Hayefield Seed-Starters’ Library

One of my favorite things about growing from seed is that there’s always something to learn: new techniques to experiment with, new seeds to sow, and new tweaks to try to improve old routines. Each of us has to develop an approach that works for our particular conditions, and seeds are living things, so there is no one set of steps that is guaranteed to work in every place or for every kind of seed.

I realize that can be frustrating for folks who want to be able to sow X amount of Seed A in Container B and Medium C and Place D and get X number of seedlings in Y number of days. In my experience, it just doesn’t work that way in a home setting, except maybe for the very easiest seeds. Fortunately, most of us learn patience, humility, adaptability, and acceptance of unpredictability early in our gardening life, and drawing on those lessons helps to make seed-sowing a joyful and rewarding experience overall even if not everything works out as we expect.

To that end, I’ve decided to explain how I currently handle the growing-from-seed process here at Hayefield, based on over 3 decades of my seed-sowing experiences. Some things may be a bit advanced if you are completely new to starting seeds or too basic if you too have been growing from seed for many years. Still, I think we can all learn something from each other, so I hope you find something of use here whatever your level of experience. These pages are a big and on-going project, so I’ll be updating the entries and adding topics, details, and photos as time allows. If you have questions on anything I’ve written here or have seed-related topics you’d like me to address, please feel free to email me at nan@hayefield.com.

New Seeds — Now What?  How to handle seeds between arrival and sowing time [Added April 16, 2021]

Getting Ready to Sow  Deciding when to plant, and gathering your supplies [Added April 16, 2021]

Sowing Seeds in the Ground Sometimes you can skip the whole indoor process and get your seeds going right in the garden (sounds easy, but it can be fraught with peril for special seeds!) [Added April 16, 2021]

Sowing Seeds in Pots  The usual way I start seeds here at Hayefield, whether they need to germinate in warm or cold conditions [Added April 16, 2021]

Alternatives to Sowing in Pots  I prefer to use plastic pots for seeds but have tried a variety of other options over the years, including paper towels and milk jugs; here are my opinions [Added April 22, 2021]

Let’s Get Sprouting!  That magical time between sowing and germination (coming soon)

Potting Up Seedlings  Unless you sow one seed per pot, you’ll probably need to separate your seedlings and grow them on a bit longer before planting them outdoors (coming soon)

Trouble-Shooting Seed Issues  Trying to figure out what went wrong so you can succeed the next time! (coming soon)

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