After Weed Seeds Sprout What To Do

I’ve had many seed starting successes and failures. In this post, I share 10 steps to help you create the ideal growing environment for your seedlings. Seed Starting, Part 2: What To Do After Germination Check out our latest tutorial video below about what to do with your seeds after they have started to germinate (when they’ve started to grow). After Weed Seeds Sprout What To Do I hope you have had some success in getting your seeds to sprout! Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the cover. When the seedlings are young, you may want to

How to Care for Your Indoor Seedlings after Germination

Hi, I’m Julia from Mono, Ontario, Canada. I began my gardening adventure after having children. Since then, my interest grew into a passion. I love growing vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit and medicinal herbs. I’m here to show you that growing your own food is not difficult and in fact can be simple.

DIY | Gardening Tips | Resources | Seed Starting

You’ve sown your first indoor seeds, set them in a bright and sunny location and they finally germinated!

What a feeling it is to witness a baby seedling unfold from a tiny seed! The cycle of life is mysterious and magical. It always amazes and excites me to witness tiny green shoots emerge from newly planted soil.

This is something that never grows old.

But what to do next? How do you care for these fragile and delicate seedlings, so they may grow into healthy transplants, ready for outdoor transplanting?

Many people have trouble with this next stage of a seedling’s life. Although seed germination often seems like the most difficult part of seed starting, and this is often witnessed when certain seeds refuse to germinate, it is caring for the baby seedlings that is actually more challenging.

By following a few simple techniques, your seedlings should have no trouble transitioning from newly sprouted to hardy enough for transplanting outdoors.

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Follow these 10 steps to provide your indoor seedlings with the ideal growing conditions:

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Whether you’re a novice seed starter or a seasoned expert, you’ve probably had a few seed starting failures in your experience. If it is one or two seedlings, or an entire variety, I seem to lose a number of seedlings each year. However, this is not always the gardener’s fault, some varieties are touchier than others. By providing your seedlings with the optimal growing environment, it will help them to grow healthy and strong.

The following 10 steps will provide your indoor seedlings with the ideal growing conditions:

    Full sun for a minimum of 15 hours – Seedlings require a minimum of 15 hours of direct sunlight in order to grow strong and healthy. However, early seed starting takes place in the winter, when daylight hours are shorter than 10-11 hours per day. For our seedlings to have enough sunlight to grow successfully, we either need to supplement with artificial lighting hung 2-inches above the plants, or wait until the days are long enough to obtain sufficient light from a sunny window or greenhouse. Insufficient light is evident in plants when they grow long, thin and lanky, leaning towards a light source. These seedlings usually have a difficult time transitioning to the outside environment, due their delicate and fragile nature and succumb to the slightest environmental changes, such as too much water, wind and pests.

Seedlings require a minimum of 15 hours of direct light.

Pepper seedlings growing in 1-inch cell packs (left), compared to 4-inch pots (right). Be sure to pot them on before the first true leaves develop, in order to allow them to grow and expand.

Label all your seedlings.

There’s nothing line the taste of homegrown veggies!

These 10 steps will arm you with what you need to maintain and grow the healthiest seedlings. We all have failures and some can’t be explained. That’s ok. If you have enough variety, you should have enough seedlings to balance out the ones that didn’t make it. Just keep trying each year and don’t give up. With trial and error comes experience, and experience leads to confidence. In the end, you will be rewarded with the most delicious homegrown vegetables.

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Seed Starting, Part 2: What To Do After Germination

Check out our latest tutorial video below about what to do with your seeds after they have started to germinate (when they’ve started to grow). Then keep scrolling for some tips and links to help you out! If you missed the first video on How to Successfully Start Seeds, be sure to check that out first, as it will get you started on growing a great garden – whatever your skill level.

>> Download: When to Start Seeds Indoors

We also have for you an easy-to-follow written guide on when to start what.

1. Light

Your seedlings will need light, but they also need periods of rest (darkness) too. A good rule of thumb is to turn the grow lamps off when you go to sleep, and turn them on when you wake up (or use a timer). Read all about different types of grow lights here.

