5 Great Seed Starting How To Videos

| February 6, 2014 | 22 Comments
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How to start seeds? Watch these seed starting videos from the GardenFork video archive.

Cardboard Seed Starting Pots Video

Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

Our Super Easy Grow Light How To Video

Here’s how to build the grow light stand for your cheap grow lights:

Some Seed Starting Thoughts from Eric

  • Do Not Overwater Seedlings or seed starting trays.
  • Damp sponge consistency is good. Wet is not good.
  • Keep the grow lights right on top of the seedlings, they tops of the plants should be touching or almost touching the bulbs.
  • Keep the grow lights on 16 hours a day.

Not enough light and over-watering are the two biggest mistakes people make when seed starting. I don’t believe in using a window to start or grow seedlings, the weak light makes the plants leggy and weak, in my opinion.

5-great-seed-starting-how-to-videosIf you want to save money and avoid having more plastic pots around, consider using cardboard or newspaper seed starting pots. The videos above show how easy it is to make these.

I use coir as a seed starting medium, I avoid using peat moss, which isn’t the most renewable resource we have. We seem to have a ton of coconut shells and fiber around. With coconut water being the new cupcake and all…

I add vermiculite and perlite to the coir fiber to give it some air and drainage. Easy enough to buy this stuff in the local garden shop. The exact amount is not important, use what you got, but you want a majority of the seed starting mix to be coir.

Break down the coir bricks in warm water. It helps to break them up with a hammer or some sort of smashing type object. I tend to add too much water to the coir bricks, and end up draining off a lot of it.

What are your seed starting practices? Thoughts? Let us know below:

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Comments (22)

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  1. Jeanne Parlette says:

    I really do enjoy your show,a lot of very interesting information & this about the seedings is quite celver & a money saver for all but we really appericate & need it in the colder areas to get a head start.Your Bread shows are really great.

    We too have a Black Lab & I must say you have to love these dogs.Yours are so sweet & their so funny they make the world a better place to live in.

    Thank you.

  2. Janice Nowakowski says:

    Love your video’s. Love your dogs. Would love to see your wife on t.v. so I could place a face with her voice.

  3. Andrew says:

    “Peat” is not a renewable resource, but “Peat moss” is. “Peat” and “peat moss” are 2 separate things that you find in a peat bog. Peat is the sediment in the bottom of the bog that you can burn as a fuel (its a precursor to coal). Peat moss is the living plant (normally Sphagnum) that lives at the top which you use for growing seedlings and soil enhancement. Peat is primarily mined in Europe (in northern places where firewood is scarce), but peat moss is primarily harvested in Canada (with its Boreal forest has no need for peat the fuel) so buying / not buying peat moss at the store has no impact on peat mining.

    Peat Moss is harvested just like timber. It’s harvested once from the bog then given decades to regrow before harvesting again. Peat Moss is probably closer sourced to new england than where ever the tropical area was that your Coir cam from (probably the Philippines or Indonesia).

  4. Tommy Metts says:

    Hello, I enjoy the how to videos. My question is when should I start tapping my maple trees. The weather here in Michigan has been very cold, with day time highs in the high teens to mid twenties, and night time temps in the single digits. The weather will not be consistently in the forty’s until march.

  5. Tommy Metts says:

    Enjoy the how to videos. My question is when should I tap my maple trees? The temperature here in Michigan will not be consistently in the 40′s until next month. Thank you.

  6. Eric Gunnar Rochow says:

    i’d ask around your area to see if anyone taps trees nearby, they would know. thx! eric.

  7. stephen delaney says:

    Eric, have you done a video on the transference of seedlings to the garden? There must be some tips on surviving the shock to moving outdoors.

  8. Sara says:

    I’d love to do the self-watering method you use in your seed trays but I can’t find the trays with the wicking in the stores around here. Just the seed starting trays with the cells. Is there a household item or another material I could use to make my own wicking at home?

    Thanks for your fun and insightful videos and how-tos!

  9. Eric Gunnar Rochow says:

    another good idea, have to work on that one. i like to use fish emulsion – seaweed mix to reduce transplant shock. seems to work well for me. thx, eric.

  10. Eric Gunnar Rochow says:

    i’ve used t-shirt material for the water wicking, or try flannel. thanks! eric.

