We all have to be in The Beginner Stage at some point. The university of life has taught me well. With my love of seed raising, I'm constantly wanting to understand where my errors have been and what the main factors have been towards my successes, aiming to improve all the time. So I can now comfortably say the successes are now far out weighing the failures. I've passed the Beginner Stage! I personally feel that the three main factors are: Constant warmth, (18-22deg. c) consistent moisture, and light (once the seed is through). If you take any one of these three factors away your success rate will diminish right before your eyes. Furthermore, the thing with trying to germinate delicate seeds at this time of the year, is that spring weather is fickle? If you are new to seed raising start with easy to germinate seeds such as lettuce, cabbage, and perhaps broccoli. Once you have taken these seeds right through to planting out stage, you will better understand the nature of seed raising. It is important to say at this point, SOW LESS SEED not more, because for every seed that germinates you have the next stage of growing them on, unless you are a rabbit who really wants to eat twenty lettuces in one week? People often pop their seeds in the hotwater cupboard to start the process. This works well providing you are checking everyday. If you forget for a week your hotwater cupboard will quickly look like a clip from Day Of The Triffids, except that the plants will be pale and weak. So keep a close eye on your babies. Once the seeds have popped through they need direct light to take them to the next stage. Then its down to feeding a light dose of water to keep the growing medim moist but not water logged. You can't go past a mister bottle for this exercise. Feeding seedlings is important too, start off with a small weak solution feeding once a week. I am currently feeding my seedlings Rhizotonic, remembering that in the early stage of growing, seedlings need small amounts of vitamins and minerals often. My personal favourite is Canna Rhizotonic. It has delivered amazing results, in fact better than any other year I have grown seedlings. This product is a natural vitalized seaweed extract that promotes root growth, rich in vitamins and trace elements which allow seedlings and cuttings to quickly take root. Further more by using Canna Rhizotonic as a leaf spray, and spraying the under leaf, the seedlings take up more of the trace elements more readily. Again this is something I have learnt recently and I can honestly say the difference has been incredible. These two images are a fantastic example of the difference that Rhizotonic made in just one week. The image on the left was a really sickly zucchini plant, the stem was weak and the leaves pale. And now look. I'm stoked that it worked so quickly. Like all babies, their resistance is low so it is important to do what ever you can to build them up and give them the best possible start. There is so much more I would love to share with you about seed raising, please feel free to ask questions below and I will do my best to answer them. Next week I will continue on with the same theme and talk more about growing your seedlings on. In the mean time have fun getting started. PS. A really good investment for seed raising is a spray mister bottle. By misting your seed bed every day you have a much better chance of keeping the soil moist but not saturated.