Spring into Planting!
The air is starting to warm up and even though Mother Nature can be quite moody this time of year, those sunny days have you thinking about beautiful flowers bursting with color and fresh garden veggies! You don’t have to wait to start planting; now is the perfect time to plant seeds and get a jump start on summer. Here are some tips from the pros at Colonial Gardens to help you turn your dreams into reality this year.
Picture Your Garden
This is the fun part! Are you wanting a butterfly garden to attract nature’s living art or a garden that will give you fresh goodness all summer long? Have an idea in mind before you pick out your seeds.
All seed packets will have recommendations on how many days they require to harvest or maturity. If you work backwards from that number, you can find a pretty accurate seed starting date.
For instance, if your seed packet says the tomatoes require 6-8 weeks before transplanting, and you know it is not safe to plant outdoors until mid May, a reasonable time to sow your seeds indoors would be late March. Many summer vegetables are good to start indoors to get an early start on the season. An advantage to planting transplants in the garden is they are ahead of those pesky weeds which makes your garden easier to maintain.
Good vegetables to start indoors:
Planting your seeds:
1. Put your seeds in a fine potting or germination mix.
Consult the seed packet for recommendations on seeding depth
2. Use a pencil, or even your finger to make a depression and place one seed in each planting cell.
3. Cover lightly with a germination mix.
4. Water thoroughly, but carefully, to ensure the entire cell is wet. Future watering does not need to be nearly as deep, but should be consistent.
5. Remember that once the seed is wet, the germination process has started.
If the seedling dries out, it will quickly die.
Not too hot or too cold: Most seeds will germinate fine in typical house temperatures but may benefit from the addition of bottom heat in a garage or cool greenhouse. Aim for 70-80 degrees to ensure good germination.
Continue watering and observing your seedlings as they change daily: A low-strength liquid fertilizer should be applied once true leaves have emerged. Use caution as strong fertilizer could burn the tender, newly formed roots. One effortless way to not overuse is to “fertilize weakly, weekly”. Use ¼ of the recommended strength each week.
Once the soil temperatures warm up and the fear of frost has passed, take your beautiful, healthy seedlings
outside and plant them in your garden or landscape. Continue to water and fertilize them throughout the growing season. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
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