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Garden Seeds & Reproduction


Seeds
Starting Seeds
Seed Germination
Seeds Indoors Cuttings
Potting Soil
Potting Soil
GrowLights

Videos-->
Companion Planting
Seed Sources
Hardening Off
Timing
Planting Time Ref

Seeds


Cuttings

Potting Soil

**Video: Larry Hall--Making your own inexpensive potting mix

Video: Best Potting Soil Recipe

**Video: How to Make Square Foot Gardening Soil Mix - in Real Time

Video: How to Make Your Own Seed Starting Mix and Potting Mix: Save 75% - The Rusted Garden 2014

Video: Making Low Cost Potting Soil

Secrets to a successfull urban garden with little work

How to Grow a lot of Food in a Small Garden - 9 EZ tips

10 Gardening Products & Practices I’ve Abandoned & Why good ideas

One Yard Revolution videos


Seed sources

Botanical Interests

Spinach Monstrueux de Viroflay HEIRLOOM Seeds Spinacia oleracea Item #0223 $1.79. See article in Sep. Texas Gardener. "28-50 days. Also known as simply, "Viroflay", the huge, deep green, tender leaves are a spinach lover’s delight! Give it a bit more room in your plot; the plant can get up to 2' wide, and with 10" long, tender leaves, spinach production is a snap! Extremely vigorous, and particularly good for fall sowings. Use the thinned seedlings fresh in salads."

Bok Choy Tatsoi Rosette HEIRLOOM Seeds Brassica rapa var. rosularis Item #0145 $1.69. "45 days. The spoon-shaped, dark green, evenly spaced leaves make Tatsoi a plant worthy to be grown for its decorative value alone! More nutritious (high calcium and vitamin content) and stronger (slightly mustard-like) flavor than traditional bok choy; many consider it a superior flavor! Believed to be of very ancient origin. Very cold tolerant; withstands down to 15°F. Tatsoi can be harvested from under the snow!"

Bok Choy Toy Choy Seeds Brassica rapa (Chinensis group, hybrid) Item #0247 $2.39. "30-35 days. Also called Pak Choi, this leafy green has been cultivated in Asia for centuries. A miniature variety, Toy Choy grows just 5" tall and is ready to harvest in as few as 30 days. The thick, white stems and glossy, dark green leaves are tender and crisp. Tolerates warm weather better than full size types. Small plants are ideal for growing in containers.

Kohlrabi Purple & White Vienna Blend HEIRLOOM Seeds Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes group) Item #0177$1.69. "55 days. It may look like a space alien has landed in your garden, but you’ll welcome not only Kohlrabi’s unusual shape (a great conversation starter) but also its juicy, crisp texture and delicious flavor in salads and slaws. Also try it steamed, sautéed or stir-fried. Its flavor has been described as similar to apples, mild turnips, broccoli stems, radish and cucumber.

Cabbage Chinese One Kilo Slow Bolt Seeds Brassica rapa var. pekinensis (hybrid) Item #0276 $2.39. "50-55 days. Also called Napa cabbage, One Kilo Slow Bolt has a delicate flavor, a soft texture in between that of lettuce and regular cabbage, and is easy to digest. This variety produces sooner than other varieties and is slow to bolt. Ideal for short seasons and quick cropping. Sow in spring or in late summer for a fall crop of full-sized cabbages. Grows best at 60°F - 65°F."

Facebook: Botanical Interests

BI blog

BI Articles

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds [Rare Seeds]
Burpee [no live plants]
Davids Seeds [in SAT-heirloom]
Grow Organic [Peaceful]
Gurney's
Johnny's Seeds [cover]
PanAmerican Seed S.CA,Ind.
Sample Seeds Shop
SeedsNOW
Seed Savers Exchange
Todd's Sprouting Seeds
Urban Farmer Seeds Indiana
Wildseed Farms in Fred. wildflowers et al.

Victory Seeds [Oregon] Recommended by National Gardening Association: "Are you growing vegetables this year? We recommend you check out the new varieties being offered by our friends at Victory Seed Company. They have many interesting (and reasonably priced) varieties you have probably never heard of before. This year, try a new tomato, pepper, or winter squash. You will be delighted to see the unusual new vegetables and you will enjoy growing historical heirlooms with links to our past. Visit their new varieties page to see pictures. Most seed packets are under $3.



Planting Time References

White Flower Farm See plant descr. then click on Growing guide

West Coast Seeds see plant descr. then go to Growing Guides

Johnny's Select Seeds


Timing

Plant Hardiness:

By Zip 1st freeze 11/12... last freeze 3/20

USDA 8b 1st freeze 12/1... last freeze 3/1

Rainbow Gardening by the Month


Seed Germination

How to Get Better Germination From Your Seeds

1. Don't overwater your seeds.

4. Protect your newly planted seeds by using bird netting.

5. Don't plant your seeds too deep.

6. Protect your seedlings against "dampening off". Sterile soil, adequate air circulation.

IT’S EASY TO CARE FOR SEEDS PLANTED IN POTS

Containers recycled from previous uses should be first sterilized by soaking in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water.

carefully shake three or four seeds into each pot, allowing at least 1/2 inch between each of them

The tiniest seeds can slide out too quickly so, for better control, I fold a small piece of stiff white paper in half, pour the seeds into the strip, and dole them out by lightly tapping the paper strip.

If the seeds are large enough to easily see, I use my fingertip (making sure it’s dry so seeds don’t adhere to it) to push each seed gently against the moist, soilless mix, so it makes good contact.

Instead of burying the seeds, I use a sieve to cover them with a thin layer of the reserved seed-starting mix.

If the seeds require light to germinate, I don’t cover them at all.

It’s important to keep the seed-starting medium moist to speed germination; I use a very fine mist to water the pots from above, or pour water into the tray and let the pots soak it up from the bottom.

15 Clever Gardening Tricks Plastic forks to deter pets and animals,

Seed Starting Basics Good news! Seed starting is amazingly easy, consumes little time, energy and money, and brings you a whole new level of gardening satisfaction. It’s an adventure that, once begun, leads you to a brand-new sense of pride and joy in the plants you grow.

