To Wet

Seed needs to be damp, not wet, for germination. Excess water prevents oxygen getting to the seed. Poorly drained soils may also have a high incidence of soil fungus diseases.

The condition of wet soils can be improved with the addition of peat and compost and by raising the beds above the surrounding levels. To improve the germination of seeds, sow them in Horti Seed & Potting Mix.

Too Dry

A certain amount of water is essential for germination, so maintaining constant moisture during the germination period is vital. Cover containers with glass or paper to prevent drying.

Too Cold

Cold temperatures result in slow, uneven germination; disease becomes prevalent and seedlings may be injured. Each species has a different optimum temperature for germination.

Too Hot

High temperatures result in excessive drying and injury to seedlings.

Planting Too Deep

This will result in delayed emergence. Seeds may not be able to grow sufficiently to reach the surface on the limited food reserve within the seed. Soil temperature is also lower with depth. As a guide, sow seed to a depth equal to twice the thickness of the seed. Very fine flower seed, e.g. begonia, petunia, is best just pressed into the surface. In dry weather, seed can be planted a little deeper as the surface may dry out.

Planting Seeds to Shallow

This could cause them to dry out.

Seed Beds Too Loose

This results in too much air surrounding the seeds:  they will not absorb moisture and are likely to dry out.

Seed Beds Too Firm

This prevents oxygen getting to the seed. Drainage is also impeded.

Presence of soil Fungus Diseases

Seeds may rot or seedlings topple. Over watering, poor drainage and lack of ventilation will increase the incidence. Sow seeds in sterilized seed raising mix and ensure containers are clean. Plan a rotation of crops to prevent the build up of soil diseases (leaf crops followed by root crops etc.). Sterilizing the soil with Captan Fungicide will clean up badly diseased soil and should be used in small gardens where crop rotation is difficult.

Slugs and Snails

During wet season, slugs and snails may destroy seedling as soon as they appear. Bait areas with Horti Snail & Slug Killer every 2 –3 weeks.

Birds, Cats, Dogs, Insects

These are often responsible for destroying seed and seedlings. Cover seed beds with a fine-meshed netting.

Seeds can be damaged or eaten by insects, e.g. earwigs. Prevent by sowing seed with Horti Anti Ant Duster.

Fertiliser Burn

 Seed in direct contract with fertiliser can be burnt. Fertiliser should be worked into soil several weeks before sowing seed, or placed in a band below or beside the seed. Seedlings in the presence of high soluble salts are also more prone to ‘damping off’ diseases.

Seed Viability and Storage

Always use fresh seed. Some seeds such as lettuce have a short life once the foil packet is opened. Seed deteriorates quickly if stored in a damp place, or exposed to high temperatures. Always treat and handle seed with care to prolong its life. As a general guide, once the foil sachet has been opened the seed should be used within 3 months.

Seedlings raised indoors should be gradually exposed to sunlight before they transplanting. Seedlings should be placed outside during the day and brought inside at night. After a week or two of conditioning or ‘hardening’ seedling to more sunlight, they will be ready to transplant in the garden.

When the seedlings is large enough, do transplant in garden soil with minimum root disturbance and transplanting shock.

Pay special attention to seedlings over the first few days and make sure they have adequate water. Do not wait for them to wilt! If necessary shade from intense heat in the middle of the day and protect from strong winds until well established.