Fertilizing your seedlings

Don’t forget to fertilize your seedlings.

By now, if you’ve started some seeds inside, your seedlings have popped up and are growing every day. It won’t be long until you’ll need to provide them with some extra nutrients to stay healthy and thriving.

If you used a commercial seed-starting mix to start your seeds, that soil-less mix creates ideal germinating and growing conditions for seedlings by keeping them moist and preventing the soil from compacting. However, those mixes generally contain no nutrients. They don’t need to. Each seed contains all the nutrients it needs to germinate, grow, and produce its first set of leaves.

When the tiny plant sprouts its second set of leaves — called “true leaves” — then it’s time to start providing some nutrients.

Treat them tenderly

Your seedlings are tender, so you don’t want to feed them with a full-strength fertilizer, which will burn their tiny roots. Instead, dilute a liquid, water-soluble fertilizer to half strength and water with that once a week to give them the nutrients they need to continue to grow.  Continue this for a month or so, and then feed them every 10 days or so with fertilizer at regular strength.