Saturated Soil For Seeds
Stops Seedling Survival

Back to the spring puddle of icy water. Plants are living organisms similar to you and me in many ways. We couldn’t survive in the puddle either because it provides its ‘sufficient’ water to the exclusion of one other element. Plants breathe just as we do and at the bottom of the puddle there is a significant lack of air.

soil less mix, germinating soil

Is This Good Dirt
As soon as our tomato seed starts to absorb water it must start to breathe. That requirement is one of the first hurdles that we need to overcome. Providing a growing medium that provides both air and water in the right balance is one of the keys to successful seed gardening. Every garden centre will be happy to sell you a bag of light soilless mix designed to make a good germinating medium.

Buy it and use it.

germinating seeds Time to Get Wet
When you plant your seeds you will want to get the soil to the optimum moisture level. My favourite technique is to stand each seed tray in a saucer of water so that the soil can fully absorb it. By letting it soak up from the bottom, the seeds do not get disturbed by any stream of water hitting the soil. The soil will also only fill up its smaller water spaces leaving the larger air spaces filled with air. The trick now is to maintain that optimum water level.

A seed that has begun to germinate and then is allowed to dry out, is dead.

Just Got To Stay Wet
Water exposed to the air, as on the surface of a tray of damp soil, will naturally evaporate. This process leaves the seeds quickly drying out. Applying additional water on a regular basis is a solution but not the best one. Covering the seed tray in some manner to prevent the evaporation is a far better answer. The covering should be clear to allow light to enter and it should be far enough above the soil line so that the emerging seedlings do not bump against it. About 1 in /2cm seems to be a good height.

Cheap Containers
There are lots of commercial clear plastic seed flat covers available or if you are cheap like me then you discover the top half of many food packaging containers will do quite nicely on smaller seed flats. Those seed flats can often be guaranteed to fit if you simply use the bottom of those same containers and punch enough holes in the bottom to ensure good drainage. Reuse! Recycle!

Nobody cares what they look like as long as the seeds grow in them.

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Dallying In The Dirt

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