Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Early Seed Planting

February 2016
I planned out my garden and settled on (6) 4'x4' raised beds that will utilize the square foot gardening method.  After last years growing season and discovering I have a natural skill for producing nothing but weeds, I decided raised beds would be easier to maintain and I could actually afford to have new top soil brought in to just fill the beds and not waste money on areas of the garden that won't be used to produce vegetables.

Once I had the design down, I calculated how many of each plant I would need and which companion plants would provide the best benefit.  I gathered old containers and the biodegradable tray I bought last year and began to plant my seeds.

I read that sprinkling cinnamon on the soil would prevent the grey mold from forming so I dusted everything before placing under the grow lights.  It did prevent the bulk of the seedlings from getting mold but it also kills any bugs living in the soil.  PERK!

It has now been a month and approximately half of the seeds have grown and I still ended up with areas of "mold".  Needles to say I am disappointed but I'm not discouraged. 

I went back to the Internet and did more research on why my seedlings didn't germinate and what was causing the "mold".  Here's what I discovered:

White mold can develop on the surface of wet potting soil.  Soggy soil encourages problems such as saprophytic fungi and may lead to more serious problems, including root rot.  In most cases you can simply scrape the mold from the surface of the soil and place the pot in a well-ventilated area so that the soil can dry.

March 2016
Solution:  I am replanting all the young seedlings from the biodegradable tray into ice cube trays.  At least this way the hole I drilled in the bottom will allow enough water to run off and the plastic sides will not absorb and hold moister for new mold to grow.  I emptied the soil from the containers that did not germinate and will replace with fresh soil as soon as I have new germinated seeds.

I ran across an article about germinating seeds before planting them in your pots.  This way you know that what you plant is already growing and you don't waste time like I did in February planting seeds only to discover half didn't germinate.

I took a paper towel, folded it and then soaked it in water.  After squeezing out the excess water I placed it inside a Ziploc bag and added the seeds.  I wrote the seed name and today's date on each bag (March 8).  I placed them under the grow lights.  To my surprise I actually had germinated seeds by the 11th!

Almost all of the seeds have germinated and been planted; only 4 bags left and they are almost ready!  I will definitely use this method next year and save myself both time and money.

To keep the soil from getting to wet and staying wet, I run a fan for an hour each evening.  it oscillates over the plants and acts as a wind to dry the soil and strengthen the stalks so the plants will be stronger when they finally make it into the raised beds.

Here is a picture of my indoor garden as of March 19th.  The outdoor planting season begins the third week in May so my little guys have plenty of time to get hardy.

The Diva Farmer ~ Come Grow With Us

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