Row by Row Episode 118: Best Tips to Successfully Grow Seedlings in Seed Starting Trays

Why is Seed Starting Mix so Important to Grow Seedlings?

Before we discuss how to grow seedlings in a seed starting trays we must first understand the difference between seed starting mix vs. potting soil. It is important to use a seed starting mix to successfully grow seedlings because of the fine texture and smaller granular perlite which is more suitable for growing seedlings. We do not recommend using potting soil to grow seedlings because it contains a more coarse texture that is too chunky for growing seeds.

Tips: Grow Seedlings in a Seed Starting Tray

When growing seedlings, you first need a good sturdy seed starting tray like our 162 or 338 seed trays. These trays are ideal for seed starting because of the internal design of vertical root training ribs which allow for better aeration and root ball drainage. Investing in good quality seed starting supplies will help your plants succeed in the long run too. To begin planting seeds you should start by indenting the cells, then drop one seed in each cell. The general rule of thumb for how big the hole or indention for planting is twice the diameter of your seed. One of the most common mistakes that we see when seed starting is watering. The seed starting mix needs a lot of water initially to keep the soil moist. If you are bottom watering with our Heavy-Duty Bottom Trays it’s important to water from the top until the roots can reach the bottom, then once they reach the bottom you can have a reservoir to feed them that way. In the beginning, you want to water the seeds until you can see water dripping from the bottom of the tray. Another mistake that people can make when seed starting is the lighting. If you are growing seeds inside you need to have a light directly on top of the plants and as the seedlings start to grow raise the light. Lastly, when fertilizing new seedlings once you see the first set of true leaves you will mix 1 tablespoon of 20-20-20 per gallon of water twice a week.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, Travis went to North GA for Labor Day weekend and came back to South GA with a 35 lb Cushaw Squash. You can make several different things out of the cushaw squash but most people make pies or use the squash for fall decoration. Travis also shows off beautiful zinnias that he has harvested from the dream garden on his homestead. These are the Benary Giant Zinnias which is the most popular cut flower variety for vegetable gardens. Not only do zinnias create wonderful bouquets of flowers but they also attract beneficial pollinators that are really helpful for the garden.

Travis has three new varieties to talk about with the first being a new onion variety called the Plethora Onion. This onion is a short day variety that produces jumbo/colossal sweet type yellow onion. The second new variety is another short day onion known as the Carta Blanca Onion that produces globe-shaped white onions in the garden. The last new variety the guys mention this week is the Gold Lite Sunflower which is a ProCut hybrid type sunflower. ProCut varieties produce a single stem with one flower per stem and are pollenless which means it won’t drop pollen on your table once cut and placed into a vase.

Viewer Questions

For the Q & A segment this week, Greg and Travis answer some popular questions from their viewers on last week’s show. The first question this week is discussing Irish potato season and whether or not it is too late for starting this spring. Travis shares his advice that as long as you have around 90-day temperatures you can still start Irish potatoes this spring. The next viewer question is what causes pumpkins to rot off the vine. Greg explains a couple of different scenarios that can cause pumpkins to rot. First, if the pumpkins are just coming on and they rot/fall off the vine it’s a pollinator issue. If the pumpkins are larger and have already had fruit set it can either be too much water or too much fertilization. When overwintering carrots, the tops on carrots are cold tolerant to 18 degrees. If your area gets colder than 18 degrees for consistent days you might not want to try overwintering carrots in your garden.

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