Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sowing Your Own Seeds – Part III

On a Feeding Schedule
Now that the plant has sprouted and gone through the food supply provided by the seed itself, you’re responsible for feeding the burgeoning baby plant. You should feed your seedlings one-quarter strength plant food. If the solution is too strong, it will burn the baby plant. Use room temperature water when you are watering your plant.

Seed Starting Supplies - Seed Starting KitAfter the little plants have formed their second set of real leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into bigger pots. Dislodge the soil using a fork or pencil and gently lift the plant out of the pot, then dangle the plant over its new pot and sprinkle the roots with soil. Once your seedlings have grown a few more inches, they’ll be ready to face the great outdoors. You have to introduce them slowly, however, through a process called hardening off. We’ll go over this process in our next blog post!

Thompson & Morgan Seed Starting Kit

Looking for an easier way to start seeds? I’m really excited about our new Seed Starting Kit. We’ve assembled the absolute best way to start seeds. You’ll get healthy and hearty plants every time! The best part is it’s clean…no fussing with messy potting soil or Dixie cups.

Our Seed Starting Kit allows you to quickly, easily and successfully start all kinds of seeds. Each kit contains everything you need for fast germination and vital root growth. The soil-less grow plugs are made of natural, biodegradable materials so that each plug can be directly transplanted into the garden greatly reducing transplant shock. Each grow plug contains beneficial bacteria to aid in maximum seed germination.

The lightweight 55-cell growing tray wraps each grow plug in warmth and floats them in the water-filled reservoir tray, allowing each seed to get the perfect water-to-air ratio. The humidity dome holds in the warmth and moisture, ensuring early and uniform seed germination
I recently had the opportunity to give the Seed Starting Kit a try, and let me tell you, it works! This is by far the easiest method I have ever used. It allows me to do more – and easily. Give it a try today!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sowing Your Own Seeds – Part II

Some Like It Warm

To sprout, most seeds prefer a temperature between 70 and 85 degrees (for specific temperatures, see the back of your seed packet). Seeds can be kept in any place that offers warmth. Windowsills can also work, but be sure to check them for drafts that could potentially end your seedling’s short life. You can check by running a lighter or candle along your windowsills; if the light flickers or goes out, you know you’ve got a serious draft. If your windowsills prove to be too drafty, you can use artificial lights. The heat provided by an ordinary shop light offers plenty of warmth for germinating seeds. Once you’ve found a cozy spot for your seeds, it’s time to cover them with plastic (to keep in moisture) and wait for them to send their shoots above the soil line.

Vegetable SeedsThey’re Alive!
Immediately following your first sprouts, remove the plastic covering to get essential oxygen to the young’uns. These sprouts are not “true leaves”; they’re cotyledons, which existed within the seed and fed your plant during germination. You’re on the right track; true leaves will appear soon. Remember, even though they’ve sprouted, your seeds still need temperatures in the 60-to-80-degree range to ensure proper growth. Seeds also need light at this stage. If you’re growing with natural light, make sure the containers are raised a little above the sill to minimize the “stretching” seedlings can experience in their efforts to get enough light, and turn then regularly to keep them from growing lopsided.

Artificial light provided by fluorescent shop tubes or grow lights (household incandescent lights don’t offer the right light spectrum for plants) work best, just make sure they offer a combination of warm white and cool white light. Artificial light should be kept 1 – 4” above your seedlings’ tops. Pulley systems work especially well, because you can adjust the lights as the seedlings grow. Seedlings need roughly 16 hours of exposure daily; using a timer on the lights is the easiest way to achieve this. Some gardeners leave the lights on continuously and say their plants have suffered no ill affects. The choice is yours; consult your seed packet for lighting instructions.