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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.

SEE ALL THE STEPS

  •  There are 6 steps to completing this project:
    Step 1  INTRODUCTION
    Step 2  CONFIRMING YOUR SEEDS SHOULD START INDOORS
    Step 3  HOW TO PREPARE THE PEAT PELLET
    Step 4  SEED GERMINATION
    Step 5  FEEDING SEEDLINGS
    Step 6  HARDENING OFF SEEDLINGS
MATERIALS YOU WILL NEED

  • Growing Tray
    Seeds
    Peat Pellets or Soilless Mix
    Planters
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED

  • n/a

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 arm's reach. Peat pellets are especially easy to use and are like little pots within themselves.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


What You Need for This Project