Common Seed Starting Problems and How to Fix Them
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If you grow your own vegetables and herbs from seed then you know seed starting and growing is fun, but it certainly isn’t problem-proof.
Starting seeds indoor is a great way to save money on seeds and also be able to get a jump start on the growing season but this also comes with its own challenges. These are some of the Common Seed Starting Problems you might face and various ways to fix them.
Seeds do not germinate! Seeds not germinating might be as a result of many factors.
Old Seeds. When seeds are properly stored, seeds can have a very long shelf life. but when not properly stored they turn to have a short shelf life. Seeds viability reduces the older they get, that is the germination rate for old seeds will be far lower than new seeds. store seeds in a cold, dry place. For good seed shelf life avoid Humidity and warmth. test old seeds first before planting.
Planting Depth/Lighting. Whenever you plant seeds pay attention to your planting depth. planting dept is very important for some seeds. some seeds need to be planted with very little dept while others need to be planted deep. Planting some seeds too shallow can lead to drying out.
Some seeds need some light to germinate and some of those seeds do not need to be planted deep in into the soil. Some of these seeds will grow if you sprinkle them on top of the soil or seed starter mix. Read your seed packets for planting information on each seed.
Balance Watering. Water is very important for plant germination, at this stage you need to make sure you keep the soil moist. If you water too much, seeds might rot and If you let them dry out, they might never germinate. self watering container is great here because you don't have to worry about watering too much or too little. You can buy seed starter trays that do that or you can make yours and save money. check out my post on how to make a self watering seed starting container or self watering bottles greenhouse.
Seeds sprout and then die. Your seeds germinate and you say finally I have seedlings and all of a sudden they whither out and die.
soil temperature. Your seeds not germinating might be as a result of the soil temperature. Most seeds need warm even temperature (70 to 75 degrees) to germinate and grow while other seeds do just fine in cold temperatures. Some Warm weather crops like tomatoes and peppers need temperatures above 70 degrees.
Over watering is not good. Too much moisture allows disease to grow and plants to mold. Once your seeds germinate, water your seedlings only when the soil start getting dry and it is best to Water from the bottom. A self watering container is ideal.
Do not put too many seeds in one area. seedlings and plants need room to expand and grow. Make sure there is enough space between the plants or seedlings.
Infected soil. Sometimes disease in seedlings or in soil can lay dormant until the seedlings start germinating or increase temperature in the soil or moisture help accelerate the disease or fungus in your soil or in your seed starting container.
Solution: Always Wash your seed starting containers before planting. Consider buying a sterile soil or sterilizing your soil. I use a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water or Clorox bleach and water to clean my seed starting containers.
Not enough Nutrient in the soil. when the seedling leaves don’t look very green. Your seed starting mix might be lacking key nutrients that the plants need to thrive. Getting or making a great quality seed starting mix is key to making sure you don't have seedling issues.
Not enough light: Starting seeds indoor require the seeds to have enough light for the seedlings to grow, if the seed starting container is by a window, you want the container on a window that get enough light for longer period or put your seedlings under a grow light if the seedlings are leggy ( seedlings growing long and thin) and put the grow light as close to the seedlings as possible (most cases 4 to 6 inches from the seedlings).