If you have been buying mainstream seedlings down at your garden center each spring, mail-order seed offerings are a real eye-opener. There are dozens, indeed, hundreds of varieties to explore. The only difference is you’ll be raising them! Fans of seed starting often tout how much money they save. True, seed packets tend to be fairly inexpensive compared to bedding plants, which have time, effort and storage factored into their pricing. And seeds can lead to a lot of small plants.

Still looking for an excellent reason to raise your own plants? By giving them a little TLC from seed to planting, you know the seedlings are well rooted because you’ve seen them grow day to day and tended to their needs. The seed-lings will be naturally husky if you raise them in good soil at the proper distance from a light source and you don’t hurry them along with chemicals. You’ll also know they’re healthy because the soil-borne diseases that sometimes plague big operations are easily prevented at home.

First, know when to start the seeds indoors based on your last spring frost. Second, you should know how long it takes from seed planting until the time it produces flowers or fruit. This helps you decide if the plant is suited for your climate and if it must be started indoors for longest bloom and greatest productivity once moved outdoors.

Prepare a spot to grow them. In milder climates, gardeners are able to sow seeds in a cold frame or greenhouse, if they have one. The rest of us have to make do indoors.

The best spot to grow seeds is in an area out of the path of household traffic. You won’t want people bumping into your tender sprouts, or curious pets coming around. It should also be a spot that is warm and out of drafts. A basement, sunporch or spare room are all good options. Some people even raise seeds on the tops of dressers, cabinets or refrigerators! Think I’m kidding? The top of the refrigerator is an excellent place to grow seedlings because it generates a little warmth. Many seeds germinate better with some heat.

Provide sufficient light. Some seeds germinate under a thin layer of soil mix, some are pressed lightly right on top, but in all cases the seedlings that sprout will require between 12 and 16 hours of light per day. Sunlight from a window is not at all ideal. It’s pale and limited in late winter and early spring. To make it work, you’ll need artificial light. Fluorescent is best, and a timer at the outlet will help you regulate the hours it is shining on your baby plants. Given these two critical requirements – location and light – some gardeners purchase a seed-starting setup for their house, while others make their own.

Planting seeds indoors is not as hard as you think if you keep these simple tips in mind…

Begin with damp (but not drenched) sterile seed-starting mix, filling containers about three-fourths full. Tamp the surface flat and level with the flat of your hand or a small piece of wood before sowing.

Read the backs of seed packets for the information you need about sowing depth (or whether the seeds need light to germinate). The backs of seed packets have a wealth of important information, such as how far apart to sow the seeds, how many days they usually take to germinate and when to plant outdoors. Sow carefully by hand. A pencil tip can be a very helpful tool when placing small seeds.

Don’t sow too many seeds. This can lead to a forest of seedlings growing too thickly for you to thin without damaging them. Make little furrows if you’re using flats, spacing seeds up to an inch apart (closer if they are tiny seeds).

Cover seeds with plastic. Do this the very day you plant. This holds in warmth and humidity, giving the seeds the best chance of absorbing moisture and getting going. Don’t seal tightly, though. That causes condensed water to drip back down onto the mix, making things too soggy.

Check on the seeds daily. The planting mix must not dry out, or seeds’ growth will immediately halt. The best way to keep seedlings evenly, consistently moist is with bottom watering. Just set the container into a few inches of water (in the sink or in a tray) and let it wick up what water it needs before returning the container to its designated spot.

It usually takes a week or two for the first little leaves to poke up their heads. But what a thrill it is to see them! Once they begin to sprout:

Snip away extras. When the first true leaves appear, use sharp scissors to snip some weaker seedlings right at soil level. The properly spared survivors gain better air circulation, important for their health, and their roots won’t have to compete for precious nutritional resources.

Water from above with a fine spray as the seedlings grow bigger. The plastic covering can be shifted on and off as your developing plants need ventilation. After a while, they’ll be too tall and you’ll have to remove it completely.

Fertilize seedlings after they germinate with a diluted flowering houseplant fertilizer (about 50 percent of the recommended dilution). Do this about every 2 weeks or less until you begin “hardening off” outdoors. When seedlings are husky, well-rooted (tug gently on the leaves, never the stem, to check) and several inches high, it’s time to get them ready for outdoor life.

In their original containers or transplanted into new individual pots, they may be moved outside in late spring to a sheltered spot out of the sun. Bring them indoors or cover them on chilly nights or if a frost threatens. A few days or a week of gradually introducing them to the sun and outdoors makes them much better prepared for life in your garden.

Damping off: This refers to a fungal disease that attacks developing seedlings, causing them to shrivel and die right at soil level. The fungi thrive in stagnant air and high humidity. The best ways to prevent this problem are to use clean containers and sterile mix and to monitor your seedlings, removing the plastic covering if the environment is too damp and…not to overwater! Seedlings affected by damping off must be discarded; start over with a more sterile, less humid setup.

Pricking off: Once seedlings are a few inches high, they may start to outgrow their quarters. They need to be carefully lifted out or “pricked off.” Depending on how little they are and how closely you sowed, you can use your fingers, tweezers, a fork or a small stick. Gingerly tease interwoven roots apart. Move each plant carefully to its own pot, where it will enjoy more root room and better air circulation.

Hardening off: After the threat of frost has passed, it’s time to get your babies ready for outdoor life in the garden. Move your seedlings outside to an area sheltered from the sun and wind. Bring them indoors or cover on chilly nights or if frost threatens. Stop fertilizing your plants and gradually increase the amount of sun they receive each day for a week or so. They should be ready to place into the garden once the soil is slightly dry rather than waterlogged.

GROW SEEDLINGS FOR TRANSPLANTING Lee Reich. Does it all outside.

Garden Planting Guide Most soil mixes consisting of peat, perlite, and vermiculite are excellent seed sowing media for bedding plants. Besides light and moisture, seeds need warmth to germinate well. A soil temperature of 70°F is sufficient for most crops. Please see the planting depth of most seeds for optimal conditions. Some seeds prefer growing just below the soil including most vegetables, herbs and flowers. Although some flower seeds need light to germinate and should be placed on top of the so

Direct Sow Seeds Sow these seeds directly into the garden and watch them take off. Direct sow seeds are easier to start outdoors than other seeds. Known for high germination rates and fast growing habits. These warm-season vegetables take little effort to start and produce high yields of lettuce, beans, cucumber, squash, peas and more.

