Germinate A Good Garden
Growing From Seeds Is The Secret
Right after the New Year’s party, the mailman starts dropping
into my mailbox.
They are some of the most wonderful mail. They inspire dreams of the coming year’s gardens and help to fill the dark days of winter with visions of tasty vegetables and colourful flowers. The best part of spending the winter months gardening through the catalogues is the complete lack of weeds or sore backs.
Do We Save Money?
Garden centres are filled with thousands of vegetable and flower plants in the spring. Why would I spend the time, money and effort growing from seeds? I’ve never done a cost analysis because I really don’t care about any money saved and a spread sheet to me is a thing I cover tender plants with in the spring. I do admit to trying to convince my wife that those $100 seed orders actually save us money.
Why Do We Bother
It’s about puttering in the basement with soil and water and little green growing things when there is wind and snow swirling outside the window. It’s about the yearly renewal of that life cycle that makes gardening such a rewarding pastime. Growing from seeds is about choice.
When do I do this?
I can pick up a seed catalogue and spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide which of the 65 varieties of Tomatoes listed, I will choose to grow this year. It’s a rare garden centre that will offer you more than half a dozen.
Tips and Tricks
If it’s so wonderful and rewarding why doesn’t everyone do it? Well, as much as there are lots of articles and books telling you how simple it is, there are a few hurdles to overcome in order to be successful at growing from seeds.
The basics are easy.
For the vast majority of annual flower and vegetable seeds that we might want to grow, the presence of sufficient available moisture is the primary requirement for germination.
Water and Soil
Some of the tricky bits are in those two words - sufficient and available. We can throw our tomato seeds into a puddle of icy outdoor water in the spring and they will certainly have ‘sufficient’ but there are other factors in that seed’s dormancy that prevent that ‘sufficient’ water from being ‘available.’ Our Tomato seeds must also have some air to breathe and
the correct temperature
to rouse them from their dormancy. The proper soil will make this easy.
They also have a few enemies such as a
fungus disease known as Damping Off
and some prevention is required to keep it from becoming a problem.
We Have Seen The Light
Once our Tomato seeds have germinated they must have
sufficient light to provide the energy
for sturdy, continuing growth. Artificial or natural sunlight is always the question. A good light table will provide all that is needed. Under good fluorescent light the little seedlings will grow and
need to be transplanted
into the containers that will be their home until they get to the garden.
We Need More Space
Once the Tomatoes are growing we may need more room for them or for the lettuce and marigolds that will follow them.
A cold frame out in the garden
can be the best solution to the space problem that growing from seeds seems to create by your second year.
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