Growing Plants from Seed

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    There are a variety of Annual plants that are easy to grow from seeds.

    The two biggest advantages from growing your annuals from seed are enjoying the full life cycle of the plant and saving money.

    If you are new to gardening you may want to start with seed packets. Most plant types available in seed are hybridized plants and will grow quickly and produce great flowers and large fruits. Once you aquire the basic skills of maintaining your garden you can start harvesting your own seeds from peppers, tomatos, cantalope and other vegetables and flowers.

    Starting your plants inside is a great way to improve your results and extend your harvest time.

    Purchase your seeds the same year that you will be planting so they are fresh.
    Buy in late winter, early spring as soon as seeds are available in the stores.

    Start your seeds indoors about 45 days before you plan on transplanting them.

    If you reuse plastic planters from the year before you will need to disinfect them. A 10% bleach solution should kill most molds and bacteria. Follow with clean water and allow to dry.You can purchase Peat Pots or you can find or make your own seed starters.
    Plants will need cube of soil about 2″x2″x2″ to grow good roots.
    Plastic rectangular trays can devided it into sections with clean cardboard – no paint, ink or wax coatings. Don’t use metal containers.

    Fill your planters to about 1/2 inch from the top with a sterile potting soil then add three or four seeds to each division in your planter box. Cover with an additional 1/4 inch of soil and water lightly to not disturb the seeds.

    Good sunlite is a must, windows providing south or southwest exposure are best. Screens, special coatings on windows, blinds and the winter change of the Suns path all contribute to lower light so make sure you place your plantings in a area that gets the most sun throughout the day.

    Normal room temperature should be about 70F to 75F. Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuses and Cabbages will need extra warmth to germanate.

    Once your plants have matured to the point they are ready for transplanting you should harden them by reducing water and if you can set them outside durring the day for a week before planting.

    Growing directly in the garden.

    If your growing season is long enough you can start your seeds right in the garden soil. This is really the easiest method for most people.

    Planting is very similar to planting indoors except you must start later in the season and when sowing your seed you must make sure to maintain proper distances between plants to provide enough room for growth.

    Prepair your soil about a week before you want to plant. Add organic material like garden compost (not tree bark), Peat Moss or manure to improve the quality of the soil. Use a soil fork or roto-tiller to turn in the additives and airate your soil. If you will be planting root vegetables like Carrots make sure the soil is prepaired about a foot deep but most other plants require only 4 to 6 inches for propper root growth and drainage.

    If needed add some lime or chemical fertilizer.

    Water the soil lightly a few times to let it settle.

    After about a week you can make your rows about a half inch deep with a stick or garden troul.

    Some plants are best planted in rows like beans and peas.

    When you plant seeds in rows you can give more room between the rows then along its path. I like to plant beans in rows about 8 inches apart and then fill the row with seeds one seed every 3 to 4 inches. This provided enough room for the plant to grow but close spacing down the row makes the plants suport each other.

    Lettus, Radishes Carrots and Spinach are plants that like to be broadcast seeded. If you are planting a very large garden maybe a half or quarter acre in size then you will plant on mounded rows but for small backyard gardens these plants are best in beds.

    Prepare the soil and then scrape off about an inch of dirt and place it in a pile next to your planting bed. Use your garden rake to make a textured surface to accept the seed and then empty the packet of seed into the palm of your hand.

    You want to evenly distribute the seed over the top of the whole bed. From a distance of about 2 or 3 feet high take a pinch of seed and toss it in a sweeping motion to distribute it. Continue untill you have filled the whole planting bed.

    Now take the soil that you scraped off and saved and distribute that evenly across the top of the bed to cover the seed about a half inch deep.

    Later as the seeds grow you can thin them back to provide proper spacing if needed. When lettus is grown close together it is nice to be able to thin back plants early in the season and get your first taste from the garden.

    Constant watering is necessary durring germination and initial growth.
    You should water untill the soil is wet about an inch deep one or 2 times a day.

    Watering more then this is just a waste.

    Also you can conserve water and reduce germination of weeds by watering along the rows and not so much the space between them. Drip irrigation is great to target just your plants with water.

    Planting your garden with seeds is an easy way to get the most bang for the buck.

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