8151 Starting Seeds foodborne illnesses from seeds. http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8151.pdf

For maximum safety it is recommended that you disinfect the outside of your seeds and your sprouting container prior to sprouting.

There are many methods of seed preparation ranging from rinsing with hot water or soaking in hot hydrogen peroxide, to washing with vinegar, a diluted bleach solution, or grapefruit seed extract. The current recommendation to use in the home from the University of California-Davis is to treat seed by heating on a stove for 5 minutes in a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide (available in drug stores and pharmacies) at 140°F. It is important to maintain this temperature using a clean, accurate cooking thermometer. Exceeding this temperature may damage or kill seeds resulting in poor germination. Remove seed and rinse under running room temperature water for 1 minute. Discard the hydrogen peroxide solution and do not reuse. For more information see the publication 8151 Growing Sprouts at Home. [ above]

To reduce the risk of contamination in the home we recommend that sprouts are grown in clean, sanitized containers away from areas of other food preparation and pets. People in high-risk categories such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are advised not to eat raw sprouts.



Starting Seeds

Rob's Baggy Method It's quite simple, really: enclose seeds within a folded dampened filter paper or other moist medium, place this in a zip-lock baggy, and wait for it to germinate.

Rob on Starting Seeds


GardenWeb: The Baggy Method

"How to Winter Sow Seeds Outdoors"


Seeds are smart, though, and fall or spring, they’ll only germinate when the soil is right. To spare the guessing game, Jeff picks your #1 tool: an inexpensive soil thermometer. From Fall into Winter Vegetables CTG

Seed Starting Basics Good news! Seed starting is amazingly easy, consumes little time, energy and money, and brings you a whole new level of gardening satisfaction. It’s an adventure that, once begun, leads you to a brand-new sense of pride and joy in the plants you grow.

If you have been buying mainstream seedlings down at your garden center each spring, mail-order seed offerings are a real eye-opener. There are dozens, indeed, hundreds of varieties to explore. The only difference is you’ll be raising them! Fans of seed starting often tout how much money they save. True, seed packets tend to be fairly inexpensive compared to bedding plants, which have time, effort and storage factored into their pricing. And seeds can lead to a lot of small plants.

Still looking for an excellent reason to raise your own plants? By giving them a little TLC from seed to planting, you know the seedlings are well rooted because you’ve seen them grow day to day and tended to their needs. The seed-lings will be naturally husky if you raise them in good soil at the proper distance from a light source and you don’t hurry them along with chemicals. You’ll also know they’re healthy because the soil-borne diseases that sometimes plague big operations are easily prevented at home.


First, know when to start the seeds indoors based on your last spring frost. Second, you should know how long it takes from seed planting until the time it produces flowers or fruit. This helps you decide if the plant is suited for your climate and if it must be started indoors for longest bloom and greatest productivity once moved outdoors.

Prepare a spot to grow them. In milder climates, gardeners are able to sow seeds in a cold frame or greenhouse, if they have one. The rest of us have to make do indoors.

The best spot to grow seeds is in an area out of the path of household traffic. You won’t want people bumping into your tender sprouts, or curious pets coming around. It should also be a spot that is warm and out of drafts. A basement, sunporch or spare room are all good options. Some people even raise seeds on the tops of dressers, cabinets or refrigerators! Think I’m kidding? The top of the refrigerator is an excellent place to grow seedlings because it generates a little warmth. Many seeds germinate better with some heat.

Provide sufficient light. Some seeds germinate under a thin layer of soil mix, some are pressed lightly right on top, but in all cases the seedlings that sprout will require between 12 and 16 hours of light per day. Sunlight from a window is not at all ideal. It’s pale and limited in late winter and early spring. To make it work, you’ll need artificial light. Fluorescent is best, and a timer at the outlet will help you regulate the hours it is shining on your baby plants. Given these two critical requirements – location and light – some gardeners purchase a seed-starting setup for their house, while others make their own.

Planting seeds indoors is not as hard as you think if you keep these simple tips in mind…

Begin with damp (but not drenched) sterile seed-starting mix, filling containers about three-fourths full. Tamp the surface flat and level with the flat of your hand or a small piece of wood before sowing.

Read the backs of seed packets for the information you need about sowing depth (or whether the seeds need light to germinate). The backs of seed packets have a wealth of important information, such as how far apart to sow the seeds, how many days they usually take to germinate and when to plant outdoors. Sow carefully by hand. A pencil tip can be a very helpful tool when placing small seeds.

Don’t sow too many seeds. This can lead to a forest of seedlings growing too thickly for you to thin without damaging them. Make little furrows if you’re using flats, spacing seeds up to an inch apart (closer if they are tiny seeds).

Cover seeds with plastic. Do this the very day you plant. This holds in warmth and humidity, giving the seeds the best chance of absorbing moisture and getting going. Don’t seal tightly, though. That causes condensed water to drip back down onto the mix, making things too soggy.

Check on the seeds daily. The planting mix must not dry out, or seeds’ growth will immediately halt. The best way to keep seedlings evenly, consistently moist is with bottom watering. Just set the container into a few inches of water (in the sink or in a tray) and let it wick up what water it needs before returning the container to its designated spot.

It usually takes a week or two for the first little leaves to poke up their heads. But what a thrill it is to see them! Once they begin to sprout:

Snip away extras. When the first true leaves appear, use sharp scissors to snip some weaker seedlings right at soil level. The properly spared survivors gain better air circulation, important for their health, and their roots won’t have to compete for precious nutritional resources.

Water from above with a fine spray as the seedlings grow bigger. The plastic covering can be shifted on and off as your developing plants need ventilation. After a while, they’ll be too tall and you’ll have to remove it completely.

Fertilize seedlings after they germinate with a diluted flowering houseplant fertilizer (about 50 percent of the recommended dilution). Do this about every 2 weeks or less until you begin “hardening off” outdoors. When seedlings are husky, well-rooted (tug gently on the leaves, never the stem, to check) and several inches high, it’s time to get them ready for outdoor life.

In their original containers or transplanted into new individual pots, they may be moved outside in late spring to a sheltered spot out of the sun. Bring them indoors or cover them on chilly nights or if a frost threatens. A few days or a week of gradually introducing them to the sun and outdoors makes them much better prepared for life in your garden.

