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FutureStarrTo Plant a Seedor
Maybe you want grow plants from seeds to save money. It’s definitely cheaper than buying transplants. It will also be easier to find seeds of varieties not typically available for sale as transplants. Whatever the reason, starting plants from seeds is probably not a hard as you think. And growing plants all the way from seed to maturity is one of gardening’s most rewarding endeavors.You’ll find the proper planting depth on the seed packet. The general rule of thumb is to cover seeds with soil equal to three times their thickness – but be sure to read the seed packet planting instructions carefully. Some seeds, including certain lettuces and snapdragons, need light to germinate and should rest on the soil surface but still be in good contact with moist soil. Gentle tamping after sowing will help. After planting your seeds, use a spray bottle to wet the soil again.
It's not a good idea to move your seedlings directly from the protected environment of your home into the garden. You've been coddling these seedlings for weeks, so they need a gradual transition to the great outdoors. The process is called hardening off. About a week before you plan to set the seedlings into the garden, place them in a protected spot outdoors (partly shaded, out of the wind) for a few hours, bringing them in at night. Gradually, over the course of a week or 10 days, expose them to more and more sunshine and wind. A cold frame is a great place to harden off plants.Seedlings need a lot of light. If you're growing in a window, choose a south-facing exposure. Rotate the pots regularly to keep plants from leaning into the light. If seedlings don't get enough light, they will be leggy and weak. If you're growing under lights, adjust them so they're just a few inches above the tops of the seedlings. Set the lights on a timer timer for 15 hours a day. Keep in mind that seedlings need darkness, too, so they can rest. As the seedlings grow taller, raise the lights.
Just like people, seeds produce plants that resemble the parent but are genetically different. Seeds referred to as "F1 hybrids" are the result of controlled, known crosses of plants that produce the same results each time. These hybrids often have characteristics that make them a unique or superior plant, such as increased vigor, disease resistance, flavor, flower color, or uniform growth. Hybrid seed may cost more than open-pollinated types. If you save the seeds of hybrid plants, the resulting plants may have some similarities to the hybrid parents, but appearance and growth is usually different. Therefore, if you desire the features of the hybrid plant, purchase and plant new seed each year. Start with good quality seed from a reliable dealer. Quality seed is true to cultivar/variety name, and does not contain contaminants, such as weed seed, insect casings, soil particles, or plant pulp. Make the best plant selection for the existing growing conditions by researching the many varieties available. Seed can be purchased for a wide variety of plants and characteristics, such as color, size, and growth habit. Many varieties will even be resistant to certain diseases. Choose varieties suitable for your area that will reach maturity before frost, survive heat, and tolerate present growing conditions. It is best to purchase only enough seed for use in the current season. Seed can be stored from year to year, but germination percentage and seedling vigor will decline with age and improper storage conditions. Store excess seed in a cool, dry place. Seeds in paper packages are best stored in containers that can be sealed tightly. A low-humidity environment at 40 degrees F is best for seed storage, such as the crisper drawer of a refrigerator. (Source: extension.uga.edu)