Even though the weather is still inclement, and summer feels far away, it's seeding time. Such a delight!
There's something about the smell of moist seeding mix that makes me feel so alive. Earthy, fertile soil. The soil is so important. I always choose a seeding mix with perlite or add my own if it doesn't contain it. Perlite helps the soil drain and retains some moisture at the same time, which sounds like
an oxymoron, but it isn't. The worst thing a seed can be is soggy, as they will mold before they can properly germinate. On the other hand, if the seeds are allowed to dry out, they will die quickly. Touchy business! When purchasing a seed mix they are usually well labeled as such, and will contain peat, perlite or vermiculite and possibly composted materials or coir. If you can't find seed mix opt for a container mix without any fertilizer in it.
Now for the seeds themselves! We've worked with many, many seed companies over the years. https://www.everwilde.com
is one of my favorites. Their staff are very knowledgeable, and they have superior packaging for seed longevity. Once you've chosen your seeds, it's key to remember (most) seeds don't need light until they've emerged from their beds. So keep your seed-tray covered with a loose fitting cover to help retain moisture, and mist thoroughly with a sprayer to keep the surface nicely wet until they pop up. Then get those plant babies in some light and water lightly and evenly, allowing for some slight drying out before re-wetting to prevent damping off.
It can take years of growing experience to remember each seed-types' various needs. When sowing some seeds, such as pansy (Viola x wittrockianna) they will need a very decent covering of soil to give them adequate darkness to stimulate germination. Others, such as fibrous/wax begonias (Begonia x semperflorens cultorum) must be covered so lightly we often sprinkle them with fine crumbles of vermiculite instead of soil, since vermiculite won't fully cover the seed and allows plenty of light and air for germination.
The most beautiful sight to see is a tray of tiny green leaves lifting towards the sun. And all ages know it! When my children were small they would love to touch the baby plants, squealing with delight as they brushed chubby hands across the miniature forest of green. And always, always my toddlers would bend a tousled head to smell the seedlings. And smile.