Just wondering how everyone else starts their petunias from seed. I've had somewhat good results but also had some issues. First of all the seeds are so small. I'm thinking next year to use the jiffy peat pellets as its so difficult to water them without washing them away. I used a potting mix this year and mixed it well with water before adding the seeds but the mix didn't really do well with bottom watering...wouldn't soak up the water. Also, if my last frost date is May 15th when should I have started them? I think I started them in mid March, but they are still very small, although they each have 8 or so leaves on them. Any advice on starting them from seed would be happily welcome...
Hi Gracemom, I think IF you have to water such small seeds from the top, then I mist mine with one of those hand held misters you can buy in the drug store for damping hair ect, but as for watering the soil from the bottom, it is easier than top watering because as you have found, too strong sprinkling of water and the seeds get dispersed all over the place, best way to do the bottom watering is to make sure the container the seeds are set into is set in a basin of water and the water comes about an inch up the container from the bottom, once the soil looks darker in colour then remove the container from basin and allow the surplus water to drain away before placing it where you want the germination to take place, you need to keep checking the seedlings for more watering and do the same set out into basin each time.
With tiny seedlings like those, I actually never cover them till I see tiny green shoots and then use either vermiculite or perilite, both allow lite and air into the seedlings but offer protection at the same time.
Once the seedlings have formed several sets of leaves, it's time to prick the seedlings out and re-pot into either seedling trays allowing about 1 1/2 inch between each plant, again water as before and begin hardening the tiny plants off by placing outside day time and back inside evening and do this till all signs of late frost have passed, the other way is to re-pot each individual plant into small pots pet plant and store in trays as that is easier to handle. make sure you handle the seedlings by the leaf as if you damage the stems they will just fail and quickly fall over.
Hope this helps you out a bit Gracemom and you will have good results.
Best regards WeeNel.
Your very welcome, hope your next batch of seeds give less worry ha, ha, ha. What am I saying ?????, our seeds are treated like our small children !!!!
Just remember as you gain more experience you will find the best way to germinate with what you have to hand, the basics are all the same and we just tweek it a bit for our own needs and climate.
Have a great gardening year Gracesmom,