  11. Sara says:

    Thanks Eric. I might try fleece as I have a bunch of scrap material. I’ll let you know how it works out. Also, I saw on a website that someone used those automotive mats that soak up oil – if you already have those laying around – they can get expensive too.

  12. Rc says:

    Great grow light stand video. Gonna build one this weekend.

  13. Sara says:

    What temperature does your greenhouse (shed) have to be to start? I started them inside the house last year but I’d like to move it out in a room in our barn, which is unheated. I will have your “DIY growlights” and heat mats underneath the warmer plants (peppers and tomatoes).

  14. Linda says:

    Hi Eric: Really like those cardboard paper towel growing pots. I’ve been showing others how to make them. What did you do to your foot that you needed surg? Do you have a “Free cycle” or Earth Cycle or Swap Mamas.com? They have freebies sometimes or dirt cheap to use for frojects. Seedsavers.org; or seedsnow.com or Borganic are good web sites for free or cheap costs. We live in central iowa & the temps are STILL going down to 15 degrees & rising to 49 at times.We still have snow on the ground & ground has frozen far deeper than usuall the weatherman said.We’ve had 3x’s more road pipes freeze & sprinkler systems in town freeze & burst.Everyone tired of winter & dying to get outside & do yard/garden stuff!Keep up the good work, love the videos.I used to raise peacocks, but my male died, so we are done with raising them.It will be a lonely yr. without them.They were best buds with me.They debugged a yard very well – no need to ever spray.I love animals & they were very special.I enjoy watching your dogs romp.We had miniature shelties & several cats, but they all got old & had to be put down over the yrs.This will be our 1st yr. “pet free” in a long time.I plan to stay busy with gardening to keep my mind off it.Peacock Lady.

  15. Eric Gunnar Rochow says:

    thanks for the info on the freecycle, we have an informal emial list here that people will post stuff on. looking forward to spring myself! eric

  16. Julia says:

    This year, we’ve used the seed starting trays with the peat pellets as well as some Promix ultimate organic seed starting mix to start some other stuff with. (I’ve just read about coir, but wasn’t confident about using it for the first time this season, since the seeds needed starting and there’s little time to do research with a toddler to look after all day.) We were going to rig up some lights on S hooks and chains, but ended up just sliding some metal rods through the holes of our shelving unit and sort of balancing the fluorescent fixtures on those. Kind of haphazard, but so far so good. :-/

    We have a new pup–just turned one–after losing our old pups after having them both for 12 years. Our other fur babies never cared about the plants or went into the beds. This new girl is already digging and even jumping into our pots to dig with both front paws blazing. I don’t imagine there are any GardenFork videos about how to keep your pups from eating your crops or playing soccer with your toddler’s jack-be-littles and Yokohama squash?

    Love your site and work. Happy Spring from Western New York!

  17. Eric Gunnar Rochow says:

    Hi Julia, i use raised beds, and that keeps the dogs out of garden beds for the most part. thx! eric.

  18. Brian Renwick says:

    I love the styrafoam self watering propagation trays . I have several I’ve used for over 25 years . Planting them up has become a rite of Spring for me …..

  19. Thanks for the inspiration! I just blogged about my experiences so far and (what I think is) an improvement on the system. http://cowboyjunkey.blogspot.ca/2014/04/seed-starting-for-my-garden.html

  20. Megan & Brendan says:

    Hi, We found your videos on You Tube & we love them! We currently live in CA but we’re planning on moving back to New England in the next few yrs. Watching your videos makes us so itchy to move back a.s.a.p! We love how laid back you are & how you let mistakes be just a part of the process. When we watch your videos, we feel like we’re there with you, just hanging out, it’s awesome! We love the dogs & all the practical advice. When we move back, we hope we get to meet people as cool as you two are. :-)

    Keep it up!!
    Megan & Brendan

  21. Sandy Hurd says:

    I just started making raised beds last year. I did not realize I should have covered the beds with black plastic. I will definitely purchase the plastic and use it this fall. Love your videos, I am learning so much.

  22. Eric Gunnar Rochow says:

    thanks Sandy, i use the black plastic to keep the weeds down, and it helps to warm up the raised beds much faster in the spring. thx! eric.

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