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Happy Hobby: growing tropicals from seeds
"Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower."(John Harrigan.)
Q: Our growing season is very short so I decided to start some of tropicals from seed indoors. When should I start?
A: It is always a good time to start from seed. If you want to feel happier, get into gardening. If you want to feel God, start plants from seeds and watch New Life grow from a tiny grain.
Traditionally, people prefer sowing seeds in Spring, especially temperate species for vegetable garden: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers... My grandmother up North started them in early Spring in small pots on a windowsill, then once the temperatures raised just above freezing, she planted them out in garden beds, and that early start always helped her to have the best early harvest in the neighborhood.
When we deal with tropical plants, "just above freezing" is not warm enough. Which means, you have to grow small babies indoors for quite a while, providing additional heating when needed. Heating pads always work best... When we had large size monitors and TV's, I always put couple trays on top of hot monitors, and even on warm top of a refrigerator, if space by the radiator was all taken. But that was in very cold apartment...
If you keep your living space around 75F (ideal for many species), this is a perfect temperature to get your seeds started. Tropical plants are not like annual tomatoes that try to grow through the season as fast as possible. They may take time. So the sooner you start, the more chances to get small seedlings just in time when Spring air outside is warm enough - at least in 70's.
A great advantage of starting tropical seeds indoors is controlled temperature and moisture. In the plant world, environment extremes are not good for germination process. Mild conditions of your home or a greenhouse create better chances for successful growth. Seeds won't get overheated in hot Summer sun, and won't get rotten because of a sudden heavy rain. Just keep in mind that some species require light for good germination.
Conditions for the best seed germination:
- Soak seeds for a few hours. Adding a few drops of Sunshine Seed Germination booster is very beneficial and improves germination rate by 30-50%
- Well-drained mix, you may use our Professional Seed Germination Mix. Put seeds not too deep (1/2 inch deep or less) to allow air circulation
- Keep warm (75-85F) and in bright light
- Keep soil slightly moist but not soggy.
Check out our seeds selection.