home gardener or small-scale flower farmer you can get by with just one or two mats. Leave your seed starting trays on the heat mat only until they germinate. Once sprouted, move the tray off the heat and make room for the next seed starting trays. This is often a technique used by florists to ensure that customers have a range of flowers to choose from, giving them their pick of flowers from bridal bouquets to casket flowers.
Do not seed more than one type of flower in the tray, especially if you plan to use a humidity dome. Germination rates vary by flower type, so it is best to have all the cells filled with the same flowers, that way you won’t be forced to remove the dome too soon for a row of early germinators or too late for those slow to germinate. Plus, having variable plant heights in the same tray makes adjusting the height of the lights over the trays difficult.
Stay in the know by making sure to always write the name of the flower you are sowing and the date it was sown on the back of a waterproof plant tag (avoid wooden popsicle sticks) with a pencil, grease pencil or super-duper strength sharpie. It is recommended to stick the label in the same corner of every seed tray, so they line up uniformly.