SUC­CESS WITH SEEDS

The sense of sat­is­fac­tion when har­vest time comes is be­yond com­pare!

Go Gardening - - Edibles -

Seed sow­ing is not es­sen­tial to a beau­ti­ful pro­duc­tive vegetable gar­den - ex­pertly grown nurs­ery seedlings are read­ily avail­able when­ever the plant­ing urge strikes. But the ad­van­tages of start­ing from scratch in­clude a wider choice of va­ri­eties, the abil­ity to grow more for your money and of course that won­der­ful sense of ac­com­plish­ment. Be­fore you rush into sow­ing all your seeds at once, a lit­tle for­ward think­ing is wise. Be­cause not all seeds are equal.

TEM­PER­A­TURE AND TIM­ING

How long we have to wait for our care­fully sown seeds to sprout their first green leaves de­pends very much on when and where we sow them. Each seed va­ri­ety has its ideal tem­per­a­ture at which ger­mi­na­tion will oc­cur in the short­est num­ber of days. Tomato seeds for ex­am­ple, will sprout in just six days if the soil (or seed rais­ing mix) ex­ceeds

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Spring seedlings, peas, pota­toes. a con­stant 25°C. At 15°C it takes about two weeks, while at 10°C tomato seeds will take a month or more, if they ger­mi­nate at all. So there is lit­tle point in rush­ing into sow­ing cer­tain seeds out­doors in very early spring.

On the other hand, a green house will al­low you to get a head start. A soil ther­mome­ter is an­other use­ful tool for keen seed sow­ers.

Some veges (such as peas, cab­bages, radishes and onions) ger­mi­nate eas­ily at much lower temps, and it makes sense to sow these cool weather veges early to make the most of the spring grow­ing sea­son.

As with to­ma­toes - cap­sicum, pump­kins, cu­cum­bers and zuc­chini need warmer soil tem­per­a­tures but can be started in pots to be planted out­doors af­ter the risk of frost has passed. The ab­so­lute heat lovers are egg­plants and mel­ons.

LIGHT

Light is an­other de­ter­min­ing fac­tor for some seeds. Co­rian­der seeds won’t ger­mi­nate in bright light, nor will pan­sies and vi­o­las. The trick here is to cover the fine seed with a sheet of news­pa­per or card­board (or an in­verted tray) and re­move it af­ter ger­mi­na­tion. Larger light sen­si­tive seeds, such as sweet peas, can be sown at enough depth to pro­tect them from light. Petu­nia, im­pa­tiens and let­tuce are seeds that like the light. Be­cause they are sown on the sur­face, care must be taken to keep these seeds moist. Mist-spray with water reg­u­larly or cover with glass or plas­tic wrap.

BREAK­ING DORMANCY

Some seeds have built-in pro­tec­tion to pre­vent them from ger­mi­nat­ing un­til the time is right. Their pre­ferred wake up call may be their need to ex­pe­ri­ence low tem­per­a­tures for a min­i­mum pe­riod of time. They may need ex­tra mois­ture or some form of phys­i­cal abra­sion to break their hard seed coat. If you’re hav­ing trou­ble ger­mi­nat­ing seeds, check if they have any spe­cial re­quire­ments.

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