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Good Things Are Sprouting - Start Vegetables From Seed

Good Things Are Sprouting - Start Vegetables From Seed

By Kurt Dramm, The Dramm Corporation
Photographs courtesy of The Dramm Corporation

Spring is here, and you wish to get a head start on your summer garden! You bought your seeds and now you need to sow them and watch them germinate. Here are a few tips on the procedures for germinating and transplanting into your garden.

Your First Decisions

What kind of container should I use to sow seeds? Where should I place them?

You will have the highest degree of success if you purchase a plug tray (48 or 72 plug holes) that fits into a larger tray that has no drainage holes. The plug tray may or may not already have the holes filled with a soil medium. If not, you’ll need to add a light soil mix; this may require a trip to your local garden center. Carefully soak your plug tray until the soil media is saturated. The easiest way to accomplish this is to fill your waterproof tray half-full of water and place the plug into the tray of water. The soil will absorb the water by capillary action. Now you can sow one to three seeds per plug. Label the name of the vegetable you have sown. Cover the plug tray with plastic wrap. Ensure that there is some water in the holding tray (this will keep your soil moist for the seed to germinate).

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Here We Grow

You’re almost there! Now place the tray onto a radiator or on a table in front of a window. Most seeds require 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. Some require light and some require darkness; check the seed packet for instructions. After 10 to 14 days, most of your seeds should have germinated.

When they have germinated, you should remove the plastic and keep some water in the holding tray to sub-irrigate your seedlings. As the weather warms, you may want to move the tray outside to a sunny location against your house.

If you live in a climate where it is still a bit chilly, you may want to angle a piece of glass or old window over the tray, resting on the house, to make your own greenhouse. Cover the end sides with a piece of wood to stop the rabbits and mice from lunching on your seedlings. By early to mid-May your seedlings should be plug bound (full of roots) and can now be popped out of the tray and into your garden or container! Congratulations!

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The Final Stretch

At this point, you should water two or three times a week using a Dramm 5-liter watering can with the holes of the rose pointing to the sky. The rose pointing up allows the water to softly come down like rain, causing no damage to the tender plants. If you have a hose in your garden, you can use a Dramm 510 seedling nozzle or a FOGG-It nozzle to water for two to three weeks. After three weeks, the plants will be well established, and you can water using your hose and Dramm’s Water Breaker® nozzles.

During the growing season (late-May, June, July, and August) you should fertilize the plants once a week using two ounces of Drammatic® Organic Fertilizer in the 5-liter watering can.

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