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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Seed Starting

We have officially started our flower growing season this week.  Seeding has begun.  There are many flowers and vegetables that either take a long time to grow or are cold tolerant, meaning they can be transplanted outdoors before the last frost with a bit of protection after being fully hardened off.
Flowers classified as cool flowers, meaning they prefer the cooler temperatures as to the heat of mid summer, are Snapdragons, Dianthus, Icelandic Poppies, Dusty Miller, Stock, Feverfew, and Sweetpeas etc.  These can be transplanted outside before our last frost date.

Verbena Bonariensis and Daucus Carota (Chocolate Lace), like to have a cold period once they are seeded.  So those are placed in our garage where it gets below freezing.  Some seeds need to be surface sown, as light aids germination and others require complete darkness.  Other varieties require a temperature of 20C to germinate so a lot of our seeded trays are placed on a heat mat to get the temperature of the soil up to the correct temperature.  Generally they say the soil temperature is 5C degrees below the room temperature without a heat mat.


I use 128 plug tray for most of the seeding.  I use larger plugs if they are fast growing.  I fill the trays with a seed starting mix with added coir and tamp the trays so the soil settles in each plug.  Hence no air space in the soil.  Roots do not like pockets of air in the soil. 
My seeder preference is this little green device pictured above.  I am able to control the number of seeds that go into each plug with ease.  The tiny seeds are the most challenging, so much patience is required.  The soil is moist before going into the trays and once the soil is in, I water each plug again to settle the soil.  Not too much though as you do not want the soil to be dripping wet.  Then the seeds are seeded and depending on the variety they are either covered with soil or left on the surface without any cover.  I also use vermiculite when the seeds only want a light covering.  The vermiculite also holds the moisture consistently on the surface where the seed is.


Then a humidity dome is placed over the trays and they are placed on the heat mat which is in the warmest room in our house.  Most seeds will germinate within a few days, whereby some take a little longer.

Here are a couple of links to seed starting info to specific seed varieties.  Most seed packages have this info printed on them, but you may need further information on some types of flowers or vegetables.
http://tomclothier.hort.net/
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/growing-center.html

Happy Seeding!!!!!

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