Hello and welcome to another video with Gardening for Beginners. Today we’re going to talk about seed flats, also called.
Hello and welcome to another video with Gardening for Beginners. Today we’re going to talk about seed flats, also called seed starts. Some folks call them seed trays, which is totally fine, but I usually avoid calling them that because I refer to these as seed trays. I do it to limit confusion on what I’m talking about, but none of those terms are wrong. So basically this seed tray would hold the seed flats So I know in the past I’ve avoided seed flats just because I don’t like transplanting more than once but now that it’s starting to warm up outside, and in a week or so I’m going to be transplanting my seedlings that I started in styrofoam cups, I’ll probably only be transplanting these one time as well. The way it would work, I would just put my seed in, they would start to sprout and grow. Once they’ve got one or two, or three sets of true leaves the I would transplant them directly outside instead of putting them in a styrofoam cup under my grow lights. But I do have to hand it to these things, they are really nice space savers Styrofoam cups take up a lot of space. But now that my styrofoam cups are outside in the greenhouse indoors I’ve got nothing but space. I’m gonna talk with you and show you how to pack the seed starter soil into the seed flats. I’m also gonna give you a nice little trick on how to ensure that your seed depth is good in the actual flats. And last but not least, I’m gonna also give you some tips on how to get the fastest germination speed and rate possible. So what do you say? Let’s get to sowing!So before we get to packing the premoistened soil in here one of the other reasons that I really didn’t like using seeds flats is that you would need to put, you wanna label your seedlings so that you can keep track of them and a lot of people use these and with my grow lights it just doesn’t work very well. This is gonna interfere with the height of my light fixtures. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t want to use this but I came up with a very simple and elegant solution to that. And you would just get a Sharpie for example, and you would just write the name of whatever seedling is in here. On the side, so that you can keep track of them. You’re gonna reuse these maybe, I don’t know, five or ten times, so you just cross that line out and keep going down, maybe move over to the next one. That will allow me to not only keep track of the seedlings, but it will also allow me to put the light fixture a little bit closer to the seedlings. Packing the soil correctly is one of the most important things that you can do for your seeds. If you just sift some soil in, it’s not gonna be firm enough and could collapse when you water it, which could cause the seed to change depth or direction, and not be in an optimal spot to germinate. So drop some of that premoistened soil in here, and if you’d like to learn how to premoisten the soil check out my video on it. I’ll provide a link in the description. There we go. So right there, you’ve got the soil filled up, but you’re gonna wanna tamp it down with your thumb. You don’t have to go crazy on it, just give your seeds a firm base to work with. There you go. See that right there? Now, all you have to do, add some more soil in here. Lightly tamp that down. Again, just making sure it’s a firm growing medium for your seeds. A little bit more in there. And there you go. You’re all set! One optional thing that you can do, that I have been playing around with is sprinkling a little vermiculite on the surface and lightly mixing it in Vermiculite is basically, I won’t get too fancy schmancy scientific with you but it basically helps hold moisture in one of the things that I’ve noticed with my seedlings is that under lights they can kinda dry out really quickly, so I wanna see what this does But after that, like I said this step is gonna be optional. There’s no reason to go out and buy vermiculite specifically for this process. Every now and then I like to experiment and test stuff and I happened to have some vermiculite laying around so, I’m gonna tinker a little bit! Now you want to get your seeds a ruler of some sort, a toothpick, and a pen. What you would do is run your toothpick parallel to whatever measuring device that you have and using a pen, mark off whichever depth the seed packet recommends. For me I’m planting some peppers, and these are going to be 1/4 inch. But definitely keep an eye on that because some packets recommend 1/8 of an inch a 1/2 inch, an inch, just make sure that you’re marking the right depth because that’s gonna impact how well or how poorly this trick works. So make sure that you use a ball point pen and not the ink from a felt pen or a Sharpie because that can definitely cause the ink to run and it’s just gonna mess it up and you’re not gonna get an accurate measurement. But I measure 1/4 inch and then I like to roll it over to the other side and measure 1/4 inch as well And there you have it! Now what you would do, is you would push your toothpick down using this as a marker I hope you can see that. Using this as a marker you would push your toothpick down to the depth that you want, and then move it around in a circle to create your seed hole. There we go right there. See how easy