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Sowing Seeds

We are now prime time for many us to begin purchasing seed and making plans for your perfect garden for 2012. I'd like to provide a few tips on how to ensure you will be even more successful in your gardening endeavours.

Now is the time to start preparing for presowing perennials indoors if you can. Read your packets of seed to determine and calculate how long till they germinate. Seedlings can be transplanted to the outdoor location after the first and/or second set of true leaves appear and when the temperature of the soil allows for it.In most case two to 3 weeks should suffice.

Presowing indoors is a superb way to give your perennials a head start, this is especially true for those 1st year perennial plants that have the ability to produce a few flowers in their first year. (eg:) Delphinium,Foxglove,Dahlias,Snow in Summer and Cupids Dart to name just a few.

Setting out transplants of early sown plants including annuals herbs and vegetables can speed up production by many weeks and assists in increasing the yeilds of your perennial,herb and vegetable crops.

Germinating medium should be kept evenly moist at all times but never soaking wet. Small pots tend to dry out quick so it is important to check them often. Too much moisture can cause damping off or cause the seeds to rot before they have a chance to sprout. Too little water will not allow the seed to germinate properly or remain alive and healthy. If you can, apply bottom heat with heating cables or have a south facing window this will suffice. (Fridge tops also work well foro supplying bottome heat)

Before sowing your seed into your growing medium, we have found it most helpful to prewater the soil and let it drain throughly BEFORE you begin to sow your seeds.Once this is complete, sow the seeds as per the instruction depth on your packets. When needed use a fine sprayer to water newly planted seeds and tiny seedlings or, if possible, water from the bottom using drip trays. The practices above will ensure that the seeds do not get pushed to far into the soil which will hinder seeds germination ability.
Providing ample light after germination is a must to ensure your seedlings do not have to searh for light If they do, they may become leggy and unstable and this will not bode well for transplanting them to their outdoor location.

 

Transplanting

Once the plants are stable it is advisable to harden off the seedlings. This is accomplished by moving the plants outside on warmer days, into a lightly shaded location. This will allow the plants to adjust to a new environment with wind,brighter light and cooler temperatures. Each day allow the seedlings to stay outside for slightly longer periods and move then into a slightly brighter location. Be sure to bring the plants indoors in the evening and check them throughly for insects. Seedlings are a delicacy for slugs and bugs and they may hide between your pots and your drip trays.

Before you transplant, be sure all chance of frost has passed. Many plants are frost tolerant, but only once they are established. Choose a suitable location for your plants by using the seed packet as your guide. PLease note that even though working in the garden on a hot and sunny day is desirble for you, this is not so for your seedlings. A partially or fully clouded day is best, so your seedlings do not suffer from the burn of the hot sun.

Be sure to water the area thoroughly and deeply that you wish to transplant to. This will encourage the roots to search out the water that is deeper into the ground and prevent your plants from developing shallow roots. Place transplant into a hole about 1/4 of an inch deep and pat down firmly. Depressing the soil slighlty around the newly transplanted seedling will assist in trapping moisture, assiting you in your watering routine. It is advisable to check the moisture content of the soil around the transplanted area on a daily basis for at least one week.  


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