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Seed Starting For Spring Time

Are you prepared to provide vegetables for your family and friends in the event a natural disaster or quarantine occurs? It is recommended that we have a food supply to last for two weeks, and quite honestly 85% of Americans are not prepared. When SHTF you need to be ready to feed your family. Seed Starting For Spring Time is the beginning of a survival garden and is the best way to keep your family well-fed and give you peace of mind.

This quick beginner's guide will cover everything you need to know regarding supplies you need, seed starting for the spring, germination, transplanting, lighting, and the best method for beginners.

Choosing seeds

First, Seed Starting For Spring Time we will start by choosing the seeds for your survival garden. As a beginner, you don't want to start with more than 10 different seeds(best choices are tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, etc.).

You also want to take into consideration the amount of space that you have to grow the seeds, so you don't want anything that takes up a lot of room like a pumpkin. Vegetables with long growing seasons are the best to start indoors.

Supplies

Here are some materials that you need to have on hand:

  • Warm weather vegetables and herbs seeds
  • Lighting system or grow lights with a power strip timer
  • Spray bottle
  • Plant labels
  • Peat pellets (soil Plugs)
  • Seed starting kit with individual cells and cover or 72-cell plug tray with plastic wrap (you will also need potting soil or seed starting soil and fertilizer)
  • Pencil

Setting up a location

When choosing a location, you want to have a place:

  • Away from high traffic, excessive heat, or cold drafts.
  • Spacious enough for seeds to grow and be transplanted.
  • The room needs to maintain a temperature of 70 to 85 degrees F.

Best time for seed starting

Where you live, and what you are planting will determine when the best time to start seeds indoors would be. For most fruits and vegetable seeds, you would start at the end of January or the beginning of February to give them time to grow strong enough to be hardened off for transplanting outdoors(about 5-6 weeks before the average last frost day in your area).

Seed starting indoors vs direct sowing

You can't start all of your seeds indoors, some seeds need to be sowed directly in the ground. All root vegetables and fruits(beets, radish, squash, corn, watermelon) should be direct sown since they don't do well when it comes to transplanting.

The type of seeds you are planting (whether it is a warm-season or cold season) determines when you would directly sow the seeds in the ground. Cool-season plants should be sown 2-3 weeks before the average last frost date. Warm-season plants should be sown as soon as the last average frost date has passed.

Watering seedlings

When watering seedlings, it is important to make sure that you don't overwater them because you run the risk of creating an environment for mold, algae, and fungi. Seeds should be watered at least once a day at the same time before noon with room temperature water. The best way to know when you should water your seeds is by checking the soil frequently. You want to make sure that the soil is moist, not dry.

Lighting

Natural light is best, however not always a possibility. To replicate natural lighting, you can use shop lights with full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs. If you have difficulty finding fluorescent bulbs in your area, cool white bulbs will suffice, or you can mix and match cool and warm white bulbs, you just need to rotate your plants every few days so that they benefit from both types of bulbs.

*Tip: Most seedlings have a requirement of 12-16 hours of light each day. If you use a power strip with a timer, you can set the timer for the amount of light that your plants need.

Seed germination

You can either use peat pellets that come with a seed starting system, or you use plug trays with seed starting soil. For those new to starting seeds, a starter kit with peat pellets is an easier and convenient method.

For the kit

  • Place a peat pellet in each of the individual cells of the starter tray, fill the cell with water so that the pellet expands.
  • Once the soil plugs have absorbed the water, take your pencil and create a small indention in the soil and place 2 seeds in the indention.
  • Cover the seed starter kit. No additional water or fertilizer is needed while the seedling is germinating. However, you should still check the soil and seedling to make sure it is still moist.
  • The cover is removed when the seeds have reached a height of 2-3 inches or there are two sets of true leaves on the plant.

If you decide to use the plug trays, with a large flat tray with the seed starting soil, then you will need to do the following:

  • Place the soil mixture with fertilizer in the cell or container leaving about an inch of space from the top
  • Place the seeds in the mixture according to the seed packet. If they need light, place them on the surface of the soil. If they germinate better in darkness, take your pinky finger and form indention. Add 3-4 seeds and cover with half an inch of mix and press down. Spray with water
  • Cover with a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap
  • Monitor soil and water every day as needed.

Germination in most seedlings takes approximately 2 weeks, depending on the type of seed you are planting. You still want to check the soil every few days and go by seed germination timelines listed on the seed packets.

*Tip- You can find a plug-in heated starter tray for relatively cheap that will help speed seed germination or place the tray on a heating mat.

Transporting/transplanting

After the seeds have germinated, you need to prepare them for the transplant process by hardening them. To harden the seeds, you take your entire seed tray and place it in your outdoor garden area for a few hours each day. This should be a warm and shaded area, gradually introducing the seeds to more sunlight and time outside. Once they are strong enough usually after 7-10 days, you can transplant to your outside garden. If you used the peat pellets you can place them directly into your garden. If you don't use the peat pellets you will need a clay or peat pot to transplant the seedlings.

Click Here to learn more about the benefits of gardening!

Conclusion

This quick guide should have provided you with the basics needed for seed starting in the springtime. As you become more seasoned with starting seeds, you can begin to experiment with different soil mixtures and composts, more complex seeds, and DIY environmentally friendly ideas for seeding.

The purpose is to make sure that you are prepared when disaster strikes, because "when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed."

Learn more about resourceful living: 

Backyard Chickens -- Composting -- Rainwater Catchment

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