Your Seedlings Have Sprouted, Now What?
The gardening season is fast approaching! Whether you’re growing seedlings as a hobby or for emergency preparedness, it is vital to have knowledge of how to care for plants.
The process requires patience and proper seedling care from germination to surviving the garden transition. You might feel intimidated not knowing where to start or how to proceed, but with this guide, you can grow the healthiest plants that will bring joy to your garden and the whole family.
First, you need gardening supplies and quality heirloom seeds. Having a seed starter tray or indoor planters is a must. This will make it convenient to control several factors that affect the growth of your seeds, such as moisture, soil, fertility, and heat. Other supplies you should consider are watering cans, growing lights, and plant labels.
Tips For Healthy Seedlings
- Make sure seedlings and sprouts have enough space for air to move around them
- The soil mix should be sterilized
- Maintain neutral soil conditions
- Monitor the soil and air temperature rules
- Observe the irrigation system and the air humidity
- In order to grow quality seedlings, you need extra light
Do not over-fertilize the seedlings
Transplanting Seedlings To A Garden: When To Move and How
Before moving your seedlings outside, there is a crucial step you should never skip. First, prepare your seedlings. Do this by letting them harden off. Transplanting the seedlings straight outside will not help them thrive healthily in your garden.
The hardening process will prepare them for the change in environmental conditions, increasing their chances of survival. If you skip this, you will get seedlings with weak stems and tender leaves that are easily crushed by rain and wind. To determine whether your seedling is ready for transplanting, check how much it has grown. It should be twice the height of the tray and have three to four true leaves.
After the necessary preparation, it is time to answer the “When” question. For lettuce and other greens, the light frost of the early spring is gentle enough to get them out in the garden. Do it in the morning or when it's cloudy, so they are protected from direct sunlight. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers can wait until you feel at ease in the garden wearing short sleeves.
Now, for the “How?” Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:
- Check the soil's moisture
- Level the surface with a rake
- Dig an ideal-sized planting hole
- Carefully remove the seedling from the pot
- Position the seedling in the hole and fill the hole with soil to the level of the seedling’s soil (exception: tomato plants can be buried deeper)
- Tap down and soak the soil
Protect your plants based on the weather forecast. If your area has a dry climate, add mulch around the roots to lessen moisture loss. Continue caring for your plants and you will reap the fruit of your labor in no time. Happy planting!