Seedlings need blue night and red light. Sunlight includes both. Red light stimulates the growth of leaves and flowers. Blue light regulates the growth/size of plants.

Don’t use incandescent light, use fluorescent. Full spectrum bulbs include both red and the blue light, or you could use one warm (red) light and one cool (blue) light.

The grow lamp should be about 2-4 inches above the seedlings, so adjustable lights are helpful. You can find the Tabletop Garden Starter® Grow Light Kit shown in the video (and in the photo above) from Gardener’s Supply.

Be sure you clean the lightbulbs, as dust and dirt can cut down on the amount of light emitted.

Hold your hand above the seedlings. If it feels warm, the light is too close.

2. Water

Water from below, not above, to ensure that you don’t squash the seedlings. Make sure your seedlings aren’t sitting in water, or you’ll have issues with rotting, fungus, and soil gnats.

Your seedlings might need to be watered if:

  • The soil looks lighter
  • The soil pulls away from the edge of the cell

Self-watering seed starting kits use capillary mats, but be sure to check the water levels on those as well.

3. Food

Seedlings need food when they get their “true leaves.” The first leaves that come up are typically embryonic leaves from the cotyledon (part of the seed) so look for the second (“true”) leaves to appear before you start fertilizing. Use fertilizer at a weaker strength than you would for full-sized plants.

There are several different options for how to fertilize your seedlings. The ones shown in the video are Sustane Compost Tea Bags and Alaska Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1 Concentrate 1 Quart

4. Airflow

Your seedlings will be healthier and more sturdy if air is flowing above and around them. A fan can be used – we recommend putting it on a timer, just like your grow lights.

5. Room to Grow

Most people put more seeds than are needed in each cell, so you’ll need to either (carefully) pull out the weaker ones from each cell, leaving one healthy one, or cut them off at the base. Monica demonstrates both methods in the video.

Be sure to check your seed packet to see how long it should take your seeds to germinate. If no seedling has appeared by a few days later than expected, sow some new seeds.

6. A Bigger Pot (optional)

It’s not needed, but if you’re not moving your seedlings into a garden for several weeks, you might want to transfer them to a larger container. If your plant is about two times the size of the container it’s in, or you can start to see roots below the cell, you might want to move it to give it more room to develop, access to more nutrients and more moisture, and the roots will have more space to grow. A 3 to 4″ pot should work well.

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If you’re reusing pots, be sure you wash them well before you use them.

You can also use Eco-friendly Seed-starter Cowpots, which you eventually plant into the ground, adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil.

Use a potting mix (such as the Organic Potting Mix, 20 Qts. from Gardener’s Supply) when you transplant your seedlings. Make sure that it is adequately moist – if you grab a handful and squeeze it, it should hold together, but if you move your hand, it should fall apart (see the video at about the 23 minute mark for a demonstration of this).

When transplanting, never grab a seedling by the stem, or you could damage or kill the plant. It’s better to try to push it up from the bottom of the cell, and try to take it out in one piece.

After transplanting, be sure to still water your seedling from below.

Important note: when you do move your seedlings outside, you need to do something called “hardening off,” which is slowly exposing them to the conditions they will encounter in your garden.

7. Label

Be sure to label your seedlings so you know what they are!

Ones shown in the video include ones similar to these seed markers. The garden stakes from Botanical Interests are currently sold out. One of our YouTube viewers also suggested using venetian blinds as labels. We thought that was a great idea!

What are you growing from seed this spring? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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Disclaimer – All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

Please note that the Amazon and Gardener’s Supply links (and only the Amazon and Gardener’s Supply links) above are affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase products through these links, GPReview will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps to support this website and our gardening product reviews. Thank you!

About The Author

Sarah, originally from Wisconsin, prefers to be outdoors whenever possible. She has been known to high-five trees on hikes, tests the limits of her balance on kayaks, and is re-discovering a love of cycling. She works behind-the-scenes at the Gardening Products Review, located in sunny Tucson, Arizona.

