Moisture level of seed starter

I am about to plant my first seeds

I have been experimenting with propagation methods on Veg.seeds to test methods.

I sowed into a commercial propagator with cells approx 35mm deep with differing depths of seed mix and using jiffy pellets in and on the mix. This gave mix depth from 25mm - 40mm with and without jiffys. All water was poured into an empty cell so watering is all from the bottom.

The germination has been about 95% so far with the germination starting in the deepest medium first and the shallow (25mm) still to shoot.

It appears to me that although germination is very good the mix is “too wet” so I have tried using a 100mm deep pot and sitting it in water(10mm) to see if it will water from the bottom up.

It appears to have some moisture at the surface after 24hrs(I can feel it with my finger but not see it), very different to the cell tray, so I think moisture levels can be adjusted to some degree by variation of the distance that it has to travel up to the surface

With this in mind I would like to hear how to decide on the correct moisture level as “moist but not too wet” is very much open to interpretation, given that the trial that appears “wet” to me is going very well.

Any advice is appreciated.


I use sand on the surface as a moisture indicator.


Russell Cole,

Are you planting sprouted or unsprouted seeds?

My procedure is to plant sprouted seeds about 1/8 inch deep into a moistened mixture of 1 part seed start mix plus 1 part perlite; germination occurs in 3 to 7 days.

By itself, seed start mix is way too wet, imo; good drainage is essential.