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Friday, March 2, 2012

Seeds, Seeds & More Seeds (Morning CL Mtg)

We had the joy of listening to Charlene Schneider, Master Gardener and volunteer at the Sedgwick Co. Extension Office, share about her love for gardening, and in particular, seed starting. Her enthusiasm for the topic probably made many of us want to give it a try, though I know most of us are thinking, "When would I have time for THIS! Or the space!" Well, tuck these tidbits away for later, if that's the case. Otherwise, buy a packet of seeds and get started!   
    
  • More often, people kill their plants by overwatering rather than underwatering.
  • Keep water off the leaves because this can spread disease that will kill your plants.
  • "Pinch" flowers as your seedlings start to grow sets of leaves, pinch off or snip with scissors the innermost pair of leaves and that will cause two branches to form. By doing this periodically, you will have a bushier, slightly shorter plant with many more blooms.
  • For $18.00 you can gather soil samples from your yard and have the extension office perform a test to tell you what type of soil you have in your yard.
  • A couple seed companies Charlene recommended: harrisseed.com and hazzardsgreenhouse.com.
  
Types of seeds: Spend the extra money to buy seeds that are "primed", treated to germinate faster, or "pelleted", coatied to make them easier to handle. Seeds last for 2-5 years if kept in a ziplock and put in the vegetable drawer in your refrigerator.
  
Planting seeds: Charlene recommends using Fertilome Ultimate Potting Mix. When planting seeds, add water to the soil first so that when you grab a handful and ball it up it stays in a ball but doesn't drip with water. Tamp soil down in pot. Lay seed on top. Sprinkle more soil on top of seed. Don't dig a hole.
  
Water: A great way to water your seedlings is to place the flat in a shallow pan and pour your water/fertilizer mixture into the pan and let the seeds "soak up the water". Be sure to pour the water out after 30 minutes.
  
Stimulate your plants by brushing your hand across the tops as you check on them. Or use a fan to create a light breeze in the room where the seedlings are growing.
  
Fertilizer: Fertilizer solution for seedlings should be 1/4tsp fertilizer to 1gallon water. As plants grow can increase this by 1/4tsp.
  
Light: Florescent lights or "cool" light bulbs work great to set up a seed starting space in a basement. Set timers to run the lights for 16 hours each day.
  
Sterilize your pots before using them again next season by rinsing with 9 parts water to 1 part bleach solution.

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