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Sowing Seeds and Setting Plants Empty Sowing Seeds and Setting Plants

Post by Sonshine Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:46 pm

Forwarded from another group:

Sowing Seed and Setting Plants

Buying — Buy fresh, high quality seed from a local seed store, garden center or mail order seed catalog for your vegetable garden. Using seed from the previous year's plants is generally not recommended for the beginning gardener since such seed may not germinate well or may not breed true. You can refrigerate commercial seed in a glass jar with something to dry it (for instance, powdered milk). The seed can then be used later.

Planting — The soil should be moist at planting time but not overly wet. To test for moisture content, squeeze together a handful of soil. If it crumbles readily rather than sticking together, proceed with planting. Drop vegetable seed into furrows in continuous rows. To make straight rows, drive stakes at each end of the garden and pull a string taut between them. Then draw a hoe or rake handle along the string to make a shallow 1/2-inch furrow for fine seed. Use the corner of the hoe blade to make a deeper 1-inch furrow for larger seed. Measure the distances between rows with a yardstick.

Empty seeds into your hand and drop them from between your fingers.
Mix dry, pulverized soil or sand with very small seeds to make even distribution easier. Plant the seed more thickly than needed in case some do not germinate. Cover the seeds and firm the soil lightly over them using the bottom of a hoe blade.

Some seeds, like carrot and parsley, take a long time to germinate — often three to four weeks. If the seeds dry out during germination the seedlings will die, so be sure to keep these rows moistened. You can also put a board or a strip of plastic or burlap over the row to give the seedlings a warm, moist greenhouse environment. Remove this cover just after the seedlings emerge.

Thinning — After germination, you'll need to thin the seedlings to correct their spacing. When your plants have two or three leaves, pull up the weakest ones or pinch off the tops, leaving the rest of the plants spaced correctly (see Table 5).

The soil should be moist when you thin so you do not injure the remaining plants in the process. Do not wait for the plants to become overcrowded before thinning. With some vegetables, thinning can be at harvest. Beet and turnip thinnings make excellent greens. Radishes, onions and lettuce can be left to thin until some are big enough to eat.

Healthy Transplants Are a Good Investment

Sometimes what appears to be a good buy because it's inexpensive may turn out to be a poor investment in transplants. Transplants which were seeded at the right time and were grown at the right temperature, in abundant light and adequate moisture, will be compact, with the distance between leaves very small (Table 6). The stems will be pencil thick and rigid. Leaves will be dark green, large and upright with no tendency to droop. Transplants that are trying to produce flowers or fruit are not as desirable as those which are strictly vegetative. Plants trying to produce fruit are slow to develop good root systems to support later fruit production.

Bare root plants will be slower to establish than transplants grown in cell packs or containers. Sometimes, plants are packed in large bundles and shipped great distances. To save space, these plants are clipped before shipping to reduce the amount of top growth. This is a poor practice since it not only induces transplant shock and delays fruiting but spreads disease as well.

When purchasing transplants, be sure to ask whether the plants have been hardened off. If not, it is important to place them in a cool spot and reduce water for a couple of days to acclimate the plants to outside conditions.


Whether you buy plants or grow your own, the time comes to plant them outside.

Transplanting gives a plant more space to develop, but it will temporarily check growth, not stimulate it. Therefore, for successful transplanting, try to interrupt plant growth as little as possible. In doing so, peat pots give you an advantage, even though they are expensive, because they do not have to be removed. Follow these eight steps when transplanting:

Transplant on a shady day in late afternoon or in early evening to prevent wilting.

Soak transplants' roots thoroughly an hour or two before setting them in the garden.

Handle the plants carefully. Avoid disturbing the roots. Dig a hole large enough to hold the roots. Set the plants to the lowest leaf at recommended spacings. Press soil firmly around the roots.

Pour 1 cup of starter solution (Willow water) in the hole around the plant. Put more soil around each plant, but leave a slight depression for water to collect. Break off any exposed parts of peat pots so that they will not act as wicks and pull water out of the soil. Shade the plants for a few days after transplanting on a very hot day by putting newspapers or cardboard on their south sides. Water the plants once or twice during the next week.

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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