How Long to Leave the Lid on Seed Starter Trays
Growing plants from seed is an inexpensive way to add variety into your garden. Buying small plants is easier, but finite space limits the variety of plants in nurseries compared to what is available on the seed rack. Soil, a small container, light, warmth and moisture are the necessary ingredients to start seeds. Moisture is the most difficult ingredient to keep correct, and the seed tray lid makes it easier to control it.
Gardener’s Supply Company notes that one purpose of the seed tray lid is to keep the moisture in the starter soil from evaporating. A lid keeps the moisture level constant and reduces the need for additional watering until it is removed. The seed benefits from not being accidentally overwatered, and it remains undisturbed at the correct depth in the soil. Even trays that absorb water from the bottom benefit from a lid so the surface doesn’t dry out and harden.
Wait for germination of the seeds to remove the lid from the seed starter tray. When the seed breaks open and the root emerges, germination has begun. This step is hidden from view, but shortly afterward the shoot emerges and grows upwards, breaking through the top layer of soil. The new plant sprouting from the soil surface is visible confirmation of germination, and it is time to remove the lid, according to Burpee.
One condition that might require leaving the lid in place longer is if the humidity of the indoor air is below 50 percent. In this case, seedlings may benefit from merely propping the lid open at germination rather than removing it completely. Airflow becomes necessary to inhibit the growth of fungus on the soil surface, but until the sprouts have leaves to aid respiration, the trapped air under the lid can help retain the humidity.
A second use for the lid can be found when acclimating the young plants to the outdoors. While taking the seedlings outside for just a few hours and then bringing them back in at night, a propped open lid can expose the young plants to the air and temperature yet protect them from the wind. Harden the plants this way in stages of longer periods of time outdoors, eventually leaving the lid off completely.
How Long to Leave the Lid on Seed Starter Trays. Growing plants from seed is an inexpensive way to add variety into your garden. Buying small plants is easier, but finite space limits the variety of plants in nurseries compared to what is available on the seed rack. Soil, a small container, light, warmth and moisture …