Vegetable/Herb Starter Kit

Vegetable/Herb Starter Kit
Authored By Jessica Petretti

Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in America, and given the pace and artificiality of the modern world, it’s easy to see why. At Sproutbrite we want people of all ages to discover the joy of gardening, so we’ve made every effort to make that first experience as successful and rewarding as possible.

Inside every Sproutbrite gardening kit are the highest quality materials to help achieve successful germination.

Our included instruction guide & web guide are average baseline times for germination and for transporting outdoors but the times can easily double in different areas of the country and with different environmental conditions. Observe your growing plants daily to help determine the best time. 

The Total Garden Starter kit provide extra seeds so that if you fail the first time or want to sow seeds in a second or third container, the product provides the extra value. 

 

Introducing Coco Coir

One of the big reasons why our kits provide incredible gardening results is because we use a superior growing medium called Coco Coir, which is made from coconut husk.

There are many advantages to using Coco Coir over regular peat moss pellets or potting soil – for a start, Coco Coir holds more water and expands to fill the whole pot while promoting good drainage and aeration. These attributes are perfect for new gardeners who may miss the occasional day of watering.

If you care about the environment, then Coco Coir is the way to go. Coco Coir is renewable - coconut trees aren’t going to stop producing new coconuts – whereas peat moss bogs, and the natural habitats in which they are found, are being harvested at an alarming rate across the globe.

Coco Coir is also a better growth agent because it has a neutral pH level. Its also rich in bio-stimulants which are a lot friendlier for plants.

 

Organic NON-GMO Seeds

The seeds are the heart of every Sproutbrite kit, which is why we carefully select small batches from farms in the United States that possess high standards of quality control throughout the process. We do not source from the large seed companies as it is nearly impossible to maintain the quality of standards we seek from purely commercial farms.

 

All Natural OMRI Genuine Jiffy Pots

Our kits provide full size 4 1/2” genuine Jiffy Pots. They provide the perfect environment for plants to thrive. Whether you want to start indoors, in the earth, or in a container without disturbing young roots – Jiffy Pots make everything so much easier. Every pot has holes in the bottom to promote drainage and strong root development. Jiffy Pots are natural seed starter pots and are OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Certified.

 

Getting started

This guide is meant to give you a bigger overview than the included instructions on how to get your seeds germinating. If you read this guide through, follow the instructions, water your seeds, and give them enough sunlight, you will be guaranteed to have a positive experience and see plants growing strong in the pots. 

An indoor garden can take up as much or as little space as you are willing to give it. Growing plants of all kinds, can be done on a window sill or on a table. The provided pots should easily fit on most windowsills. 

Location is the most important choice you’ll make in setting up the indoor garden. Your seeds need on average 6 hours of bright sunlight, which may be tough to get during the winter months. To ensure plants are getting plenty of light consider choosing a southwest facing windowsills which will offer the most light. A corner with two windows (one facing south and the other west) is ideal.

Water your plants enough to keep the soil moist without over-watering (roots will rot in a soggy container).

 

Don't forget to check your last frost date for the optimal time to start your seeds

 

Start seeds indoors about 6–8 weeks before your last spring frost date.  You can get this information by going to the Farmers Almanac page here. This gives your plants enough time to grow large and healthy enough to survive their eventual transplanting to the garden or a larger container.

 

What temperature is ideal for seed germination?

65F to 75F is the perfect range. Your seeds can germinate at a slightly lower or higher temperature than this, but this slows the germination process down a lot. Once your seeds have germinated 60F to 70F degrees is the ideal temperature range for growing them. As with germination, they will grow in slightly cooler or warmer temperatures but this will effect the time it takes for the seedlings to grow into plants ready to transplant outdoors.

 

How many seeds should I plant in one pot? 

For smaller seeds you should plant 2-3 seeds per pot. For large seeds like the cucumbers you should only use 1-2 seed per pot and spread them out from each other. However, you can still plant seeds close together and then thin them out once they've established themselves. To increase your chance of success you can also plant more then the recommended amount and then cut the weakest seedlings after the sprout. 

How deep should I plant my seeds?

The depth you plant your seeds important. Each seed has a optimum depth which is included in the instructions. Remember, for the smaller seeds, barely cover them with a fine layer of the coir soil.

 

How much moisture should the soil?

Keeping soil moist before and after germination has started is of the utmost importance. If the seed dries out it will likely kill the embryos. Seeds need as much as 50% of their weight to germinate. To achieve this you need to make sure the soil does not dry out. While coir soil has excellent moisture retention missing a few days of watering in a row will likely kill the chances of successful germination.

 

What is the best methods for watering?

When watering, take care not to use a stream of water that is too strong. If the stream is too strong it will likely displaces your seeds or seedlings. Use a gentle stream of water to keep seeds and seedlings in place. When the seeds become seedlings do not pour water directly on them. Water around them to ensure you do not kill them. 

