From seed to garden in 6 easy steps

Are you hesitating to sow your seeds yourself or rush to the nearest greenhouse to buy ready-made plants?

Come on, make them yourself. It's easy and you'll get a lot more for your money!

Step 1 – Gather the materials:

  • Containers (mushrooms are my favorite )
  • Sowing soil
  • Water, Pencil and Sticks
  • seeds

Step 2 – Sowing:

  • Consult our sowing calendar to start at the right time
  • Put the potting soil in your pre-drilled container
  • Moisten the soil a little beforehand (optional, but preferable)
  • Sow the seed at the depth indicated on the bag
  • Cover with soil and press with your fingers to compress the soil a little over the seed
  • Identify (memory is a faculty who what already?)
  • Water gently and deeply
NOTE: I like to use a ''bike/sport'' type water bottle to pour gently. I do not recommend the use of a spray bottle for seedlings because often this does not allow you to moisten deeply enough.

Step 3 – Don't forget them:

  • Place your small seedlings near a window (exposed to the south or south west preferably).
  • Keep the soil moist, but not soggy (make holes in the bottom of your containers to drain the water).
  • Germination temperature, around 22-25°C, usually your house temperature or a little warmer.
  • The use of a 'heating mat for seedlings' and an adjustable thermostat can be a good option to compensate for the decrease in heat brought by the window or if you do not have a place at 22-25°C in your house. The top of the refrigerator is a warm place and can act as a heating mat without spending a penny.
  • DO NOT use the clear lids sold with seedling trays to 'keep in humidity'. Often, these lids retain too much moisture and this causes the seeds to rot. It is better to water regularly and let the ambient air regulate the humidity level.
  • See also our article on tips for successful sowing

That's more than waiting to see the seeds germinate...

Step 4 - Light

Once the seedlings have emerged from the ground, you will need to provide them with 14-16 hours of sunshine per day. A window with full sun is a perfect spot. Remember to turn the seedlings occasionally so they grow straight if your only source of light is the window.

You can add an auxiliary lamp for seedlings. The latter must be kept about 15 cm above the seedlings. You have to be able to raise it as the plants grow to constantly maintain this gap between the light and the plants. Otherwise the light will be too diffuse (risk of etiolation).

Step 5 – Acclimatization of the plants

A few weeks before transplanting to the garden, remember to acclimatize your plants. To do this, take your plants outside to acclimatize them to the wind and intense sun in order to avoid transplant shock (sunburn for example). At first, take them out for only 5 minutes a day, then 10 minutes, 15 minutes…

If you have a small greenhouse, you can transfer your potted plants into it around mid-May (zones 3-4) or when the temperature at night is around 7-10°C.

Step 6 – Planting

Once the plants have acclimatized and the risk of night frost has passed, the time has come to plant in the garden.

If the stem of the plants is too long and fragile, plant your plant horizontally, laying the stem completely on its side. This will promote the appearance of roots and therefore the possibility of fetching more nutrients and water and anchoring itself well in the soil for resistance and increased growth potential.

To maximize the flow of water to the roots, I like to use the 'small pool' technique for gourmet vegetables like tomatoes, squash and cucumbers. This 'technique' makes it possible to maximize watering.

To do this, we dig a hole in which we place two good shovelfuls of compost. We place the plant in it and bury just enough to cover the root ball. There must still be a hollow between ground level and the top of the clod. This depression is filled with water and allowed to percolate. Then fill in with the rest of the soil and form a depression that will direct the water from the next waterings directly towards the root system of the plant. We are still watering. Here is our plant is in the ground for the summer!

Fertilizers such as compost tea or granular hen manure can be added 1-2 times during the summer to promote optimal health and production.

Come on, now you have no reason to hesitate.

Happy sowing!

Julie Ross,

Artisanal seed company

Practical tools for planning your plantations:

Map of climate zones of Canada:

Average date of last ground frost according to your region: