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Top Secrets To Successful Seedling Transplanting

Get your garden off to a great start with these tips for sowing seeds & transplanting seedlings.

Harden off your seedlings

Hardening off your seedling or gradually introducing your seedlings to your garden conditions. Get all seedlings—outdoors and expose them to a great amount of sun, wind, and temperatures lower or higher than what they were used to when they were indoors. Don’t rush the process. It usually takes up to 2 weeks.

Then, when it’s time for planting, the first rule of thumb is to watch where you put your thumb. Never pick up a seedling by the stem—it is the plant’s lifeline, It’s important to handle seedlings by their leaves

The ideal time is when there is rain in the forecast and no frosts or heat waves expected. If there’s no such conditions, then try to plant in the late afternoon or early evening so that you will minimize the time the seedlings bake in the sun. The day before planting, do some watering so that the soil in the pots is moist.

Plant seedlings in the right conditions

Until you’re actually ready to plant each one, keep your seedlings in the shade. If you can’t easily pull the plant out of its container by the leaves, hold the pot in one hand , flip it upside down, and give it a sharp tap on the bottom. Snip away any damaged roots with scissors.

If the roots are a solid mass, tease some away from the centre, and try not to break them. Carefully slice into peat or newspaper pots with a knife in order to give the roots an escape hatch if the pot doesn’t break down quickly. After the pot is in the ground, you are ready to tear off any part of it that extends above the soil line. When it drys it will pull moisture of the soil.

Plant the seedling at about the depth it was in the container, or a bit deeper. However, plant tomatoes quite deep. Researches have shown that tomatoes planted up to their first set of true leaves will set fruit earlier, and yielded more and larger tomatoes, than tomatoes planted at root ball level.

Firm the soil around your seedlings, but don’t press so hard that you compact it. Do some thorough watering for every seedling.

Protect your seedlings

Your seedlings are established when you see healthy new growth. This may last a couple of days or a week, depending on the weather. Wilted leaves or drooping stems can be symptoms of transplant shock and seedlings can go into transplant shock if they weren’t hardened off completely or if the weather is too cold or too hot..Most plants recover in a couple of days, yet until they do, check that the soil is firmly around the plants so that no air pockets are drying out the roots. Keep in mind to protect the transplants from sun and strong winds with row covers,or sheets.Only water the plants if the top inch of the soil is dry. Don’t water if the soil is already wet; this won’t be of any help.

Direct-sowing seeds

How hard is it to put a seed in the ground, anyway? Not hard. Nature does it all the time!If any seeds don’t sprout, you’ll have extra to fill in the empty spaces. If you plant your seeds way too deeply,there is a chance they may never germinate. If you plant them too shallowly, odds are the topsoil might dry out during germination. Generally, you can plant a large seed at a depth equal to three times its diameter (not its length). Seeds of peas, squashes, and sunflowers and those of similar size are in the group of large seeds. Plant smaller seeds about 1/8 inch deep. The seed packet will give the proper planting depth for that particular seed.

Some seeds need light to germinate, so you can’t bury them. Most gardeners sow seeds in rows—However, there is another way to plant seeds i.e. in hills. When a seed packet recommends planting in hills, it means planting them in a cluster. Mounding the soil is optional. Cucurbits such as cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, are usually planted in elevated hills, as they need warm soil and good drainage.

Five plants to Direct-Sow :

1. Carrots

Sow seeds for carrots after winter frost. For even distribution, mix the small seeds with sand before you sprinkle them in your bed. Cover them with some good soil or more sand, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Carrot seeds can germinate in a month or so, so keep the soil evenly moist.

2. Corn

Warm soil, above 60°F, is extremely important for seed germination. Seed heavily in order to make up for any losses to birds. Corn is wind-pollinated, so to ensure pollination, you should plan on a minimum of 16 plants in a block of four short rows.

3. Cucurbits

Here are included: cucumbers, pumpkins, summer and winter squashes, and zucchini. Seeds should be sown after frost. Plant in hills, with 6 to 8 seeds per hill. Space the hills about 6 feet apart, and enrich each one with a large shovelful of compost or well-aged manure.

4. Lettuce

These tiny seeds require lots of light to germinate, so simply press them into the ground and sift some fine soil over them. Though it loves cool weather, lettuce can take a few weeks to germinate in cold soil outdoors. Thin plants to 3 inches apart. Sow seeds weekly for successive harvests.

5. Peas

Plant peas in early spring, as soon as you can work the ground. Pretreat the seeds with inoculant. Peas will germinate in very cold soil , but this can take weeks. Pea seedlings can live through frost better than mature peas.

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