Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seedlings - Spring has Sprung

The previous blog with the photo of my hand patting down the seeds has produced results! Yay! It is like giving birth all over again (without the icky parts) watching these little sweeties sticking their heads above the soil.

Once you have the teeniest bit of green you should remove the plastic dome from your seedlings or they will start to mold. Do not water from the top, but rather soak them in a pan of water so that they can take up moisture at root level without getting their foliage damp. Add a tiny bit of 'Plant Prod' 10-52-10 fertilizer to the water to encourage good root development. Yes, Plant Prod is the superior fertilizer even tho they have not sunk the same money into their advertising budget as the 'Miracle Gro' people. Place your seedlings in a coolish, but not cold, area of your house in a bright window or under grow lights.

The first set of leaves are not true leaves but just the storage vessel for the sugar and starch that the seedlings need to get their life started. Do not move seedlings out of the flats till they grow their second set of leaves called the True Leaves. These will have a very different appearance than the cotyledons (first set of leaves).

Stayed tuned for the transplanting blog which will be posted later in the week.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Planting Seed

The seed are then pressed firmly into the soil. Most seeds need light to germinate so they do not need to be covered with soil. Only cover seed when the seed pack says it needs dark for germination. We use a germinating chamber however, this may be mimicked at home by using a plastic cover until the seeds sprout. Remove cover as soon as sprouting occurs and keep your seedlings in a coolish place with lots of light. Light tables are acceptable but plants will still stretch if the correct light bulbs are not used.
We use germinating flats (make sure flats are sterilized with 1 part javex to 9 parts water) and broadcast our seed over the damp soil.
The greenhouse started the furnaces two weeks ago. With the price of oil this year we are doing our best to make those Arab states even wealthier. I almost threw up when I got the bill last week.

We have started seeding so if there is anybody at home who wants to try growing their own plants from seed, you can do so along with us. Note to Brenda... start your leek now. Here is a photo of Paige mixing sterilized soil, a necessity for planting seeds. We use Pro Mix or Sunshine Mix for best results. If you do not use sterilized soil, you risk getting a disease call 'Damp Off' in your plants so don't mince money in that department.