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Are you trying to start your own seedlings but are running into a few problems?

There are so many reasons to start your own seedlings. You can save money. You have more variety available because you are not limited to just the varieties your garden center has. You grow them how you want to. I personally am an organic gardener so I want to make sure that my seedlings are raised in an organic manner from start to finish.

There are so many reasons to start your own seedlings. But let me share a little secret with you. Growing your own seedling on your own can comes with problems. Problems with getting your seeds to germinate. Problems that arise from using the wrong supplies. Problems with watering, with fertilization, and with providing enough light.

Today I would like to help you with two of these problems. First getting the right supplies and second problems that may accrue in the germination stage of your seedlings.

Now I have made getting the right supplies very easy for you. I have created the Red Ridge Farm Seedling Supply Checklist to help you with everything you need for your seedlings from start to finish. This list covers everything so that you can be successful at starting your own seedlings. You can get your copy below.

Now let's get into the seedling germination problems.

Old Seeds

If you are a beginner gardener this may not be your problem. But if you got seeds from a friend or if you have been gardening for a long time, like me, this is the first thing I would look for. This can also happen if you order your seeds from a not very reputable company or bought them from a stand at a big box store. If you are having trouble finding an amazing seed company that not only gives you amazing seeds but also has a great mission that they stand for check out my blog post, The Top 15 Seed Companies in the USA.

Now let's get back to the problem of old seeds. The first thing you want to do is check the expiration date on your seed packet. If this date is more than a couple years this could be your problem. Don’t throw away your seeds, they are perfectly fine. Seeds can last for years in the ground and germinate fine. I read something a few years ago, where someone planted some seeds they found in a egyptian tomb and they came up fine. Old seed just needs to be treated differently at the beginning. Because the only problem old seeds have is that the seed coat has become too dry and the young seedling is not strong enough to break through it and the water can not enter the seed to give that young seedling life.

To fix this problem all you need to do is soak your seeds in water for an hour or two before you place them in your soil to germinate. This soaking will soften the seed coat and allow the young seedling to break through it.


Seeds are going to take time to germinate. But every different variety has a different time table then another variety. Some may take longer to germinate then others. So this problem can be easily fixed by keeping good records.

What I mean by this is if you as the gardener have the specific date written down that you sowed your seed, and you look on the back of your seed packet to find the estimated day to germination to calculate the estimated day the seeds should germinate by. Then you will have in your records a guide as to when your seedling should have germinated by and you will know if your problem is that you just haven’t given the seed an adequate time before you give up on it.


The temperature of your soil is a very important key to germination. It is very hard to find spinach that will germinate well in the middle of the summer. That is why most spinach is grown in the spring, fall, or even through the winter. That is just a characteristic of spinach. The same goes for tomatoes. They do not germinate well in cool soil temps. Soil temperature can become a problem if you have the wrong temperature for what you are trying to germinate. This information can usually be found on the back of your seed packet. But here is a guide that you can use to see if this may be what is causing your germination problems.

  • Cool temperature varieties like soil temps around 50

  • Warm temperature varieties like soil temps above 68


Water is also very important when it comes to germination. Like I said above in the old seed section, if the seed coat does not become moist enough the young seedling can not break through it and the water can not enter the seed to give that young seedling life. But the other side is also true. If a seed is not only saturated with water but sitting in too much water the seedling can drown because of lack of oxygen. So be sure to monitor your watering. One sign that you are watering too much is if your soil starts to develop mold on top of it.

Seed Depth

The back of your packet is very explicit as to the depth your seed should be placed under the soil. But does it matter? If the seed is not placed deep enough the seed coat will stick to the seedling because the seedling needs a certain depth to help remove the seed coat from its leaves. Also if it is not deep enough this can cause the seed coat to dry out, which can result in the moisture problems above. But what happens if the seed is too deep? The seedling when it emerges may not reach the surface of the soil and die trying to.

Growing your own seedling does come with a little more uncertainty than just purchasing your seedling from your local growing center. But with the right tools you should be able to become a garden that can say she grows her own seedlings. Don’t forget to get your Seedling Supply Checklist so that you know you will have all the supplies you need to get started!

Have a blessed day,


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