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Growing from Seed: From Germination to Transplant

Hello friends!

I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe during these uncertain times. I’ve been blown away by all the positivity and patience shown by Calgarians while we work to improve our online store, introduce curbside pick up, and maintain a safe and clean environment within our physical store. We sincerely thank you for your continued support.

You must be itching to get in the garden!!! This weekend, we were so looking forward to was seeing you at our Growing from Seeds seminar. We’re so happy to announce that we’ll be moving the seminars online! On the blog! I’ll be sitting down with our gardening experts each week to discuss gardening topics, so if you have questions, feel free to comment below, and we’ll get them answered.

  This week, I sat down with Colin Hayles, one of our highly experienced plant professionals here at Golden Acre, and host of our new internet show GAKidsTV.

Colin started his adventures in the world of horticulture back in 1997. Working as a landscaper in Montreal he got his horticulture diploma from the University of Guelph through an applied sciences degree. Eventually Colin made it to YYC where he happened to end up working at Golden Acre Home & Garden. He is now the purchaser of all hard goods and also works in marketing, social media and public speaking. With over 20 years of experience all across Canada he has developed a love of all things nature and gardening and is still the least famous or impressive person in his family.

  Q: Why grow from seed?

“A few different reasons, I’d say the biggest benefits were definitely selection. You can’t find the same varieties in pre grown as you can in seed (See selection here). The second is control, if you grow from seed you know absolutely everything that was used on it from the time you got it so when it comes to veggies you know what you are consuming.”

Q: What is needed?

“The 2 things every seed needs is moisture and heat. In order to achieve the best results I would say the needed things are a good soil/growing medium (pro mix seed starter), seed tray or pots (grow trays, jiffy peat pots) a heat mat and a spray bottle as you don’t want to use a watering can. A dome is also an excellent addition.”

Q: How do I take care of them?

“Moisture, heat and time are the key elements in seeds. They will take care of themselves, don’t let them get cold, and don’t flood them but don’t allow them to dry out either.”

Q: When do I start my seeds indoors?

“Each seed is different depending on when it can go outside, germination time etc. So the key is knowing your climate in your area. In Calgary that can be a real guess at the best of times. Use a chart  to help you figure it out. It’s always a good idea to have some extra room in case you can’t get them outside when intended.”

Q: When do I transplant my seedlings to a different size pot?

“When you notice they are getting too root bound. Most seed starting pots and trays will have drainage holes, when roots start poking out it is time to move up a level.”

Q: How do I harden them off?

“Slowly. The best way to do it is to get them out in the warm days and slowly extend their time outside. The goal is to get them used to being outside. Whilst they have been growing until this point they have been in a perfect controlled environment, the trick is to get them used to wind, rain, cool air etc. Too much and it will shock them, not enough and they won’t harden off accordingly.”

Q: What if they’re ready to go outside but the climate is still inclement?

“Then you are going to need somewhere to hold them. This is where growing lights can come in handy. If they are too big for the windowsill and they need to move to the basement for a week or two or more, get them under a grow light. This will be great until they get out doors.”

Q: Can I grow from seed year round?

“Absolutely, and if you grow year round you can have a few lights and a set up so if your spring/summer seeds need to stay inside for longer than you wanted you have everything needed to take care of the,. There is nothing better than fresh herbs in the winter months. Plus working on green, live plants during those long winter months can be good for the mind, body and soul.”

Q: Can I start seed directly outside?

“Absolutely, especially the early starters like kale, broccoli etc. It can be better and doesn’t require hardening off but it can come with its own unique problems too. Animals, inclement snowfall, heavy rains. But most of these can be overcome by using grow domes, frost blankets and animal repellant. For every problem there can be a solution.”

Q: How much room does it take to start seeds?

“It doesn’t take much room to start seeds but by their very nature seeds grow. You can find rather quickly that the area you had is not close to big enough after the first transplant. If the weather isn’t conducive to planting outside you may also find you need more room again. Always make sure you have way more room than you think you will need. Besides you are going to get good at it, we’ll make sure you do, so you will always need more room.”

  Thanks to Colin for taking the time to talk seeds. If you have any questions, feel free to comment, reach out on our social media, and we’ll do our best to answer them for you!

Next week, it’s all about Spring Clean Up: Time to Get Your Yard Ready!

Happy Gardening!
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