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Indoor Seeding & Transplanting

Why: earlier harvests, greater variety, healthier, stronger seedlings

How: flats, 6-packs, watering system, seeding tools
· Potting mix: 5gallon sifted compost
5gallon loam
2gallon vermiculite
(we also add pro-start amendments and humates)
o Many different "recipes" exist, experiment with the resources you have. The goal is light, spongy, and moist, i.e. a mix that: can hold & absorb water, is free of weeds & disease, and is not so tightly packed that air is excluded.
· One seed per hole, watch out for overcrowding
· Provide light and ventilation/moving air
· Bottom water every few days as soil becomes dry
· Germination
· Containers – no more than 2-3 in. deep. Too much soil is a waste and too little will dry out quickly.
· Seeds should be vital and less than 3 years old (this varies depending on the seed)
· Water – must always be available to the seed in order to soften the seed coat. It forms with stored foods to form soluble forms of nourishment for the seed and transports foods and hormones to the parts of the seed that needs it.
· Air – Oxygen is crucial for healthy seed germination. During respiration the seed takes in oxygen that chemically combines with seeds fats and sugars (oxidization)
· Temperature – most seeds need between 75– 90 degrees F. (Exceptions include lettuce, celery, peas, spinach, radishes which need lower temps for germination 45 – 65 degrees F)
· Light – most vegetable seeds are indifferent to the amount of light they require for germination. Both light and air are important to prevent dampening off (Exceptions include onions and chives that can be retarded by light)
· Start seeds warm and grow seedlings cool.

What next: Transplanting

· Move plants into 4" pots once second leaves have appeared
· Bury majority of stem
· Be Gentle!

After this point you can begin the hardening-off process. This can be done in different ways:

· Moving plants out during the day, bringing them back in at night
· Using cold frames
· Using remay
· Using plastic covers on flats
· Greenhouse space

As plants become stronger, and the outdoor soil warmer, begin transplanting into the ground

Some definitions:

1. Compost – organic matter that provides vital nutrients to the soil and plants
2. Loam – a mix of sand, silt, and clay (40-40-20) that retains nutrients and water while still allowing for good drainage.
3. Vermiculite – "popped" mica that is light that has good water holding capacity. It absorbs nutrients from fertilizers and other soil components and releases them gradually for the plants. Make sure that it is horticulture vermiculite – not sold for building trade.
4. Humates – salts of humic acids that increase the rate and percentage of seed germination, stimulates plant growth by accelerating cell division, improves the uptake of phosphates from fertilizers, acts as a buffer to any salinity or toxicity in liquid fertilizers, increase the rate of root development and ultimately, increase overall yield.

Recommended References: The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel; Seed Sowing and Saving by Carole B. Turner

The following seeds can be started under lights indoors from mid-March to Mid –May

These seeds should be sown directly where they will be grown

Cool – Weather Crops:As soon as the soil can be turned in your garden, the following seeds can be sown directly in the ground.

Tomatoes *
Peppers *
Eggplants *
Cucumbers *
Cabbages/Chinese Cabbages
Fennel *
Marjoram *
Tomatillo *
Cosmos *
Zinnias *
Nigella *
Malva – Zebrina
Celosia *

Corn *
Melons *
Squash/Pumpkins *
Nasturtiums *
Cleome *
Nicotiana *
Mexican Sunflower *
Morning Glories
* Don't plant these varieties outside until all danger of frost has passed. Usually around mid – late May. Often the last hard frost in May occurs the same time as the last full moon.

Lettuces – Leaf lettuce is more hardy than others
Happy Gardening!

Resource: High Mowing Seeds

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