Underwatering and overwatering plants are some of the worst mistakes you can commit. They need just the right amount of water to grow. Before you start sowing, check out this guide on how often to water seedlings!
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Guide on How Often to Water Seedlings [Plus 7 Effective Gardening Tips]
The Importance of Learning How Often to Water Seedlings
Planting seedlings is not as easy as most people make it out to be. Keep in mind that these are fragile living beings that need constant care and nourishment.
Dangers of Overwatering
Seedlings need plenty of water to grow, but too much of anything is always bad. Growing seedlings in soaking wet soil will put them at risk of infections and diseases.
Plus, damp, soggy soil is a breeding ground for all kinds of pests such as snails, cockroaches, centipedes, and earwigs, so keep an eye out for these. Decrease soil moisture right away if you notice any unwanted pest activity.
Pro Tip: A quick way to drive pests away is to spray all-natural pesticides on your plants. A combination of dishwashing soap, essential oils, and various herbs can go a long way in keeping your garden free of pests.
Dangers of Underwatering
Water is an integral part of growing seedlings. In fact, gardeners will need to pour water into their seedling tray before they even start planting.
Some veterans may say that underwatering isn’t as dangerous as people think. They’d reason that dried out seedlings can bounce back with the help of some emergency plant rehydration techniques.
However, this isn’t always the case. Seedlings aren’t as sturdy as fully grown, mature plants, so there’s really no guarantee that they’ll even survive a few days without water.
How Often to Water Seedlings
Seedling care primarily varies based on its environment. A seedling planted indoors will have different needs as compared to one that is planted outdoors.
If you have an indoor seedling, you’ll need to check on it multiple times every day. Most indoor seedlings will need to be watered twice daily.
Meanwhile, seedlings planted outdoors may not need as much attention. Watering your outdoor seedlings once a day or every other day may be enough, especially if it always rains in your area.
They have access to an array of nutrients thanks to the large patch of soil and rays of sunlight they’re in.
7 Tips on Growing and Watering Seeds
1. Choose Between Top and Bottom Watering
Top watering involves spraying the seedlings from the top using a weak mister or spray bottle. It’s best to get ones that scatter a shroud of mist than ones that project a straight heavy stream of water.
Bottom watering involves in a self-watering pot. You can either buy one or make it yourself.
Ideally, the goal is to have a portion of the bottom of the soil submerged in water. As time passes, the soil will automatically absorb the water underneath it and direct it to the seedlings.
2. Set up Proper Lighting for Your Indoor Plants
A grow light system is one of the best investments you can make for your seedling garden. The artificial lighting will stimulate growth and increase the chances of your seedlings growing at a much faster pace.
Once the first set of seeds start to germinate, you can begin using the growth light. Leave it on for no more than 12 to 14 hours a day.
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3. Stick Your Fingers in the Pot of Soil
A quick way to check if your seedling is getting the right amount of water is to stick your fingers in the soil. It shouldn’t feel like dry sand or wet clay, but rather, a moist sponge.
Do this a few times every day to find out if it’s time to water your seedling. There will generally be a 12-hour gap between your watering times.
Pro Tip: Do you dislike the idea of sticking your fingers in a pot of soil multiple times a day? Invest in a moisture gauge. There are some high-quality yet inexpensive ones on the market today. Just stick the meter in the soil and the gauge will show you its moisture density.
4. Thin Growing Seedlings in Specific Areas
Leaving seedlings to grow too thick will force them to compete with each other for sunlight, water, and soil nutrients.
This will ultimately lead to stunted growth. In worse cases, your seedlings might even rot or die from malnutrition.
To remedy this issue, make sure you trim the seedlings if you feel they’re growing too big. Frequent thinning is especially important for plants in small pots or containers.
5. Ensure Proper Drainage and Ventilation
Your seedlings need sufficient air and sunlight to grow. Drowning them in water will only give them an infection.
A good way to incorporate a good drainage and ventilation system into your seedling garden is to use a raised bed. They’re simple, easy to make, and discreet enough to be placed in an apartment terrace.
6. Sparingly Fertilize
Fertilization is a great way to boost the mineral and nutrient density of your garden soil. However, when you’re planting seedlings, you shouldn’t overdo it.
Only start using fertilizer once the second set of leaves blooms from your seedlings. Fertilizing before this happens will only overwhelm the plants and cause them to grow too big prematurely.
7. Transplant Seedlings Once They Grow Bigger
When’s the right time to transplant seedlings? Generally, the best time to repot or transplant a seedling outdoors is when they have exceeded twice the height of their own container.
You should do this on a chill, sunny day. Transplanting seedlings when it’s too hot or cold will compromise the safety of your plant.
If your plants have already grown too big for their containers but you feel the weather is too rigid, you can opt to repot them for the meantime. As long as they get enough water and sunlight, they’ll survive.
Pro Tip: Want to make transplanting your plants easier? Opt to plant your seedlings in peat pots. These are pots your bury along with the plant. They are made of biodegradable materials that disintegrate after some time.
Check out this video by Keep it a Secret Home & Garden Tips where he shares his thought on how often to water seedlings:
Generally, strive to water your seedlings at least twice a day. You can dip your fingers in the soil to check for dampness. It should be moist, not soaking wet or loose and dry.
Also, don’t forget to fertilize your seedlings and provide them with proper ventilation. Remember, baby plants need more than just water to thrive.
Did this guide help you understand how often to water seedlings? Feel free to share all your questions and clarifications in the comments section below!
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