Seed Starting Time

Sure, there may have been a snowstorm here in Montreal just last week, but hey, it’s mid-April, and the snow has melted. One’s thoughts turn naturally to seeds, seedlings, and gardens…well, at least, mine do. I did start some seeds not too long ago, and some of them have sprouted! So, here are some photos for all of you. These will hopefully serve as a source of inspiration, or, if you’re new to starting seeds and are having trouble identifying your baby plants, these could help you with that, as well.

Note: I did sow my seeds more thickly than usually, since all are at least 2 years old, and thus, will have a lower germination rate.

seed-starting setup

I used a commercial seed starting mix here, and bottom heat

These look similar to oregano and marjoram seedlings.

Bergamot seedlings (these look similar to those of oregano and marjoram)

These seeds are obviously still viable!

Tomato seedlings (these seeds are obviously still viable!)

Cucumber seedlings look like this as well.

Top- Borage seedlings (those of cucumber look like this as well) Bottom- Marjoram

Basil seedlings


From Seeds to Seedlings: Some Tips

Though one can just stick one’s seeds into soil and wait for them to sprout, here are a few tips to help you maximize your success:

  1. Use fresh seeds- Though seed viability is different for every plant, and also depends on how the seeds are stored, most seeds maintain their vigor for only about 3 years
  2. Use a sterile seed starting mix– Whether you buy a commercial seed starting mix or mix one up yourself, using a sterile mix (as in, don’t use dirt from your yard or potting soil you’ve already used) will help you to avoid problems with pests and disease.
  3. Maintain consistent moisture-  Make sure your seed starting mix stays moist, so that seeds are able to sprout. This can be achieved by covering your seed-starting mix with a plastic dome, and/or by misting it with water.
  4. Place your flats in a warm place- Most seeds sprout faster when held at a higher temperature, and this is especially true of certain heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes and peppers
  5. Provide sufficient light- Though most seeds don’t need light in order to sprout, your seedlings will need light to grow into strong plants.

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