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Grow with KARE: Seed starting mistakes

We are proud of beginner gardeners, so we are saluting those of you that have tried seed starting. We're learning for those of you that learned the hard way!

We are so proud of beginner gardeners, so we are saluting those of you that have tried seed starting. 

It’s not the easiest task but many folks have the same one or two problems that are easily fixed. We are using some of the photos from the Grow with KARE Facebook page from gardeners who learned the hard way.

The first is starting seeds too early!

Seeds started too early will end up outgrowing their containers, take up too much space in your house and have a greater chance of dying or ending up unhealthy before they are able to go outside into the ground. Be sure to follow the planting instructions for when to start the seed on the back of the packet.

Second, especially for warm season veggies like peppers, a seed heating mat can help with germination. If not a seed mat, then the top of the refrigerator or furnace also works. 

Third, and probably the biggest mistake involves lighting. Relying on a window to provide enough light for your seedlings probably isn’t enough. If you need to use just a window, be sure it is south-facing. Also rotate the seedlings frequently so they aren’t stretching in one direction to grow toward the light.

A grow light is best, but beyond that, the light has to be close to the seedlings — within one to two inches of their tops. Either use chains to lower the light or use something underneath the seed tray like a box or wood to light them up. Adjust as the plants grow to keep the light just above the leaves. Keep the lights on 12-16 hours per day.

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