After Weed Seeds Sprout What To Do

I hope you have had some success in getting your seeds to sprout!
Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the cover. When the seedlings are young, you may want to re-cover them for a few hours a day to keep them from drying out.
Over many years of growing my own plants, one thing that really helped me out was using a turkey baster to water the young seedlings. I found I had better control over the amount of water I gave them, as opposed to using a watering can. I often would use a spray bottle filled with water, however, in many instances, the young seedlings would be bowled over with the spray. Always use warm water, NOT cool.
This is also the time to start fertilizing. Use a water soluble fertilizer such as a 10-52-10. Add fertilizer to tepid water, as directed, and fertilize about every third watering. A high middle number (phosphorous) will encourage a good root system; a high first number (nitrogen) will encourage too much leaf growth and the third number (potassium) will allow for better uptake of food and water from the soil and is good for the over-all health of the plant. At this point, don’t over-fertilize and don’t over-water.
Put the seedlings as close to your light source as possible to prevent the seedlings from “stretching”. If you are using Fluorescent lights, keep your lights on for about 15 – 16 hours a day. If you have them in a sunny spot in the house, make sure they don’t dry out from the heat of the sun. You will also have to turn them every few days to encourage the stems to grow straight and prevent stretching.
Once the seedlings appear to be over-crowded, or have developed their second set of leaves, it is time to separate them and transplant them into little containers of their own, (about 1 ½” – 2”) large. Pick the plants up by the leaves, not the stem or roots when you are transplanting. Make sure the containers you are using have holes for good drainage. Peat pots are excellent ones to use as they allow the water to pass through and you won’t have to remove your plant when planting out into the soil as the peat pot will break down in the moist soil. If you transplant seedlings into a container that is too large, you won’t see much new top-growth, however, the plant will be busy growing roots to fill the container. At this point, you may want to switch to an all-purpose fertilizer (20-20-20). I like using a very weak strength of fertilizer with every watering.
Almost all seedlings will grow into better, bushier plants if you pinch off their top growth after they’ve grown their second or third set of leaves. Never pinch tuberous begonia or celosia. As the seedlings grow, you may want to transplant them again into a container that is a little larger. You may also want to add some soil to your soil-less mix to train the roots to work their way through soil. They will have a better time once they are finally planted into the garden. You will then have some healthy, large plants to transplant outside once the weather warms (usually around May 24th).
As your seedlings grow, use a fan on them for a few hours a day to stress them a little. Also, allow them to dry out a bit by missing a watering and a fertilizing once a week and put them in a cool spot at night. Your plants will be a lot stronger and more able to survive better on their own outside.
Always harden off your plants before planting them outside by gradually getting them used to the conditions in which they are going to grow. A plant that has been pampered with a lot of water, fertilizer heat and humidity will grow lush, green, tender foliage but will be the first to go into shock and keel over in our Manitoba sun and wind. Always put your tender plants into a shady, sheltered spot for the first couple of days and then gradually introduce them out into the wind and sun. If your plants become withered or start showing signs of too much sun (white leaves), give them a good watering and put them back into the sheltered shade. Your plants will soon become used to the conditions and be less likely to succumb to the harsh conditions of the outside. A good rule to follow when planting is to plant your sun plants out first and then your shade plants. Usually the shade plants are more tender and planting out too early (impatiens or begonia) will set them back or you may lose them if the nights dip down to below 10 degrees.
Many plants such as petunias, verbena, alyssum, dianthus, foxglove (foxy), snapdragons, gazanias, centaurea (batchelor button), rudbeckia (gloriosa daisy), sweet peas, chrysanthemum, cosmos and pansies can take a little cold and frost, but, be prepared to cover them if the risk of frost occurs soon after planting out. Use newspaper, cardboard or sheets to cover. Never use plastic as this draws the cold.
About a week after your plants have been planted outside, give them a good fertilizing (like a Miracle Gro 15-30-15 for all your blooming plants and an all-purpost 20-20-20) for all your leafy plants. Continue to do so, according to directions, throughout the summer and you will have strong, healthy plants right through the season.
Stay tuned for some more planting tips and tricks!

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