The growing season is short where I live, so if the first round of seeds don't germinate, I'll have to wait yet another 10-14 days to see if the seeds sprouted.
This puts me nearly a month behind any planting schedule if you're looking at that 28 day mark.
June, July and August are all we've got for a growing season here in Western New York so I don't have a single day to waste!
Why go through all the work of planting, weeding and watering if crops don't have the time to come to fruition?
Just thinking about that hard frost coming as early as September makes me shudder.
It was high time to make every attempt to increase germination rates with my seeds. Let's ensure one plant per hole germinates and produces.
And if you've already planted some seeds....plant some more for succession planting!
Stagger those crops reaping the benefits of fresh produce up till October!
Here's my foolproof guide!
But first.....let's get the "dirt" on soil!
Bacteria and fungi in the soil, water and even air can deter even the best seeds from germinating property.
This is why it's so important to use fresh seed-starting mix from the get-go.
A quality seed-starting mix fresh from the bag is formulated to discourage common pathogens that cause seedlings to rot and mold.
Loose and lightweight, seed-starting mix holds moisture and air while being free of sticks and bark.
Even adding a bit of vermicompost (worm poop!) can be beneficial in your seed-starting mix. But don't use more than 10 percent by volume.
Garden soil is fine for established plants but not so much for fragile seeds. This soil already has diseases, weeds and insects which will harm your new seeds.
So using seed starting mix in your garden beds makes a lot of sense.
And while potting mix is better than garden soil it's still a tad heavy for the tiny seeds.
Remember: the fewer obstacles your seeds face initially, the better they can grow long-term!
1.) Soak seeds overnight
You give the seeds a big boost that affect their ability to germinate, grow and produce over the long haul.
But to really increase your chances of success, soak seeds overnight in fertilizer to give them the kickstart to life they deserve.
I soak mine in Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed fertilizer mixed with one cup of water for optimal results.
The pea seeds just below are ready to plant!
2.) Remove native soil from planting hole
So I decided to remove the first 3-4 inches of the native soil. It will be replaced with the soil specifically formatted for growing seeds.
3.) Add amendments to seed starting soil mixture
Since I plant tons of tomatoes and herbs, I start by adding a scoop of Dr. Earth Organic fertilizer.
Then I add a small scoop of both Neptune's Harvest Crab Shell and Kelp Meal because you know how much these seeds are going to love that fishy nitrogen boost!
Kelp Meal is loaded in trace minerals to give those seedling big, strong roots!
And all the fertilizers I use are safe for you, your kids and your pets.
Like a good recipe, I mix my new concoction very well so it's ready to re-fill the holes.
You'll need some extra to pat on top of the seeds, too!
4.) Plant 2 seeds per hole and later thin the seeds later if need be
So I put two seeds per hole. If they both germinate~ great! If not, I always get at least one.
I can decide at that point if I want to transplant the other plant or just "thin" the hole by tossing the second, weaker plant. Womp. Womp.
Finally, use your potting mix + amendments and put an inch or two on top depending on the directions on the seeds packet. Lightly pat down the soil.
5.) Water immediately with fertilizer
I always try to time my plantings when I know it's going to rain but not be a torrential downpour (don't want to wash away the seeds). This year hasn't posed a problem as it seems to rain every day!
But I also make several gallons of water mixed with Neptune's Harvest fish & seaweed fertilizer for that extra oomph!
Let's make every attempt to get those seedlings going and growing from the get-go.