Welcome to my World

This blog is filled with the things I love. Family, Nature, gardening, my pets, cooking in the fireplace, all things vintage, and the simple pleasures in life. Being a farmgirl at heart, I consider myself a 'Modern Day Laura'

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Starting Seed indoors

STARTING YOUR SEED INDOORS

There is nothing more wonderful your own plants from seed. Growing them is easy. It is also less expensive to grow your own than buy from the store. Here I will give you the steps needed to start your seed indoors. It’s a fun and educating experience; especially for children.

What you’ll need:
• Clean 4” pots for starting your seed (or make your own from newspapers)
• Labels
• A light source such as a fluorescent light
• Fresh seed (not over 5 years is recommended, if you’ve stored them properly)
• Seed germinating mix

Here’s what you do:
• Read your recommended start date for your planting zone – and at the appropriate time before your last frost date, prepare your containers by filling them ¾ full with soil. Do not press the soil down compacting it, but lightly press down; or tap the pot against the table to settle the soil a bit.
• Prepare your labels by putting name of seed, and the date you are planting them.
• Place the seed in the middle of each pot, and push it gently bury them as deep as they are wide- into the soil.
• Water just a little bit, you don’t want to soak the whole pot, as this will only rot the seed. You want just enough so the seed can absorb some moisture.
• Keep this pot in a warm place, to aid in germination.
• Every other day, check the moisture content of the pot. Add a tiny bit of water as needed…maybe once per week.
• Some seed needs light to germinate, others don’t- check the requirements for your seed. Once seed has germinated, which can be in several days; place the pot under a fluorescent light. This will help the seedling grow strong. Without light, the seedling will eventually wither away and die.
• Be very careful watering your seedling. Too much water will rot it. Water sparingly. There is no need to fertilize at this point, as the seed provides the nutrition to the seedling at this point.
• Once the seedling gets it’s 2nd set of leaves, and they are fully emerged, you can fertilize with a weak solution of a water soluble feed. Feed it at a strength of only ¼ of what you normally would. Again, be careful of how much moisture you give, as too much wetness can cause damping off disease.
• A couple of weeks before you are able to set plants outside, put them outside for several hours a day to harden them off. This simply means to acclimate them to the outside temps, lessening the shock they may feel if you were to suddenly place them outside instead.
• Also, prior to placing your transplants outside permanently, do a soil test. Work plenty of organic matter into the soil to ensure proper nutrition for big healthy plants.
• Be sure to place your transplants in a location where they will get at least 6 hours of direct sun a day.
• Feed your plants every 2 weeks with a plant feed of your choice. Side dress your plant with cow manure a couple of times throughout the growing season is also recommended. Be sure to provide consistent moisture to produce a nice crop. I like to run a soaker hose with a timer, on my plants every day, for about an hour. It is a healthier way to water, without getting the leaves all wet, causing fungal diseases. I just set my timers every morning before leaving work. It is simple, and works excellent.

That’s really all there is to it. In the end you will be rewarded with a bountiful crop that you’ll be proud to show off to your friends. My friends and family are amazed by the food crops I grow. I love harvesting dinner right out of my backyard. I also love sharing it with my family and friends.

Tomatoes are going for $3.99 a lb in the store; and on top of that, offer little to no taste. I am motivated even more to grow my own tomato plants from seed, which costs pennies in comparison to buying those tomatoes, and tastes 100% better
If you are interested in purchasing other seed from me, send me an email and I will send you a list of what else I have available. Refer a friend, and get free seed with your next order!


Connie McCaffery

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