Damping off: This refers to a fungal disease that attacks developing seedlings, causing them to shrivel and die right at soil level. The fungi thrive in stagnant air and high humidity. The best ways to prevent this problem are to use clean containers and sterile mix and to monitor your seedlings, removing the plastic covering if the environment is too damp and…not to overwater! Seedlings affected by damping off must be discarded; start over with a more sterile, less humid setup.

Pricking off: Once seedlings are a few inches high, they may start to outgrow their quarters. They need to be carefully lifted out or “pricked off.” Depending on how little they are and how closely you sowed, you can use your fingers, tweezers, a fork or a small stick. Gingerly tease interwoven roots apart. Move each plant carefully to its own pot, where it will enjoy more root room and better air circulation.

Hardening off: After the threat of frost has passed, it’s time to get your babies ready for outdoor life in the garden. Move your seedlings outside to an area sheltered from the sun and wind. Bring them indoors or cover on chilly nights or if frost threatens. Stop fertilizing your plants and gradually increase the amount of sun they receive each day for a week or so. They should be ready to place into the garden once the soil is slightly dry rather than waterlogged.

GROW SEEDLINGS FOR TRANSPLANTING Lee Reich. Does it all outside.

Garden Planting Guide Most soil mixes consisting of peat, perlite, and vermiculite are excellent seed sowing media for bedding plants. Besides light and moisture, seeds need warmth to germinate well. A soil temperature of 70°F is sufficient for most crops. Please see the planting depth of most seeds for optimal conditions. Some seeds prefer growing just below the soil including most vegetables, herbs and flowers. Although some flower seeds need light to germinate and should be placed on top of the so

Direct Sow Seeds Sow these seeds directly into the garden and watch them take off. Direct sow seeds are easier to start outdoors than other seeds. Known for high germination rates and fast growing habits. These warm-season vegetables take little effort to start and produce high yields of lettuce, beans, cucumber, squash, peas and more.



Potting Soil

**Video: Larry Hall--Making your own inexpensive potting mix

Video: Best Potting Soil Recipe

**Video: How to Make Square Foot Gardening Soil Mix - in Real Time

Video: How to Make Your Own Seed Starting Mix and Potting Mix: Save 75% - The Rusted Garden 2014

Video: Making Low Cost Potting Soil

Secrets to a successfull urban garden with little work

How to Grow a lot of Food in a Small Garden - 9 EZ tips

10 Gardening Products & Practices I’ve Abandoned & Why good ideas

One Yard Revolution videos


Starting Seeds Indoors


Demesne: Starting Seeds Indoors



Germination--Starting Seeds


How To Grow Strawberries Year-Round For Free Instructables user lsadwdwadw recently shared their brilliant method of growing strawberries indoors.

All you need are a few materials that are likely lying around your house already, some sunlight, water and a little bit of elbow grease.

Ready to become a strawberry farmer? Keep reading for an easy tutorial!


Step 1: Extract Strawberry Seeds

What You’ll Need To Grow Strawberries Year-Round For Free

Cardboard toilet paper rolls
One fresh strawberry (from the garden, a shop, or from the wild)
A toothpick or similar “picking” object
Scissors or a knife
A container for carrying seedlings around
Soil
Transparent plastic bag or sheet of plastic
A digging implement (spoon, trowel, hands, etc)

Why spend money on strawberry seeds or seedlings when they come included with the fruit you love?

Using a toothpick or knife point, scrape at the seeds to dislodge them and remove them from the fruit.

“It is okay if a bit of the fruit’s flesh comes with the seed. I placed them on a piece of paper towel to help dry them out,” the author explains.


Step 2. Create Seedling Pots

Once your seeds are safely extracted, it’s time to build a place for them to germinate.

Rummage in your recycling bin for some clean, dry, cardboard tubes that are leftover from toilet paper or paper towels.

Cut the toilet paper roll in half using a scissor or knife. Then cut 1/2 inch long slits all along one edge of the roll. Fold each segment so that each one overlaps the previous segment, forming a small container that will hold dirt.


3. Add Soil

Loosely fill each seedling pot with soil.

“Once all the pots are filled, pour a little water in each pot, just so that the soil is wet, but not absolutely flooded with water. The soil will compact slightly as you water it,” explains the author.


Step 4: Germinate Your Seeds

Drop one or two strawberry seeds into each germination pot. Don’t cover them with soil, just leave them where they fall.

Place the seedling pots inside a small plastic container so that it’s easier to transport them, and place the entire container inside a see-through plastic bag or cover with a clear plastic dome. This helps keep the atmosphere around the seeds warm and humid while also allowing light to reach the soil.

Position your seedling pots in a place where they’ll get lots of sun, like a window sill. Water the pots lightly if soil gets dry to the touch.

“Varying greatly depending on the seed condition, variety, season and ambient temperature etc, your seeds will hopefully germinate and create small visible seedlings in around 2 to 3 weeks. The seeds that I sowed that are pictured actually created small visible seedlings in 11 days (UK, summertime),” explains the author.


Step 5: Transplant and/or Harvest

At some point, it’s best to transplant your strawberry seedlings into a bigger container where they can continue to grow all year round. You can plant the seedlings with their biodegradable toilet paper roll pots directly into a bigger pot, but be sure to carefully pull the pot apart slightly so it’s easy for roots to escape.

“When growing strawberries from seeds, the plant usually creates a crop of strawberries the following year. First the flowers will be produced, which then finally turn into strawberries. Patience is key!” explains the author. “A big tip is to pinch off the flowers (that eventually become strawberries) in the first year—this will allow the plant to become stronger and result in a significantly increased crop of strawberries in the following year.”

###

How to Get Better Germination From Your Seeds 1. Don't overwater your seeds.

Heavy, frequent watering can adversely affect the germination of your seeds. You want to make sure that the soil is moist to the touch but not soaking wet. Depending on the climate where you live, your watering schedule should be set up to ensure that you don't flood or overwater your newly planted seeds.

3. Protect the health of your seeds during storage.

Seeds that have been improperly stored from prior gardening seasons will lose their germination viability. Germination rates will go down if you do not store your seeds in a cool, dry place.

