The Q&A Archives: Seed Starting

Question: This seed starting season and I would like to try starting the seeds in cell paks instead of starting them in seed trays and having to transplant to cell paks later. I have never tried this method and I am a bit uneasy about the success rate. I'm just trying to save a step. What do you think?

Answer: There are several advantages to starting seeds in flats or trays as opposed to single cells or individual pots. Seeds and seedlings require very little space to germinate and get growing, so you can sow lots of seeds in a small space without too much concern about how closely those seeds are sown. As the seedlings grow they will require more room and that's when they should be transplanted. Since you probably won't have 100 percent germination, you may have some empty cells if you sow the seeds directly in cells. Another consideration is the potting soil. Seed starting mix is generally used to germinate seeds and potting soil is usually the next step. Seed starting mix has a finer texture and distributes moisture more evenly than potting soil. Because of the fine texture, brand new roots can more easily penetrate seed starting mix. Potting soil provides more air space to roots which is important a little later in their development. On the other hand, commercial greenhouses sometimes start seeds in cell paks, usually with good results. So, now that you know both sides of the story why not experiment on your own and see what your success rate is?

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