Generally speaking, it is about now that we can begin to gather our equipment and start planting seeds for the growing season. The most important thing to do is to make sure to follow the packet guidelines to help ensure that you know how exactly each individual seed likes to be raised. A good example of this is geranium seeds. Geranium seeds have a hard coat on them and need to be scuffed up a bit in order for the new plant to emerge.
There are a few things to consider as you get going with this fun project. Remember to use soil that is meant for starting seeds. This is because using soil that is not sterile will cause a disease called damping off. This will kill your seedlings by rotting them at the base of the seedling where it meets the soil. The next important part of starting seeds is to have enough light and warmth. If you have seeds and potting soil at home already but are waiting out the virus, then you can certainly feel like you can get creative with starting the seeds using what you have.
If you are not sure that your potting soil is sterile or at the very most, have concerns about it, you can sterilize it at home by placing the soil on a cookie sheet, then place into a 250 degree oven for about an hour. This will not harm all of the good things that are in soil but will help to take care of any fungus problems that might be lurking in the soil. You can also use just about anything to start seeds but the most easiest choice is to use an egg carton. It doesn’t matter if it is a Styrofoam one or a cardboard one. They will both work great. You can make your own greenhouse to place the cartons in by using a plastic bag. Place the egg carton into the bag and lightly close the bag to help retain moisture for the seeds. Generally speaking, most seeds will come up within a week but there are a few seeds out there that will take a very long time.
If you have a lot of seeds and don’t need them, you can certainly start them and then pass them along to a neighbor who also likes to garden. This is a great way to stay connected to your community especially during these times. Remember that sometimes when you have never started seeds before, that even for the most seasoned gardener, you will find that seeds are often stubborn and sometimes it doesn’t work out. I, too, have had times when I have had a lot of seeds started and then when I went to plant them outside, they have not made it. It is just one of those things.
If you would like to watch some great videos on the subject, please go to the U of M Extension website at https://blog-yard-garden-news.extension.umn.edu/2020/04/new-videos-seed-starting-inspiration.html. For more information on becoming a Master Gardener, please go to the U of M Extension website. If you should have any questions regarding gardening, please email me at email@example.com