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Starting Seed with Peat Pellets

Project Overview

Starting Seed with Peat Pellets

Starting seeds indoors is not difficult; rather it is easy and fun to do if you follow six easy steps.

6 Steps

  1. Introduction
  2. Confirming Your Seeds Should Start Indoors
  3. How to Prepare the Peat Pellet
  4. Seed Germination
  5. Feeding Seedlings
  1. Hardening Off Seedlings
Show all steps »
Introduction

Step 1

Introduction

By using peat based plant-starting supplies (such as peat pots, peat pellets or compressed peat moss) the functions of pots, soil, warmth and even watering can be combined to make your planning and planting easier. Start in a warm location, such as the kitchen table, counter or a greenhouse. Make sure all of your supplies are within arms reach. Peat pellets are especially easy to use and are like little pots within themselves.

Confirming Your Seeds Should Start Indoors

Step 2

Confirming Your Seeds Should Start Indoors

While many seeds can be grown directly outdoors, there are varieties that should be given an early start indoors and transplanted to the garden after all danger of frost has passed. The number of weeks the seed should be started before the last frost date will be printed on the back flap of the seed packets. You can determine the approximate last frost date for your area using a Farmer's Almanac.

How to Prepare the Peat Pellet

Step 3

How to Prepare the Peat Pellet

Place pellets, circle side up, in a watertight tray, slowly add very warm water to the tray. The pellets will be soft and dark brown when fully expanded. Pour off any excess water.

Seed Germination

Step 4

Seed Germination

"Choose the McKenzie seed varieties you want to start indoors to get an early start. Follow planting directions on the seed packet for the correct depth to plant the seeds. Cover the seeded pellets with a Gro-Dome or some plastic wrap to conserve the moisture until germination. Set covered tray in a warm spot, or on a Heat Mat. When ½ of the pellets have signs of plant growth, REMOVE plastic cover (unplug the Heat Mat). Place the tray 6 to 8 inches under a fluorescent light fixture for best results. The light should be on 12-14 hours per day. If this is not possible, place the tray in front of a sunny window in a cool room to keep the seedlings short. Snip off all but the strongest seedling."

Feeding Seedlings

Step 5

Feeding Seedlings

Add additional water when the pellet tops appear light brown. Pour off or soak up any leftover water so the pellets are not sitting in water. Begin feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer as soon as the 3rd leaf begins. Follow the fertilizer package directions for seedlings. Water the plants regularly. Continue this until the weather is warm enough to set out in the garden.

Hardening Off Seedlings

Step 6

Hardening Off Seedlings

When danger of frost is past, harden the small plants by putting them in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors for a few hours a day and then expose them to sunlight for a few hours at a time for a couple of days. Continue this process for 2-3 days. After a couple of days set into the garden early in the morning. Water well and be sure the pellet is well below the soil line. Follow the seed packet directions on location, fertilizing and correct planting times for your area. For best results, set the plants in the garden on a cloudy morning to help plants acclimate to the new soil.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 1 hour

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

Materials

  • Growing Tray
  • McKenzie seeds
  • Peat pellets or soilless mix
  • Pots

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