The Q&A Archives: Seed Starting

Question: I will soon begin planting herb seeds. After planting these seeds, should I water them once a day or at some other frequency? Also, shold I plug up the drainage holes at the bottom of the planter when seeding?

Answer: Start by just moistening the seed starting mix and pressing it lightly into the pots or flats you're going to use. Then sow the seeds at the prescribed depth. Cover the trays or pots with plastic wrap to help hold in the moisture, and place them in a warm area, such as on top of the refrigerator. When the seeds sprout remove the plastic and place the trays or pots under a source of bright light. With the plastic in place you shouldn't have to water until the seedlings are up and growing. It's important to keep the soil moist, but not soggy wet. If it begins to pull away from the sides of the pots or trays, it's too dry. If it puddles or squishes when you press it, it's too wet. Don't plug up the holes or water won't be able to drain away. If soil remains too wet, the roots will rot. Wet soil can also encourage the fungal disease called damping-off which is fatal to seedlings. Be sure to provide good air circulation and water only when the top of the soil begins to dry out. Enjoy your harvest!

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