that is? It takes all the guesswork out of it and you have got the right depth to plant your seeds. On this side I’m doing some sugar rush peaches. I only have three seeds left so I only made three holes. But one thing that you can do is if you have, for example, six seeds you can do two holes for each one if you like, like so. You would just do one hole right here, and then one hole right here. And you would follow that process. That gives them enough room that it doesn’t push them right up against the edges. I actually have five of these other seeds so yeah, I did it right. Perfect! So I’ve got two, two, and one. But now all you have to do… oh look at that, I’ve got four. Hah, one was hiding from me. So you just drop your seed in, and then cover it with soil. You don’t really wanna push that hard but, I like to go in here with the toothpick and very lightly, just make sure it’s all the way at the bottom because sometimes these seeds will get caught on the sides of the soil and not go all the way down. So there we go! And that’s what that looks like right there. you see how easy that is? You just push down lightly. I’m gonna drop these other seeds in, just a little bit closer so that you can see it. See how they’re just falling right down into the holes there? And I’m just making sure with the toothpick that they’re at the right depth. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to necessarily focus too much on which side is pointing up. I like to put them in sideways and they seem to do just fine. Nature figures out which direction is up, and which direction is down. Now that you’ve gotten all of your seeds in the seed starting soil the seed starting mix, what a lot of folks do is they just drop these right in a seed tray and they have them all lined up in here and you want to make sure they get some type of moisture a lot of folks water from the bottom Once this is filled up, and they’ll have maybe one little gap right here they’ll fill in a bunch of water and then once all of these turn dark all of the little seed flats, the soil turns dark then what they’ll do, is they’ll carefully pour the water out so that they don’t get you know, so they don’t drown. Another option that you can do, is if you have a more limited number of seeds that you’re starting, you can always just turn this almost vertical and just use a spray bottle just hit it really good, make sure that it gets really moist because you want the soil to be fairly well-saturated once your seeds are in there and then after that, what I like to do is I like to get some type of plastic bag… like let’s say that I just had this out and I used a spray bottle then what I would do I’ve got my seed tray, and I would put some sort of plastic bag over it and that really helps hold in the moisture Now what you need to do is you need to check this twice a day because once they start sprouting up, they start sprouting up fast and the last thing you want is for this bag to push them down or hold them down and get them to bend because then all your hard work is all for naught. You would set this in the right growing conditions for your seeds Most of your spring seeds are going to want a soil temperature of around 70 to 90 degrees, and for a lot of spring veggies it’s gonna be somewhere in the middle. You can use a heat mat or place them near the warm part of an appliance like a refrigerator. Or, you don’t do any of that at all. If your indoor temperature is around those temps, my grow room is pretty much a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit so what I usually do is just place this plastic bag over it like the one you see here. This helps so you don’t have to water as much Just keep in mind without a heat mat it may take them a bit longer to germinate compared to using one. Just use your best judgment and go from there. So using the magic of television I’ll be able to show you some next steps. As you can see right here I’ve got some seedlings that have started to sprout over here and even on this side we’ve got a little guy, right there poking his head out but once you start seeing seedlings come up you’re definitely gonna want to put them under lights immediately and I want to stress you want to put them under grow lights Don’t worry if they all haven’t come up yet. Some will later, and some won’t come up at all. that’s just the reality of gardening. But if you do want to learn more about this growlight setup that I have with these 4 foot long shop lights and fluorescent lights I’ll provide a link in the description as well but I do want to stress, I would say 95% of the folks in our group that put their seedlings in a window, it doesn’t work out for them the reason it doesn’t work out is there’s not enough light they get leggy, they get spindly, they get weak and they just, from the get-go they’re not set up for success so definitely consider, at least some lighting option it doesn’t have to exactly be this one because there are a lot of options out there but this is definitely one of my personal favorites and all you have to do I’ve got them all set up and then you slide them right under the light like so So tell me what you think in the comments. Do you start your seeds in seed flats differently? Or do you have questions about what you just watched? If so, ask away! 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