 

What do I do if mold or white fuzzy stuff develops in the soil or on my pots?

When you starting seeds in biodegradable paper pots from Jiffy the pots or soil might develop fuzzy white growth. This is normally called mold. The scientific term for it is mycelium. It is pretty much harmless in small doses but can be dangerous to your seedlings if it spreads over too large an area. It normally happens when the soil and biodegradable pots are too wet and their is not enough air circulation. To ensure your pots and soil do not develop the mold be careful not to over water and leave enough room in between the pots for good air circulation. If you place the pots on a windowsill, just open the window. If you start them on a table place a small fan near the pots to help move the air around them. If you let the mold get out of control and it spreads, sprinkle cinnamon on it or water it with chamomile tea to stop it in its tracks.

 

Do I need to thin my seedlings? 

A few weeks after the seeds start to grow, they might start to crowd each other. Especially if you placed more then 1 or 2 seeds in each pot and a lot of them germinated. If that happens, you should thin the seedlings. Choose the seedling that looks the strongest and thin the one or ones nearby. This will give the remaining one more room to grow.  The best way to thin is to snip off extra seedlings at the soil line.

 

When should I transplant outdoors?

Depending on the conditions and how well they grew it could be as quickly as 4-5 weeks or as long as 8-10 weeks. The pots are big enough to grow herb plants without transporting them outside. But if you want maximum growth you should transport them outside eventually. The vegetables should be transplanted outdoors in the garden or in a bigger pot to get full sized plants.  

Don’t just put the pots directly into the ground and let them fend for themselves! Wait until the last danger of frost has passed and harden them off. To harden plants, leave them outside in the shade for progressively longer amounts of time each day. Start with a couple of hours and gradually work up to a full day and then overnight. Water plants an hour or two before transplanting. Transplant the plants on an overcast day if possible, or in the evening to reduce shock.

When outside you have to be extra diligent to watch for drying and too much direct sun will burn the plants.

The included Jiffy peat pots can be planted directly outdoors in the ground or into a bigger pot while not disturbing the root systems. 

 

Detailed growing steps:

STEP 1
Start your seeds in the included pots after you have expanded the coir soil discs. The detailed instructions for expanding the soil are clearly explained on the instruction card. 

STEP 2
Spread one seed type in each pot. Depending on the conditions you can have successful germination from spreading as few as 1-3 seeds in each pot, but if you want to have the best chance of growth spread a bit more since this might be your first time planting. 

STEP 3
Gently drop water drops onto the soil using your fingers. Allow 5 to 6 drops of water to fall in each section. Keep the soil with the seeds moist, and do not allow them to completely dry out. Check the soil, depending on your conditions you will need to water the seeds every one or two days.

STEP 4
Place the pots in a bright sunny window that receives light for at least 6-8 hours a day. This is really important. If you do not allow them enough sunlight they will not germinate :( Germination takes place as early as 5 days from planting but can take up to 30 days if not given enough light daily. Unless you completely neglect the pots, the seeds will eventually germinate with enough light and water.

STEP 5
Continue watering the seeds and make sure they receive enough sunlight. 

STEP 6
When you start to see overgrowth meaning the plants are getting to big for the included pot, its time to transfer them outdoors or to a bigger pot. Some people will experience growth in a really short time period. As soon as 30 days because of the conditions and amount of light. Others might take upwards of 60 to 90 days before the plants are overgrowing the included pots. 

 

Frequently made mistakes that cause failure

1. We recommend you place up to 3 seeds in each of the pots but you can double this number to increase the chance of germination. Even the highest quality seeds have a 5-10% miss rate so you might get unlucky and be one of the 5-10% that do not germinate. We have provided enough seed in each of the plastic tubes to try several times. So if your seeds do not germinate the first time around, try again with more seeds! If a lot of the seeds do end up germinating you can cut the weakest seedlings at the soil level and make room for the strongest one. 

2. Over or under watering your seeds will ensure they won't germinate. Overwatering will encourage mold growth too. The rule of thumb to ensure success is to keep an eye on the soil and make sure its moist looking. The included bases are a way to gauge if you are overwatering. If the water spreads over the base on your windowsill then you are adding too much water. Coir soil retains water really well so you are going to have add a lot of water for it to spill over on the included bases. When the seeds germinate and are still seedlings, a hard down pour directly over the seedlings can beat them into the soil and they will most likely not recover. Water the soil around the seedlings with just a sprinkling on the area with the seeds. 

3. Not getting enough sunlight. Although your seeds can grow with less then the recommended amount of sunlight, significantly less then the required amount is a sure way of missing the mark. Too much sunlight and you will burn the seedlings. Your plants might initially sprout but they will not thrive without ample amounts of sunlight.  

4. Planting the seeds in the winter is a tough time for growing. If you can plant them on a windowsill that is directly below a warm radiator you might have a shot of being successful but in most cases its not the best idea to plant them in the winter. 



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