4. Protect your newly planted seeds by using bird netting.

Occasionally critters and birds will eat your newly planted seeds. Pay attention to the wildlife that you see frequently in your garden area and if you feel like the birds or squirrels could be eating your seeds once you've planted them, then secure the site of your planted seeds with some bird netting or fencing.

5. Don't plant your seeds too deep.

6. Protect your seedlings against "dampening off".

Dampening off is a disease that causes new seedlings to wither up and die. It is most likely caused by planting in non-sterile soil or overwatering your young seedlings. Make sure you use pots or trays with adequate air circulation.

7. Allow proper germination time for each variety planted.

All seeds germinate at different rates. Don't expect your lettuces and peppers to germinate at the same time even if you start them in the same tray. You may think a seed is no good if it doesn't germinate quickly, but just realize that some varieties can take a very long time before they sprout.

Jump Start Your Seeds Use these tricks to speed germination, then plant up some pots by Sally Roth

Maternal pride isn’t the only reward that I get from starting seeds. I’ve also gained a greener thumb and a fatter wallet—a packet of seeds provides 20 or more plants for the price of a single potted plant.

An overnight soak speeds the germination of all kinds of seeds. Avoid soakings longer than 24 hours to prevent rotting the seeds.

“Stratification” means supplying a period of moist cold to trick seeds into thinking that they’re experiencing winter. If you’re sowing indoors in spring, presoak the seeds, then place them in a zip-top, plastic, sandwich-size bag filled halfway with moist, seed-starting medium. Top off the seeds with another inch of moist medium, and then put the bag in an undisturbed corner of the refrigerator (at 34°F to 41°F). Check weekly for signs of germination. When the seeds begin to sprout roots, carefully transfer them to pots, fishing each seedling out of the bag with a spoon to keep soil around the new roots and to avoid disturbing delicate new growth. Then, care for them as you would any other seedlings.

“scarification,” means nicking the seed coat with a knife or sandpaper so that life-giving moisture can reach the seed’s embryo. If a seed is big, and I can’t dent it with a fingernail, I give it the knife. A small, sharp, pocketknife blade or a rat-tail file is ideal. Don’t go at it too zealously; you need to remove only a very small slice or section of seed coat. You can also line a jar with a sheet of sandpaper cut to fit, screw on the lid, and shake the jar like a maraca until the seed coats are abraded. Scarify seeds just before planting. Seeds nicked too long before planting may dry out and be worthless when they finally reach the soil.

IT’S EASY TO CARE FOR SEEDS PLANTED IN POTS

I plant most of my seeds—especially slow-growing perennials and annuals— in pots. It’s easier to care for the seedlings and there’s no weeding. You can identify a slow-starting plant by checking the seed packet. If it advises starting the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date, you have a slow starter.

Traditional advice is to plant seeds thickly in a flat or tray, then "prick out" individual seedlings for repotting into larger containers. But I prefer to start just a few seeds in 2-1/4-inch or larger pots, eliminating the need for transplanting altogether. I thin the emerging seedlings with scissors or just plant the whole cluster in the garden.

SOILLESS MIXES HELP PREVENT SEEDLING DISEASE

Eliminate the need for transplanting seedlings by sowing just a few seeds per pot.

I use a commercial “soilless” seed-starting mix—a blend of milled sphagnum moss, vermiculite, and other sterilized components—so I rarely have trouble with damping-off disease, a fungal problem that causes seedlings to wither and die. To prepare for planting, I pour all but a small portion of the mix into a large bowl and moisten it thoroughly with warm water. Next I fill the containers—plastic pots saved from my periodic nursery buying sprees—to 1/2 inch below the rim and gently pack the medium to eliminate air pockets. Containers recycled from previous uses should be first sterilized by soaking in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water.

carefully shake three or four seeds into each pot, allowing at least 1/2 inch between each of them. The tiniest seeds can slide out too quickly so, for better control, I fold a small piece of stiff white paper in half, pour the seeds into the strip, and dole them out by lightly tapping the paper strip. If the seeds are large enough to easily see, I use my fingertip (making sure it’s dry so seeds don’t adhere to it) to push each seed gently against the moist, soilless mix, so it makes good contact. Instead of burying the seeds, I use a sieve to cover them with a thin layer of the reserved seed-starting mix. If the seeds require light to germinate, I don’t cover them at all.

If I expect the seeds to germinate within a few days or weeks, I cover the pots with a sheet of plastic wrap, glass, or clear plastic to preserve moisture, and check daily. When sprouts appear, I remove the covering. I start a lot of seeds, and don’t worry about providing them with bottom heat to speed germination—I just try to keep things simple.


Once the pots are planted, I set them on a cookie sheet or other shallow tray for easy transport to a cold frame or other seed-starting area. The trays also make bottom watering easier. It’s important to keep the seed-starting medium moist to speed germination; I use a very fine mist to water the pots from above, or pour water into the tray and let the pots soak it up from the bottom.

YOUNG SPROUTS NEED LIGHT AND A LITTLE FERTILIZER

Since seedlings need light, I place trays of pots on south- or east-facing windowsills..

TOUGHEN UP SEEDLINGS, THEN PLANT THEM IN THE GARDEN

As soon as the seedlings have two or three pairs of true leaves, they’re ready to go out to the garden. But before pampered seedlings go out into the big, wide world, they need toughening up. The aim is to gradually acclimatize plants raised indoors to the rigors of outdoor life. Without this step, known as “hardening off,” tender plant tissues may be damaged by the unaccustomed stresses of sun, wind, and weather.

Begin by moving the seedlings outside to a shady spot protected from the wind and leaving them there for no longer than a couple of hours on the first day. Gradually lengthen their outdoor stays and move the plants into a sunnier spot, if that’s the exposure that they will eventually be planted in. After a week or so, the plants should be ready to go in the ground. A drizzly, gray day is perfect for transplanting—plants will be protected from the desiccating effect of the sun and the moisture will help them settle in quickly. If the weather won’t cooperate, plant late in the afternoon so seedlings get their start in the cool of the evening.

Water your plants well before transplanting them, and water the garden soil until it’s well-moistened but not sopping wet. Slide the plants out of their pots and into place, firm the soil around each with your fingers, and water with a fine mist. Be sure to keep the soil moist until the plants start growing well.

