Your Seeds Have Arrived!
Here's a Planting Guide to Success!
Step One: Starting Indoors
Give your plants a head start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors 4-6 weeks prior to the frost-free date in your area.
Fill a seedling tray or pots with potting soil, a soil mix designed specifically for starting seedlings. Moisten the mixture thoroughly and fill the seedling tray.
Step Two: Sow Seeds in Trays
Press two seeds gently into the soil one and half times the size of the seeds. Cover seed with fine potting soil, gently tamp down and water.
Write on the plant tag the name of the plant and date sown, insert into the tray. Place the seedling tray in a sunny south-facing window or under grow lights.
Keep the seedling trays in a warm location, where they will remain at a temperature of between 60* and 70* applying water with a fine spray or gentle watering can when the surface becomes dry.
Step Three: Transplanting
When the seedlings are half an inch high with two sets of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted to larger pots, or into the garden. Prepare the garden soil by removing all the weeds, roots and all. Spread a thin layer of compost or organic fertilizer onto the garden, then turn with a garden fork to loosen and aerate the soil.
Gently remove from the seedling trays to make sure a good root system is intact. Dig a small hole just large enough to neatly fit the transplant with a little extra wiggle room for the roots to spread. Place the seedling into the hole, water, and cover the roots with soil making sure not to press down to hard. Water again and place your plant tag near the plant for identification.
Step Four: Outdoors
After the frost-free date, prepare the garden soil by removing all the weeds, roots and all. Spread a thin layer of compost or organic fertilizer onto the garden, then turn with a garden fork to loosen and aerate the soil.
For Most Crops: With a stick or a dibber, mark the row where seeds will be planted. Allow space in-between each row, depending on the size of the plant, typically 6 inches. Open the seed packet, and drop one seed every few inches. Cover with soil and light tap the soil. Be sure to mark the rows with a label to indicate the variety and date planted.
Once seedlings emerge, you may need to thin to allow proper distance between plants. Carrots, beets and onions will grow underground, and can touch shoulders, while lettuce, peppers and beans should have at least six inches in between plants.
For Pumpkins, Melons, Cucumbers or Squash: Lightly mound up soil – called a hill – and sow three to five seeds per hill. Label the seeds with the variety and date planted. Water and wait. Within a week to ten days several seedlings should develop. Mulch the base with straw to keep the soil from becoming too dry.
Growing On: Harvest
Most vegetables grow horizontal along the ground, yet pole beans, cucumbers and some other vegetables can grow up a trellis to save space. Either way, the plants need plenty of room to grow, and designing the garden to be efficient takes planning. Allow vegetables to grow to full maturity for best flavor, which is indicated by color, size and when they simply stop growing. Keep up the harvest, and most plants will continue to produce. Consider planting a succession of seeds throughout the season to extend the growing season.
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