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Start with Seeds!

Radish Seedlings - Be Self Sufficient

Radish Seedlings

At some part in your quest to be self sufficient, you will begin to use seeds you save from last year’s garden.  This is a significant step.  But, growing from seed uses an extra skill or two.  You will know how hearty your seedlings will be by the size of their seeds.  If the seed is small, you will find seedlings to take some extra time to really take off.  But, larger seeds will flourish quickly.  This article will prove to be a general seedling primer.

Depending on where you are, you will find you will need to start warm season small seed crops indoors so they will have time to produce during the season.  Those warm season seeds need the soil temperature to be higher before they will germinate.  Because the larger seeds get going quickly, you can plant them in late spring and watch them flourish.  Remember, seed germination and temperature of the soil are closely related.

The small size of seeds may mean you can start them close together.  But, you will need to make sure you thin them soon after they get started.  Seedlings are already fighting for precious resources and do not need a neighbor crowding them out.  Many people sow them close together and thin them early in order to maximize the space and be able to absorb the pain of some seeds not germinating.

Please be aware of the vulnerabilities of seedlings.  They are most vulnerable to fungal diseases which could kill them.  The best way to reduce the risk is to plant them when the soil is warm, but not wet.  Another way to reduce disease is by using containers which are clean.  Make sure your seedlings start out in an area with good circulation.  All utensils and equipment should be cleaned with diluted bleach.  Lastly, you should make every effort to ensure you use sterile soil and clean water.

Be Self SufficientYou can plant seeds directly in the soil outside.  In most cases, they will grow and need little from the gardener.  But, taking some extra time to protect them will ensure your plants are resistant to drought and disease as adults.  If you do decide to plant directly in the soil, be mindful you will need to watch for new pests, and diseases which could ruin your crop.

You do not have to have a greenhouse to start seedlings.  Many people have a shelf in their house or garage with fluorescent lights.  This can be a great place to start your seeds.  You can regulate the temperature and put the lighting on a timer.  Some have even integrated self-watering systems to make starting seeds simple and efficient.  When doing this, I must caution you to understand mixing electricity and water have deadly consequences.  Be careful.

There you have it.  This article has been a primer on how to be successful with seeds and seedlings.  Remember, small seeds need more time to take off while large seeds seem to grow much quicker.  Take some time to remember seedling vulnerabilities and make an environment for them to flourish.  I think you will find a great reward in growing your garden from seed.

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Pic by katerha and Pink Sherbet Photography.

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