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Seed Starting Tips

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Seed Starting Tips

Post by Sonshine on Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:02 pm

In the winter edition of the Heirloom Gardener it has 10 tips to starting seeds indoors. Since it's getting about the time of the year to get them started I figured I'd post them. I'm sure most of you already know these, but just in case, or to refresh our memories, here they are:

1. Create a plan. Figure out what you want to grow and look at your calendar to figure out the start dates. You'll need to find your last frost date for your area. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, basil, parlsey and onions are all perfect candidates for seed starting. They tend to do better if planted as transplants rather than direct sowing. We stagger our seed starting, especially on tomatoes and peppers.

2. Make your own mix. Seed starting mix needs to be a light medium that holds moisture well. mixing your own allows you to ditch the peat and use coir instead. Here's a recipe that is well balanced: 18 quarts mermiculite, 12 quarts coir, 12 quarts mature and disease free compost, 3/4 cup blood meal, 1/2 cup limestone, 1 2/3 cup greensand. NOTE: Coir comes in dehydrated bricks from garden centers and pet stores; the measurement her refers to the moistened, expanded material.

3. Use top quality regional seed to ensure the strongest and healthiest plants that will grow best in your micro climate, choose high quality, local seeds.

4. Don't be picky about pots. You can use all kinds on containers to start your seeds in, empty yogurt containers with a few holes punched in the bottom, seed starting cups made out of old newspaper, and my favorite, empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls. These will decompose, so you don't have to remove the fragile plants from the pots, just stick the whole thing in the ground.

5.. Get your timing right. This goes back to number 1. If you plan out what you are going to plant ahead of time you can create a quick calendar of when you need to start each type of seed. In general, start tomatoes seeds six to eight weeks before your average last frost date, perppers eight to ten weeks, most brassicas four to six weeks. Start a second round of brassica for your fall garden about 12 to 14 weeks before your first fall frost.

6. Plant two and use a pencil. Plant two seeds per container. When you thin seedlings never pull them completely out of the soil. Instead, use scissors and cut the weaker of the two seedlings at the soil surface so you don't distrub the roots. Use a pencil to plant your seeds. Dump out some seeds onto a flat, dry surface and dip the tip of a pencil in water and touch the pencil to the seed. The seed will stick to the pencil and you can easily poke the seed into your pot.

7. Water well. Be sure to keep your seed starting mix moist as your seeds germinate and start to grow. Instead of watering them with a watering can, which can cause some of the smaller seeds to be washed away, trying spraying them with spray bottle.

8. Lots of light. There are 3 options when it comes to lighting. Natural sunlight, fluorescent light bulbs and special grow lights. Sunlight, of course, is the cheapest and least energy intensive, but you need really strong light in a south facing window. If they don't get enough light they will become leggy. If you use fluorescent or grow lights, keep the tops of the growing plants no more they an inch away from the lights. Keep your lights on the seedlings for 14 to 18 hours a day.

9. Cozy and warm. To ensure good germination and strong plants, keep your seeds and seedlings at a consistent, warm temperature, about 70 to 80 degrees.

10. Always harden off. At least a week before you transplant your starts, start getting them used to the outdoors, for a hardening off period. Set plants out for a couple of hours the first day in a protected location. Build up from there, letting them stay outside for a longer period each day. At first, limit the amount of time they spend in direct sunlight so they don't get sunburned.

Hope these tips will benefit you on your 2013 garden.

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Sonshine
He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]
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Re: Seed Starting Tips

Post by 12acrehome on Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:06 pm

excellent reminder Sonshine thanks for posting...

I'm gettin that itch...

you know the one, the one to have dirt under your finger nails bounce

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

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Re: Seed Starting Tips

Post by Sonshine on Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:31 pm

Yep, I know it very well. In fact, today I started some of my herbs. I love the smell of the soil as well as the feel of it on my hands. Smile

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Sonshine
He who cultivates his land will have plenty of food,
but from idle pursuits a man has his fill of poverty
Proverbs 28:19[b]
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Re: Seed Starting Tips

Post by 12acrehome on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:12 pm

Very Happy

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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12acrehome
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