Tips for sowing seeds for spring

Bachman's shares tips for jump-starting spring planting.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - With just a little planning, gardeners can get an early jump on the planting season by starting seeds indoors. Adam Bachman from Bachman’s stopped by the KARE 11 News at 4 to share tips to dig into spring!

The first step is the container. Wash any used containers with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. The container should have good drainage, Adam suggested that seed trays and peat pots work well for starting seeds indoors.

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Soil is the second step in starting seeds. Minimize disease problems by using a sterile growing media such as vermiculite or a peat-based seed starting mixture. Then, wet the seeding medium and allow it to drain before sowing seeds.

The third step is planting. The easiest method is to sow 2-3 seeds at the appropriate depth in each individual container. After the seeds germinate and the seedlings begin to form their second set of leaves, pinch off the smallest seedlings, leaving only the most vigorous plant in each container.

Watering – a very important step. Keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Adam advised to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Water from below to avoid disturbing the tender seedlings. After the seeds germinate and the seedlings begin to form their second set of leaves, fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer at the half the recommended rate weekly. Continue to care for the plant in the original pot until it’s time to transplant it to the garden.

The next step is lighting, temperature and humidity. After sowing, place the seeded containers under full spectrum fluorescent lights. Keep the fixture about 4-6 inches above the plants. After the seeds have germinated, keep the lights on 16 hours a day. Gradually decrease the time to 12 hours a day as the seedlings mature. Seeds generally need a soil temperature between 65-70 degrees to germinate. Adam recommends the use of a heating mat or heating cable. Humidity involves covering the containers with plastic to help hold in moisture and create a humid environment. Be careful not to let them get too hot under the plastic. Remove plastic as soon as you see any signs of germination.

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The last step is transplanting the seedlings into the ground. This typically happens about 10 days to two weeks before the time to move the plants outdoors (after May 20 for tender plants). During this time, we begin to prepare the plants for survival outdoors. Allow the plants a period of "hardening off." This means gradually introducing them to the outdoors to avoid the shock of temperature changes, sun and wind. Start by putting them in a shaded, cool place on your porch or patio that is protected from the wind. Transplant your seedlings into pots or the ground using the same planting best practices of proper soil preparation, watering and plant selection locations.

Looking for instant spring? Watch 'em Grow Bulbs Gardens and Bachman’s-grown blooming plants are ideal solutions. Available now through early spring, bring home spring favorites to enjoy the beautiful, vibrant color of blooming tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and muscari.

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