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Water is one of the crucial components when you’re starting plants from seeds. Too little of water, the seed will not germinate and much of it will drown the seed. Watering seedlings are a lot different and not as simple as watering matured plants. Extra care is needed as seedlings are very delicate and can easily be damaged or washed out. Water gently to prevent damping of the soil. Dampened soil will crate pathogens that can attack the seeds even before they germinate. Seeds need breathing space for them to grow and it will be difficult if the space they have are always filled with water. Actually, at this tender stage, seeds or seedlings just need to be well moistened and not literally “watered”.
There are three ways to provide water to your seed(ling)s.
The most popular way is watering them from the top. Seeds are usually placed an inch from the soil’s surface and this is where water is needed the most. The top part of the soil dries up quickly because they are very much exposed to air, allowing more evaporation to occur. The best tool to use is a spray bottle and a small watering can. Invest in a good spray bottle and get one with an adjustable nozzle. And remember, never use them for other purposes like for insecticides.
The second way is watering from the bottom also known as “wicking”. This is probably the easiest way, but it takes some time to completely moisten up the soil. In this process, a base tray is used with about a quarter full of water and having the seed container sit on it. Through the bottom hole of the seed container, water is soaked up into the soil mix. Keep just enough water on the tray to avoid growth of fungus or molds.
And the third way is making pre- moistened mix that you will be putting on the growing containers. Potting mixes or garden soil can be quite dry, so they need to be watered just enough to have a consistent moisture level. This process allows you to have a moist potting mix ready for seeding without the need of watering for a day or two. Try to make a good batch estimate that will just be enough for the seeds you will be planting, you don’t want to end up with so much wet dirt.
It’s really a bit trickier when watering seedling and it would be a good idea to use a combination of the mentioned watering systems. Keep in mind that seeds enjoy water that has reached room temperature. Too cold or too hot will surely shock the seedlings. The best time to water them is in the morning where it’s fairly cool and with low winds, keeping evaporation to a minimal.
Good luck and have fun!
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