How to Start Plants from Seed | Ask This Old House

How to Start Plants from Seed | Ask This Old House

Roger I love fresh basil in the summer but I'll be honest with you you're talking about planting things from seed I'm perfectly happy going to the garden centers and in 3 bucks and buying this little pot right here I mean why would I want to bother with the seed well seed is cheap you can buy a lot of it then the other thing is you're going to get a harvest two to four weeks early by starting your plants inside and then there's a choice there are a lot of seed different types of seeds you can pick from more than you can find seedlings at a garden center now I will give that to you I mean I'm looking at some of these packets right here and we've got this just Tomatoes right so we've got what red Siberian jelly beans sungold beefsteak sweety not you the tomato thank you and you're not going to get that level of choice in the garden no all right so we're gonna do seeds where do we start let's start with containers almost anything can become a containing you don't want to use a plastic pot that doesn't have a drain hole in it so very simply punch a hole in the bottom and that's now a container you can start a seedling look at this little milk carton or cream cart and turn it into a container okay so every cycle variety right there right this one you take and put the seedling in this and then you can plant it out in the garden because this is all biodegradable so you actually put this entire container into the garden yep I left that okay that's a one-off if I do a whole bunch at once we have a couple of different trays this is an individual cell tray do you fill it in your plan in each block this is an open tray where you can do a lot more planting more numbers in that and the benefits to one or the other just that you can get more plants started in here these are easier to pop out and put into the garden so you can actually dig one of these out and not worry about going in here doing damage to the others yeah okay the most important thing is what we put into those trays and that's the soil so what do you do just go get a big shovel full of your best soil out in the backyard black gold and you know you don't use that soil it's too heavy the seedlings can't grow in it you're going to use this Spagna moss and vermiculite Wow really free draining material that really is like it is kind of spongy and soft and I put this in here well you can but it's really hard to water after you do this so what we like to do is take and mix the soilless mix with water and then use that to go in and fill all the cells with and then we'll just plant right directly into it and so you're saying that this has actually been pre saturated oh yeah look at that yeah no problem at all yep okay so now we've got the soil mix in there let's get some seed in the ground how about broccoli right here sure that's a good one pour some of these and said whoa look how small those things all right know what you got to remember is you want to make a hole to plant those it's two to three times the size of the seed so we're not digging down very deep but just drop them in so really just not going down deep at all and once you get it in you just want to firm the soil down on top of it okay just put them in these guys right here in this tray I'm going to take and make some rows for you so we're putting seeds in there you're going to seed it a little more heavy it's really hard to get them spaced out properly so put in extra we'll take and cut out the ones we don't want and let the main one grow up I am so glad you said that because I really can't even can't go in once they hit the dirt all right so you just got some of those will be sacrificial will is exactly and once you're in here you just taking cover them over but you want to take and push down on it to make sure you have good contact between the seed and your soil it's man and out right here I can see the water easy now so this has been pre saturated yes wet to start how do I keep it wet well there's a couple of things you can do one is you could use a light spray like that and just simply keep it moist and you want to do it really light because you don't want to wash the seed of the seedling out of it that's why some guidance will take a tray like this take it completely out put water in there okay and then just drop it back in and whether it just soaks it up in the bottle water just wicks up from a very clever so no watering can over the hole no all right and then we get to spray the top of this one and what every day I got to do it if it's evaporating that fast yes that's why some people will take and put this cover over the tray now you have an enclosed system and that's not going to dry out very quickly okay so we've got water soil seed are we missing something sunlight well I'm doing that don't you do eventually but not at first most seeds will germinate just from having water and soil in heat that's it no sunlight no sunlight all right in fact what we often do is we'll take a tray like this and put it on the heat mat just plug there that'll help the seeds get going so if at some point I need sunlight though right right as soon as they emerge the plants are going to want a sunlight so this is when you either shift it over to a nice sunny window or you take and provide light for it yes so how much light are we talking about we're talking to 14 to 16 hours a day Wow we're not going to get that you know arch in New England and that's where the grow light comes in simply set it like this this one's great because it can adjust up and down we'll take it down too close to it so when the seeds are actually in the soil put it right down on top of them right as it grows we're just going to take and move it up with the plants all right so let's flash forward a couple weeks maybe a month we end up with seedlings like this we ready to put him in the garden well we need to know a couple things first you need to know the date of the last frost in your region because if we put these outside and there was a frost the chances are they'd all be killed so obviously go beyond the last frost how far beyond I would say at least a week if not to the other thing we have to do is we have to hide in these plants laughs we're going to take the whole tray put it outside for two or three hours and repeat that increasing the time over several days that'll acclimate them to the Sun in the wind and they'll grow very well when we put them in the gutter and then once they've acclimated we can put them in the ground right you just come in very easily teases seedling out look at you look at that perfect time you got a little root system you got a little seedling right there and two to four weeks you'll be having basil Thank You Roger

14 thoughts on “How to Start Plants from Seed | Ask This Old House”

  1. VERMICULITE WILL GIVE YOU CANCER. It is invariably contaminated with asbestos. Don't buy it. Don't use it.

  2. This is like the 50th video I've watched of this old House and just realized he doesn't have his whole finger

  3. The ONLY thing they didn't clarify was what the soil should be when you finally put the seedlings in the ground. This whole procedure sounds fun! This past spring I bought a quart-sized pot of a plant and a seedling of that same plant at a garden center, and planted them in containers. Within just a few weeks the seedling plant was bigger and healthier than the potted plant! Had I just bought them both in seedling size i would have saved about $7.00 and that was just one plant!

  4. Unless u buy from a very small unknown organic farm, everything you buy in a store will be full of pesticides, artifical modification, and other harmful chemicals (some are even irradiated for “extra long life”) whose money all goes to the same 5 corporations that seek to undermine government. Nothing beats homegrown if you can do it.

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