10 Seed-starting Tips

The Dirt: All About Starting Seeds

Plant Propagation 101


Grow Lights

Order:
Use XNET9488 for 10% discount at Gardeners' Supply. free shipping over $50

Stack-n-Grow Light System $169.00 Item# 8590139

Light is 31" L x 15-1/2" W x 21" H
Dimensions between the posts are 28" L and 12 1/4" W
Two 3' high-output, full-spectrum T5 bulbs & reflectors

Stack-n-Grow Light Add On $125.00 Item# 8590134

Light is 31" L x 15-1/2" W x 21" H
Dimensions between the posts are 28" L and 12 1/4" W
Lights are 36" L

Power Strip with Timer $34.95 Item# 38-972

4 timer-controlled outlets and 4 manual on/off outlets override on-off switch
36" power cord
Review: Timer is simple to setup but is restricted to only one time of day for all plugs.
Not usErik for the tiered grow lights it came with. Using this timer, all three shelves would have
to be on the same schedule.

Titan Controls 734150 Apollo 14 8-Outlet Power Strip with 24 Hour Timer, 120-volt 4* Amazon $25.40 free shipping

Heat Mat, 19” x 9” $39.95 Item# 34-357

Need 28" x 12" or two 14x12.

LATEST EDITION Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat 20.75”x10” Amazon 5* $19.88 & FREE Shipping

Forward-sell 10" X 20.75" Plant Seedling Heat Mat Amazon 5* $13.99 & FREE Shipping

Growerology Seedling Heat Mat 10" X 20.75" & Insulation Underlayment Amazon 5* $16.97 & FREE Shipping

Organic GrowEase Seed Starting Success Kit $39.95 Item# 8592393

Self-watering seed starting trays prevent over- and under-watering
Includes two 24-cell seed starters, organic seed starting mix and seedling markers
This complete seed starter kit includes two 24-cell GrowEase Seed Starters, 6 quarts of
Organic Seed Starting Mix and 24 wooden seedling markers. Just add seeds!
14-3/4" L x 9-1/4" W [28x12 is growlight]
Each cell is 2" square x 2-1/4" H
Germination dome is 2-3/4" H
Water reservoir holds 10 cups
Organic Seed-Starting Mix: Contains Bio-Blended Compost (composted manures and plant materials),
sphagnum peat moss, perlite, mineral and nutrient amendments

GrowEase Seed Starter Kit, 12 Cells $9.95 Item# 8589988

Self-watering; prevents over- and under-watering
Dishwasher-safe so it's easy to clean between uses
12-cell seed starter is 14-3/4" L x 5-1/2" W
24-cell seed starter is 14-3/4" L x 9-1/4" W
Each cell is 2" square x 2-1/4" H
Germination dome is 2-3/4" H
Water reservoir holds 5 cups (12-cell kit) or 10 cups (24-cell kit)

Total = $419

Alternate:

Jump Start CK64050, Germination Station w/Heat Mat, Tray, 72-Cell Pack, 2" Dome Amazon 4* $27.85 & FREE Shipping 11" x 22" watertight base tray

Video: Best Indoor Grow Lights T5's are best bulbs. Radiate no heat. Reflect light back on plants to maximize light [diamond embossed mylar]. Tin foil will cause hot spots.

How to Choose the Best Indoor Lighting for Plants Incandescent lights are good for lighting up a room or growing low-light houseplants, such as vines, ferns or dracaenas. They have limited utility for growing plants with higher light requirements.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are ideal for plants with low to medium light requirements, like African violets. They are also good for starting vegetables indoors. These lights typically come in long, tubelike bulbs in a range of sizes including T5, T8 and T12.

The narrower the bulb, the more efficient and brighter it is, due to the smaller surface area. In addition to this, fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lights. So, for example, a 25-watt fluorescent emits about as much light as a 100-watt incandescent light bulb. T5 systems put out about double the amount of light per tube as standard fluorescent lights. They are 6500 Kelvin and also full spectrum, which is very intense light.

When growing most houseplants, use light bulbs between 4000 and 6000 Kelvin, as the bulb's color temperature will borrow from a full spectrum of colors—cools and warms. With these lights, you can actually mimic the growth you would get in a greenhouse or outdoors. Culinary herbs, greens and starter plants can be grown year-round with them.

With starter plants and seedlings, place the T8 or T5 bulbs two to four inches from the plants to mimic the sun. For established plants, including herbs or houseplants, place them a foot or two from the light source.

Best Grow Lights Reviews for 2017 LED - Light Emitting Diodes have seen huge power increases with large improvements in efficiency. For the same size fixtures used for fluorescents, HIDs or Plasma grow lights, an LED grow light produces the critically needed wavelengths of light with little heat and about half the electricity.

How to Select the Best Grow Light for Indoor Growing Light on either end of the spectrum, blue light or red light, have the greatest impact on photosynthesis. Blue light, referred to as cool light, encourages compact bushy growth. Red light, on the opposite end of the spectrum, triggers a hormone response which creates blooms.

Grow lights producing the orange and reddish light typically produce substantial heat, however, some lights are able to produce full spectrum light without the heat.

As a general rule, inexpensive lights to purchase tend to be the most expensive to operate and the least effective. While price is not necessarily an indicator of performance, many of the efficient grow lights require ballasts as well as specialized fixtures.

How To Start Seeds A comprehensive guide to growing vegetables and flowers from seed By David Grist

Keep it simple
Because each plant has unique seed-starting requirements, it helps to start small by growing just a few varieties. Some seeds — such as tomatoes and marigolds — are especially easy to start indoors. If you're a beginner, choose those first, and then move on to more fussy seeds, such as petunias.

Other good choices for beginners:

Basil
Zinnia
Coleus
Nasturtium
Cosmos

Make sure you have lots of light
All seedlings require a considerable amount of light, so make sure you have a sunny, south-facing window. If seedlings don't get enough light, they will be leggy and weak.

If you don't have a sunny, south-facing window, invest in grow lights and a timer . It's the best way to ensure consistent, abundant light. Set the timer for 15 hours a day, water regularly and you're sure to get great results.


Grow lights are perfect for indoor seedstarting. You can also use them to grow light-loving houseplants, such as orchids.

Learn more in the article Gardening Under Lights.

Gardening Under Lights Efficient grow light stands bring the sunshine indoors.

