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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'

Saturday, April 28, 2012

STARTING SEED INDOORS

If you are not sure when to plant your seed, look on the seed pack for precise planting times for your zone, and your last frost free date.

HEAT LOVING PLANTS: The most important seed I start indoors are the heat loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, basil, eggplants such. These should be started about 8 weeks indoors prior to your last frost date.

FLOWERS: You may also want to start certain flower seed indoors as well about 8-12 weeks before your last frost date. I like to broadcast them directly in the garden about 3 weeks before the last frost date, and then add 2” of compost over them and water in gently. By the time they germinate, the weather will be just about the right time for frost to be past. I have had great success doing it this way.

SQUASH BEANS & MELONS: can be started indoors 4 weeks before your last frost date. You can also direct sow, (plant them directly in your garden) after all danger of frost has passed.

HERBS: Start indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date.

COOL WEATHER CROPS: Radishes, spinach, lettuce, parsnips, peas and carrots can all be directly sown outdoors, as soon as the ground can be worked.

LIGHTS- You can buy those 4’ shop lights and use a combo of cool white and warm light bulbs for your fixture. You could use those special grow lights if you wanted to, but the cool & warm lights would do. Once seed germinates, keep lights 6” from seedlings at all times.

CONTAINERS- ALWAYS use clean, sterilized containers for planting seed otherwise you risk passing along disease and fungus to your seedlings, threatening damping off disease and such. You can re-use old containers, just wash them in hot water with a little bleach first. Use a small container for your seed, such as mini 2” pots work great.

SOIL MIX- Use a prepared seedling mix, as it is lighter in texture. Regular potting soil is heavy and may hold too much moisture, thus rotting your seed.

PLANTING- Only bury the seed twice as deep as it is wide.

WATERING- Gently water in your seed. Do not soak the whole container, as the seed could rot. Keep an eye on the containers that they don’t dry out. Keep the container moistened, but not soaked.

TEMPERATURE- The temps should be around 70-75 degrees F.

FERTILIZING- Seeds do not need to be fertilized. Once seedlings have their 2nd set of true leaves, you can fertilize with a 1/4 strength water soluble fertilizer.

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