How To Grow Big Healthy Seedlings
To grow big plants, you’ll need to give your plant the best start possible.
Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources e.g. seeds, cuttings, or other plant parts. In this article we will discuss the best implements and inputs needed to achieve high success rates in seed germination.
It seems simple; bury a tiny seed into the soil and, over the course of time, out comes a big plant. However, some things are easier said than done. There are numerous factors why plants won’t grow to its fullest potential over its lifetime, but the best we can do is to ensure we give the plant the best start possible by making sure the seeds are germinated properly.
What Do Seeds Need To Germinate?
Before planting any kind of seeds, make sure the seeds are from a good parent seed stock and determine whether the seeds are pre-treated with fungicide, pesticide, or are genetically modified. Depending on your objectives, it’s pertinent to know where your seeds came from. Once ready to plant, keep in mind the four major factors in seed germination.
Water is life. Seeds need hydration to stimulate embryonic activity. Make sure grow media is moist, not “wet”.
A seed “wakes up” (germination) when in a warm environment. Not cold and not hot.
Young, sprouting seeds need access to air exchange. Use a grow medium with good aeration.
Most seeds prefer a dark environment to sprout. But also avoid burying seeds too deep.
Best inputs for successful seedling development
PICK A GOOD QUALITY SEED
To grow high yielding plants, start with good quality seeds from a reliable source. Choose a variety that best suits your growing environment and growing system. Above all, select a crop that you feel passionate about. Growing vegetables is much more enjoyable when you like what you’re growing rather than just growing for profit.
If stored properly, some seeds will keep for several years, but purchase only enough seed for immediate use. Seed manufacturers take great care in producing seeds, some even applying a coating of fungicidal protection and ensuring an airtight seed packaging to keep seeds dormant and prevent from dehydrating.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SEEDLING TRAY
A seedling tray is extremely useful to propagate seedlings from seed, it provides an organized method to germinate seeds using cells filled with seed germinating medium. Different plants require different cell volume sizes. Growers generally choose seedling trays depending on the planned transplanting timeline and crop selection.
USE A GOOD GROW MEDIUM
Avoid using regular soil in seedling trays. The best grow medium for seed germination using seedling tray containers are cocopeat (cococoir), carbonized rice hull (CRH) or Vermicast. Both are organic by-products from natural sources. They are characterized by the following properties:
- Good water absorption and moisture retention.
- High organic matter (OM) content.
- Provides aeration in rootzone to allow roots and rhizomes to expand.
- Great as a buffer due to neutral pH.
- High Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) to retain nutrients of both + and – charges, enabling better nutrient uptake.
- Contains natural elements of macro and micro nutrients.
- Harbors beneficial bacteria and encourages growth of mycorrhizae.
1020 TRAYS WITH HUMIDITY DOME
1020 Trays with Humidity Domes are the most preferred seedling tray container for microgreens or to prepare seedlings in 2″ net pots for hydroponic NFT systems. The tray is durable and can be reused many times over. A humidity dome creates a warm, moisture-rich, humid environment that helps seeds germinate rapidly. The dome comes with adjustable vents to prevent high chamber temperatures and facilitate air exchange. These trays are adaptable in both outdoor and indoor environments. Used outdoors, the dome gives added protection against pests, bugs, and birds, while offering protection against the rain. In low-humidity indoor environments, young seedlings grow rapidly and are preferentially used to cultivate microgreens for quick servings of healthy, clean salads.