Seedling Trays

Seedling Trays

In nature, when a seed falls to the ground unless it receives the light and water it needs, it can not get through; and even then, although he can emit his first roots and leaves, he will have to overcome many obstacles if he wants to reach adulthood. When they are grown, we can protect them from almost all their enemies, but that does not mean they have much easier. So that it really is, we’ll explain everything you have to know about the seedbeds: what they are, the different types that there are, how you can get them at home … and much more

What are the seedbeds?

Seedbeds, also called seedbeds or mastic beds, are a place where seeds are sown . They are very important, because they allow us to control everything – or almost – the germination process and, in addition, it gives us the possibility of taking the measures that are necessary to prevent the appearance of pests and diseases of our future plants.

There are four different types:

  • Portables : are those that can be moved from one place to another as needed. They can be wooden or plastic boxes, polyethylene bags, or other material that is easy to transport. They are the most used in home gardening.
  • Temporary or transitory : are those that are used only once or for a short duration.
  • Semi-permanent : are those that are built by making a fence of boards and brick at the edges.
  • Permanent or fixed : are those that are built to give them permanent use. The edges are made of cement and block, and in the bottom is placed granza (stones more or less smooth of about 2-3cm in length) to facilitate drainage.

How should they be?

The seedbeds are a very interesting ally of every gardener and / or farmer. Thanks to them, we can have a great variety of plants to which we can help them -and a lot- so that they have an excellent start to life. But, not everything we find can serve us as such. And is that, if we want everything to go well, surely the most important thing we have to take into account is that they must have holes for the excess water to go outside .

From the newly germinated seeds sprout a root called radicle that is very sensitive to excess and lack of moisture. One way to minimize the risk of problems is by planting them in a container that allows water to drain. Although this is not all. It is also very necessary to choose a porous substrate , suitable for each type of species (you have more information on this topic here ).

If we talk about the material with which the seedbeds must be made, they must be made of plastic because they are waterproof , hence the milk containers, the yogurt cups, or the same pots or seed trays are the best to sow. Now, if we use product packaging, before planting anything we have to clean it thoroughly, consciously, with water and a drop of dishwasher . Then we removed all the remaining foam, and let it dry in the sun for a couple of days.

Another type of nursery that can go very well are Jiffy peat pellets . There are various sizes (from 1cm to 9cm in height). In each of them a single seed is sown, or two if they are very small, and you just have to keep them moist by placing them, for example, in a tray with water. The truth is that they are very good, because being wrapped by biodegradable material we can introduce them in a pot or in the garden when the seedling has reached a good size (about 10cm). In addition, they remain wet enough time , which guarantees that the seed will not lack water. The only thing is that if you live in an area with strong sunlight you should protect them from direct sunlight, otherwise they will lose moisture very quickly, almost from one day to the next.

Why is it better to sow in seedbeds than on the ground?

There are several reasons why we advise planting in seedbeds directly and not on the ground. They are the following :

  • The germination of the seed is better controlled: temperature, humidity, exposure.
  • The sowing date of the crops is advanced because the seedbeds can be moved from one site to another.
  • They allow us to cultivate new or unknown species in our area, which otherwise would have many difficulties to germinate.
  • We can enjoy seeing a plant germinate.

How are the seeds sown?

Although there are several methods of germination , the step by step that must be followed for the seeds to germinate is usually the following :

  1. The first thing to do is to introduce the seeds in water for 24 hours. So we can discard those that are not viable, which will be those that remain floating.
  2. Then, we prepare the seedbed, filling it with substrate for plants.
  3. Next, we scatter the seeds and cover them with substrate. It is important not to put too many in the same seedbed, since otherwise when it comes to ringing the seedlings (separate them and plant them in an individual pot) it will cost them more to resume their growth. In general, do not put more than 3 in a pot of 10.5 cm in diameter.
  4. Finally, sprinkle with copper or sulfur to avoid fungus, and water to consciousness so that the substrate is well moist but not waterlogged.

The average time of germination varies depending on the species in particular, and the growing conditions, being able to germinate in a few days, as is the case of horticulture, until it takes more than 1 year.


Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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