Common problems with starting vegetable seeds

Are you struggling with starting vegetable seeds? Discover the cause of your problems, as there are several things that can go wrong. Let's see how you can fix the common issues.

Seeds don't germinate

Check out when the seeds should start sprouting. Most require only 1-2 weeks, but a few species need more time. For example parsnips take 3-4 weeks.

What if this time has passed, but you see no results? First, look at the seed packet and check what minimal temperature these seeds require to start germinating. Some vegetables, like pepper, need a warm spot to get started. If the seeds are too cold, move them to the warmer place or use the heat mat for germination.

When the temperature is correct but the seeds fail to sprout, they can be too old and weak. The longer they were stored before planting, the fewer will germinate and the more time this process will take. If you suspect this is your problem, consider starting a new batch. To avoid this issue, the next time you start seeds run a viability test first.

Seedlings grow too slowly

Some vegetables, like pepper, grow slowly and this is normal. Give them time.

When seedlings grow more slowly than expected, make sure they are warm enough. Move them to the warm spot or place on the heat mat. See if it helps.

Lack of nutrients in the soil is the other reason for stunted growth. That's why it's best to start vegetable seeds in the soil mix designed for it. If your seedlings are struggling, water them with a very diluted fertilizer. Make sure not to overdo it, because the sprouts are fragile and too much fertilizer kills them.

Seedlings rot

Plants start to rot when the soil is too soggy. Overwatering the sprouts is a common mistake. Water thoroughly but let the soil dry almost completely afterwards. Remove the rotten sprouts to avoid spreading disease to the healthy ones. Provide good air circulation to speed up the drying process.

Fungus attacks the seedlings

There are two reasons for the troubles with fungus: soil infected with the spores and poor air circulation. To avoid this problem when starting vegetable seeds, use sterile soil. You can sterilize it in the oven, but the easiest way to provide safe substrate is using the seed potting mix. As soon as the seeds germinate, remove the cover to insure adequate air circulation.

Seedlings are elongated

This means that your sprouts miss the light. Move them to the lighter spot like a window still. When that's impossible or not good enough, get the Grow Light System to provide enough light.

When you plant elongated seedlings in the garden, put them deeper in the soil and cover the part of the stem with soil.

Seedlings bend towards light

When the light comes from only one direction, sprouts bend towards it. Rotate the container 180 degrees every day and your seedlings will grow straight. As long as the light is sufficient there's nothing to worry about.

While you can deal with the common problems, it's better to avoid them. Find out how to start vegetable seeds indoors and get it right from the start.