Growing plants from seeds is super easy and fun as well. The joy of watching the seeds you sow grow into nice healthy plants is something which cannot be explained but has to be experienced.
Starting your plants from seeds in Bangalore is even more easy as the weather in Bangalore is very versatile. Almost any seed can be successfully germinated in Bangalore right from Strawberry seeds to even Zucchini seeds !
In this article, I will guide you step by step on how to grow plants from seeds.
All you need are seeds that you want to grow, a container, potting media and water. The best way to grow your plants is to start the seeds indoors or in a setup similar to a greenhouse. If this is not possible, you can always grow them directly in the ground or outdoors. The reason that it is better to start them indoors, is to ensure better percentage of germination as the seeds will be more protected than the outside in terms of environmental conditions.
Here are the steps to grow healthy plants from seeds -
1) The first and most important thing is the health of the seeds you want to germinate. Buy your seeds from a known vendor or through a credible and reliable source. This will ensure that the seeds are healthy and the percentage of germination is more.
2) You can use any type of container with a proper drainage system to germinate your seeds. Initially you can sow them in small containers or seedling trays. Any containers available at home can be used. You can germinate seeds successfully in egg cartons, egg shells, lemon rinds, tissue rolls, plastic takeaway containers, plastic juice cups and so on. Just make sure the plastic containers have good drainage holes.
If you do not have access to space, you can plant the seeds directly into the ground. This method may require a longer time for the seeds to germinate. Also the germination percentage might be lesser as the environmental conditions will be harsher.
3) Potting media is one of the most important aspects of growing plants from seeds. It provides nutrients and moisture to the seeds. Fill the container with your potting mix. A potting mix with 3 parts compost, 2 parts cocopeat and 1 part soil can be used to germinate the seeds. If you use only soil to germinate the seeds, it will get lumpy and hard and the seeds will not have breathing space. Cocopeat and compost ensures that the soil remains moist and light and airy.
4) Sow the seeds into the soil. The depth of the seed in the soil is proportional to the size of the seed. In general, seeds should be planted at a depth twice their width, or diameter. This means larger seeds have to be sowed deeper into the soil and smaller seeds can be sown with just a thin layer of soil on top. Ensure that there is enough spacing between your seeds depending on the type of plant you are sowing. If you overcrowd the seeds, they will not germinate properly.
5) Cover the container with light shade. You can cover the container with a thin layer of newspaper or tissue paper. This prevents direct sunlight from reaching the seeds.
6) Watering is the next important step. The soil should be completely moist. If the soil dries out at any time during the germination of the seed, for a long period of time, the seed might not germinate properly or it might die. Ensure that the soil is moist at all stages of germination (not wet).
7) The ideal temperature for starting seeds is between 20-25 degree Celsius. Place your containers in a warm spot where they will receive bright indirect sunlight.
8) You can cover the top of your containers with a cling film and poke some holes on it to allow aeration. This increases the humidity and helps the germination process. You can remove the cling film when the first two green leaves or seed leaves have germinated.
9) Generally the seedlings can be transplanted when they have three to four true leaves. But if you feel the plant is too thin and too small, you can wait a bit longer to transplant them. During the transplantation make sure that you handle the seedling very carefully as they are quite fragile. Damage to the roots while transplantation will harm the plant. The roots along with the soil has to be transplanted into the bigger sized pot. Some seeds only take 3–4 weeks to mature while others can take up to 6 months.
Keep an eye on your seedling just after transplantation. They might need some time to get adjusted to the new soil environment. Place the bigger container in the same place where the seeds germinated. If you place them outdoors immediately the external conditions might be too much for the plant to handle. They will need to get adjusted to the soil first and then to the outside environment. This process is called hardening.
After this step your plants will be healthy and ready to tackle the different conditions. A healthy plant will not be attacked by pests very easily. They will also produce a large amount of flowers and fruits.
10) The last step is to be patient. Some seeds require a long period of time to germinate. Others may germinate within 2–3 days. Check your seeds every day and make sure the soil does not dry out. Take pictures of your seeds at every stage of development. Trust me it feels pretty amazing to look at the pictures all together and see how far your seeds have come. Growing plants from seeds is fun and easy. It is also very rewarding and satisfying when you see your plants thrive.
Here is a list of some of the plants which are native to Bangalore that can be grown from seeds-
Tulsi, Ashwagandha, Basil, Bhringaraj, Butterfly milkweed, Culentro, Garlic chives, Marigold, Naagadaali, Shankapushpi are some herbs and flowering plants that can easily be grown from seeds.
Almost all vegetables and greens like Tomato, Brinjal, Capsicum, Chilli, Radish, Carrot, Knol khol, Onion, Spinach, Coriander, Amaranth, Fenugreek, Dill and so on can be very easily grown from seeds in Bangalore.
Saving and storing your seeds
All seeds have a certain period of viability, which means after this period their germination is affected. There are two types of seeds, short-lived seeds and long-lived seeds. That is, some seeds can be saved for a period of a few months, but some seeds can be saved for years to come. The seeds have to be stored under proper conditions. If they are not stored correctly, they will not be viable. For example, seeds of Lotus can be germinated even after 400 years, Tomato seeds are viable for 4 to 6 years, Sunflower seeds are viable for 12 months.
The seeds which you want to store have to be mature and healthy. If the seeds have a pest attack, then they will not be viable.
First the seeds have to be dried completely. Any amount of moisture will spoil the seeds and fungal infection can be seen. So dry your seeds for 3-4 days till they are free from moisture.
These dried seeds have to be stored in air-tight containers. An air-tight glass container is preferable. They can also be stored in zip lock covers. If you want to store the seeds for a long period, then paper covers should not be used, as they will absorb moisture and the seeds might get spoilt.
The seeds should be stored under low temperatures and in a dry, cool area free of moisture and places with less humidity.
All the seeds planted will not germinate. A germination percentage of 80 is considered good. As the seed ages the germination percentage will decrease.
Common Mistakes with Seed planting
The most common mistakes which might occur, and for which you need to keep an eye out for, is watering. Water is crucial for the seeds to germinate. If the soil dries out, your seeds will die. The seed depth in the soil is also an important factor. If the seeds are sown too deep, they will not receive the required light and they will not germinate. At the same time, they also need to be sown deep enough. As a rule of thumb, you can plant your seeds at a depth twice their width, or diameter.
What does a seed need to grow into a healthy plant?
The main factors are water, light, temperature and soil for your seed to grow into a healthy plant.
How frequently should you water? How much should you water the seeds?
Initially you should water the soil till it is completely soaked. During the later days you can spray or mist the surface of the soil so that at any given point of time, the soil is moist. Though overwatering and soggy soil might cause fungal infection of the seeds.
How do I prepare my soil for planting?
The soil needs to be rich and loose. The seeds need breathing space, so get a good potting mix or make your own potting mix by feeling the soil as you mix in the cocopeat and compost.
Do plants need to be exposed to direct sunlight?
Some plants need direct sunlight like flowering plants and vegetables.
Which plants can grow in poor light conditions?
Shade plants and indoor plants can grow well in indirect sun or partial shade areas.
Does container size affect plant growth?
Yes. It is better to repot the plants into a bigger pot once they have reached a certain height as there will not be enough space for the roots to grow after a certain amount of time in the same container. If there is more space, then the plant can grow bigger.
Can I just use a potting mix?
There are seed starting potting mix which can be used to germinate your seeds.
Get Help From An Expert
Want some help with sowing seeds ? Get in touch with us at https://www.urbanmali.com/ or call us at 918880482000 for any queries. We can help you take care of your plants.