WITH a set of grow lights, you can grow many plants indoors, including houseplants, orchids and some fruit and vegetable crops. Grow lights are ideal for seed starting because they help ensure stocky, green seedlings. A wintertime harvest of herbs and salad greens can also be grown under lights. By learning how plants use light and about the fixture options, you can select an indoor lighting system that is right for the plants you want to grow.

The Right Color

Sunlight contains the complete spectrum of light including all colors of the rainbow: red through yellow to blue and violet. Plants use the full spectrum for photosynthesis, although red and blue light seem to be most critical. Choose "full-spectrum" lights because they ensure that plants get the type of light they need.


Grow lights, such as this Compact 2-Tier SunLite Garden, are attractive enough to have in the kitchen. Our Vermont-made line of SunLite Gardens includes both standard (4 feet wide) and compact (2 feet wide) models.

The Right Intensity

The intensity of light that a plant receives is determined by the wattage of the bulb and by how close the plant is to the light source. Just as plants differ in their need for certain colors of light, they also differ in their need for light intensity. Typically, those plants that are native to tropical jungles or shady forests do not require as much light as plants that evolved in dry, sunny climates, such as the Mediterranean or southern Mexico.

Most flowering houseplants, such as African violets and begonias, are happy being 10 to 12 inches away from a light source. Foliage plants, such as ivy or philodendron, can be placed as much as 36 inches away from a light source. But many flowering plants, such as orchids, gardenias and citrus, as well as most vegetable plants, require a much higher light intensity to flower and produce fruit.


Vegetable seedlings need 14-18 hours of light a day.

The Right Duration

No matter what types of plants you are growing, you must give them a rest. When it's dark, plants respirate, which is an important part of their growth process. The balance of rest time to active growth time affects many biological processes, including the growth rate, and the setting of buds and fruit.

Botanists usually divide plants into three categories relating to their preferred day length: short-day, long-day or day-neutral.

Short-day plants, such as chrysanthemums, kalanchoe, azaleas and begonias, will thrive on less than 12 hours of light per day. In fact, these plants must usually go through a series of even shorter days before they will set buds and flower.

Long-day plants require at least 14 to 18 hours of light each day. Most seedlings for vegetables and garden flowers are long-day plants. When they don't receive enough light they get pale and leggy.

Day-neutral plants, including foliage plants, geraniums, coleus and African violets, are usually satisfied with 8 to 12 hours of light all year-round.

Using Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescents produce two to three times more light than incandescent bulbs for the same amount of energy. They are the most inexpensive lights for indoor gardening.

