Your seedlings will need light, but they also need periods of rest (darkness) too. A good rule of thumb is to turn the grow lamps off when you go to sleep, and turn them on when you wake up (or use a timer). Read all about different types of grow lights here.
The grow lamp should be about 2-4 inches above the seedlings, so adjustable lights are helpful. You can find the Tabletop Garden Starter® Grow Light Kit shown in the video (and in the photo above) from Gardener’s Supply.
>> Download: When to Start Seeds Indoors
Check out our latest tutorial video below about what to do with your seeds after they have started to germinate (when they’ve started to grow). Then keep scrolling for some tips and links to help you out! If you missed the first video on How to Successfully Start Seeds, be sure to check that out first, as it will get you started on growing a great garden – whatever your skill level.
Your seedlings will be healthier and more sturdy if air is flowing above and around them. A fan can be used – we recommend putting it on a timer, just like your grow lights.
We also have for you an easy-to-follow written guide on when to start what.
If you plan in advance, you could try to start certain vegetables, herbs, and flowers in appropriate size containers. For example, we start most of our flowers, herbs and leafy greens in 6-packs, and the other bigger veggies in 4” pots. We have found that by doing this, the flowers and herbs are usually okay in their 6-pack until the time they need to go outside, and may not need to be potted up at all. Squash grow very quickly and don’t like their roots disturbed. Therefore, we start those straight in larger 6” pots to give them plenty of space. We start them only about 3-6 weeks before they’ll be planted outside, so we don’t need to pot them up at all.
By doing this, you are ensuring there are no air pockets and a nice amount of soil around the plant. Thus, it reduces the need to try to stuff soil in around it afterwards. Depending on the container or pot you’re working with, that can sometimes be difficult or awkward. It also reduces the jostling and possible shock to the plant being transplanted. Before we learned this trick, I don’t know how many times we accidentally overfilled containers and then had to pull or dig the plant back out to adjust the soil amount. If you’re working with a large, heavy plant, or one with a not-very-solid root ball, this can be a pain in the butt.
Type of plant
1. By potting up seedlings into larger containers, it enables their roots to continue to grow without getting root-bound. A root bound-plant is not a happy plant. When a plants roots are being restricted to the point that they start to grow in circles around themselves, they become tangled and “bound up”. This can reduce the roots ability to spread out and flourish after they’re planted out in the garden. Plant health is directly tied to root health, so this means the plants are also less likely to flourish.
I learned a fun little trick a few years ago, which is demonstrated in the video and photos below. It can be used for potting up seedlings, especially ones that you do not want to bury the stems of). However, we most often exercise this trick when we are planting bigger plants like shrubs or small trees in to pots. The idea is to make a dummy hole, or a placeholder for the root ball, inside the container that the plant is being transferred in to.
3. Lastly, the potting up process feeds the seedlings! If you started seeds in straight seedling mix, or a mix with primarily seedling soil like we do, chances are they’re hungry. Seedling soil is very fluffy and pretty devoid of nutrients. Even if you have been feeding with an occasional dilute seaweed extract, the plants will definitely enjoy a slighter richer, heartier soil now!