Full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs, such as our SunLite bulbs, produce a balance of cool and warm light that replicates the natural solar spectrum. These lights are excellent for seedlings as well as houseplants, culinary herbs and other plants.

~~~

The bulbs in our Grow Light Stands are some of the best full-spectrum bulbs on the market, replicating 98 percent of the solar spectrum. The bulbs use less electricity and last significantly longer than standard fluorescent bulbs. If you're looking for complete grow kits, we invite you to check out the products at Green State Gardener, another great Vermont gardening company.

Use XNET9488 for 10% discount at Gardeners' Supply.

Drip Tray, Small is 22-5/8" L x 15-1/2" W x 2" Deep $14.95
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/small-planting-tray/8593134.html#start=15
or
Drip Tray, Large $22.95
46-1/2" L x 15-1/2" W x 2" deep
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/large-boot-tray/30-144.html

Stack-n-Grow Light System [$169.00]
https://www.gardeners.com/buy/stack-n-grow-light-system/8590134RS.html#start=2
Light is 31" L x 15-1/2" W x 21" H
Dimensions between the posts are 28" L and 12 1/4" W
Lights are 36" L

or, compact [$159.00]
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/table-top-grow-light/37-817.html
25-1/2" L x 15-3/8" W x 21-1/8" H overall
Includes one watertight tray; tray is 22-1/2” L x 15-1/4” W x 1-3/4” deep
Maximum distance between tray and light fixture is 17-1/8"
Fixture holds 2 full-spectrum T5 bulbs, included
Bulbs last up to 10,000 hours for years of use

and seed starter trays:

http://www.gardeners.com/buy/organic-growease-seed-starting-success-kit/8592393.html#start=2
Organic GrowEase Seed Starting Success Kit $39.95

Self-watering seed starting trays prevent over- and under-watering
Includes two 24-cell seed starters, organic seed starting mix and seedling markers
This complete seed starter kit includes two 24-cell GrowEase Seed Starters, 6 quarts of Organic Seed Starting Mix and 24 wooden seedling markers. Just add seeds!
14-3/4" L x 9-1/4" W
Each cell is 2" square x 2-1/4" H
Germination dome is 2-3/4" H
Water reservoir holds 10 cups
Organic Seed-Starting Mix: Contains Bio-Blended Compost (composted manures and plant materials), sphagnum peat moss, perlite, mineral and nutrient amendments
or
GrowEase Seed Starter Kit, 12 Cells Item# 8589988 $9.95
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/growease-seed-starting-kit/8589987RS.html#start=1
Self-watering; prevents over- and under-watering
Dishwasher-safe so it's easy to clean between uses
12-cell seed starter is 14-3/4" L x 5-1/2" W
24-cell seed starter is 14-3/4" L x 9-1/4" W
Each cell is 2" square x 2-1/4" H
Germination dome is 2-3/4" H
Water reservoir holds 5 cups (12-cell kit) or 10 cups (24-cell kit)

and Heat Mat:
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/seed-starting-heat-mats/18383.html#start=10
Heat Mat, 19” x 9” Item# 34-357 $39.95
Heat Mat, 20-3/4” x 20-3/4” Item# 39-421 $69.95

and Power Strip with Timer Item# 38-972 $34.95
http://www.gardeners.com/buy/power-strip--with-timer/38-972.html

4 timer-controlled outlets and 4 manual on/off outlets override on-off switch
36" power cord
Review: Timer is simple to setup but is restricted to only one time of day for all plugs. Not usErik for the tiered grow lights it came with. Using this timer, all three shelves would have to be on the same schedule.

See Green State timer below

Green State Gardener free shipping over $50

Heavy Duty Timer, 15A, 3600W, 240V $26.00
$28 at http://www.greenstategardener.com/climate-control/
http://www.greenstategardener.com/heavy-duty-timer-15a-3600w-240v/

7 Day Dual Outlet Digital Timer $18.00 http://www.greenstategardener.com/7-day-dual-outlet-digital-timer-tm01715d

encourages productive growth with consistent hours of light.
1 minute On/Off
Up to 8 On/Off cycles per day
Controls 2 outlets simultaneously
15 amps / 1725 watts

Active Eye Flashlight (green LED) $14.00
http://www.greenstategardener.com/active-eye-flashlight-green-led

Choose a flashlight that is good for you-and your plants. The Active Eye flashlight shines a beam of green light through its 9 powerful, high-intensity LED bulbs. The benefit of green light over white is that green doesnt interrupt the essential plant photosynthesis process, whereas bursts of white light can be incredibly disruptive. The green bulbs, which burn for over 100,000 hours, are bright enough to be used for a number of other night light needs. Uses three AAA batteries sold separately.

Bug Shield $12.34
http://www.greenstategardener.com/bug-shield

Block the bugs and so much more! Our Bug Shield plastic mesh bug screen catches insects of all kinds, as well as stopping potentially damaging fungal spores. Use it on your fans and ducting, as it is suitable for both intake and exhaust purposes. The Bug Shields feature washable materials, an elasticized opening, and an adjustable drawstring to seal off a perfect fit.

Diamond Foil $51.00 [4' x 26' white]
http://www.greenstategardener.com/diamond-foil-511-13

Diamond Foil reduces heat, evenly diffuses light, and offers thermal protection. It is PET coated and made of 4.5mil thick, 100% blackout material.

Digital Moisture Meter-LL01825 $15.79
http://www.greenstategardener.com/digital-moisture-meter

Digital results from 0 to 9. 9. Printed instructions and extensive plant list.

Digital pH Meter-LL01845 $14.57
http://www.greenstategardener.com/digital-ph-meter

Digital results from 3. 5 to 9. 0. Instructions and plant pH preference list included.

Digital Soil Thermometer-LL01625 $18.02
http://www.greenstategardener.com/digital-soil-thermometer

Easy to read digital readout. Guidelines for germination and transplant temperatures included.

Hydrofarm Dual Outlet Analog Grounded Timer TM01015D $15.00
http://www.greenstategardener.com/dual-outlet-analog-grounded-timer-tm01015d

Using an analog timer to automate your lighting adds convenience and encourages productive growth with consistent hours of light.
Features
15 minute On/Off
24 hour cycle
Controls 2 outlets simultaneously
15 amps / 1725 watts
Voltage 120

Electronic Water Timer-HGWT $25.63
http://www.greenstategardener.com/electronic-water-timer

The Hydrofarm Electronic Water Timer makes watering your plants a breeze. This single-station analog timer attaches directly to your garden hose and automatically controls sprinklers, drip systems or soaker systems. It two simple dials that allow gardeners to set the frequency of watering from 1 hour to 1 week, and the run time from 1 minute to 2 hours. This timer is easy to use and requires no wiring. Just attach it to your hose, set it, and forget it.

Mtl Film 1 mil 50" $26.95
http://www.greenstategardener.com/mtl-film-1-mil-50

This metalized plastic sheeting will reflect about 98% of the light that hits it. You should put it on the walls around your plants to reflect wasted light back to the plants. It comes in three different roll lengths and two different thicknesses, 1 mil and 2 mil (1 mil is 1/1000th of an inch). We recommend the 2 mil for the better workability and strength. It comes in 50'' wide rolls.


Green State Gardener

ntainer Plant Protection Cover $14.00
http://www.greenstategardener.com/gardeners-container-plant-protection-cover-8590595vs

Spun-bonded polypropylene
Med. is 35-1/2" W x 43-1/4" H
X-Large is 47-1/4" W x 71" H
Approx 60% light transmission
Easy-to-install covers protects potted plants
Shield plants from extreme cold and winter winds
Ideal for shrubs growing in containers

Pop-Up Plant Protector $11.00
http://www.greenstategardener.com/gardeners-pop-up-plant-protector-8591267vs
Active Eye Lighted Loupe, 30x $15.00
http://www.greenstategardener.com/active-eye-lighted-loupe-30x


Hardening Off

5 Steps to Harden Off Seedlings Plants are like babies. When we start them indoors, we keep them sheltered and give them everything they need for success—consistent temperature, plenty of light, and the perfect amount of water. But eventually, they have to go out into the big outside world, and that’s why you need to “harden off” your seedlings. Hardening off is the process of getting indoor-started seedlings accustomed to the outdoor environment by gradually exposing them to daily shifts in temperature, light, and water. As you prepare your onion, pepper, and tomato plants (or any others) for transplant, read your seed packet to know when to transplant outdoors as not at all crops tolerate frost. Below are some general guidelines to help your seedlings get all “grown up.”

1. Begin hardening off 7 to 10 days before transplanting outdoors.

2. Start by placing your plants outside in a shady area protected from wind for 1-2 hours a day for the first 2 to 3 days. Bring them back inside at night.

3. For sun-loving plants, begin putting seedlings in progressively more sun for 2 to 3 days, being careful at first to avoid the harsh mid-day full sun exposure. If the plants you are hardening off are shade or part-shade plants, leave them in the shade or dappled sunlight. Do not put seedlings directly in wind, as they may dry out quickly or snap.

4. After 7 days, your sun-loving plants should be ready for full sun and staying outside at night if nighttime temperatures are above 45°F. When caring for cool season crops in small containers, err on the side of caution and bring them back inside when it is below 45ºF. Cool season crops like broccoli, lettuce, greens, and cabbage can handle colder temperatures when planted in the ground.

5. After 7 to 10 days your plants are ready for transplanting. To reduce the stress of transplanting, transplant in the evening, or on a cool, cloudy day. Water plants immediately after transplanting. A diluted dose of kelp or seaweed fertilizer also helps prevent stress. Keeping plants protected with row covers for another week will further help them adjust to their new home and give them some protection against fluctuating temperatures.

By following these steps and referring to each packet for specific instructions on when to start the transplant process, you’ll have a head start on your gardening season. Your plants will be growing steadily in their outdoor garden bed in no time!


Email Professor Colby Glass, MAc, MLIS, PhDc, Prof. Emeritus
at