Sometimes novices to horticulture are reluctant to sow their own seeds, preferring plants that are immediately ready to plant. Indeed, there are many assumptions and the fear of failure is often a brake. However, seeding is the most economical method of getting plants in quantity and following a few simple rules makes seeding child’s play!
Tip 1: Organize and plan your sowing
Planning is an art: you have to think, anticipate and write everything down. This is the certainty that you do not waste seeds, do not miss the right sowing time, use the space optimally and manage your time well. It also prevents you from having to start over. So grab a notebook and pencil, make an inventory of your grain library, your needs, and make a little calendar. Indicate which species, which variety, where, when and how should be sown.
Tip 2: To harvest early, do not sow early:
When sowing indoors, it happens that the young seedlings develop a long thin stem, which is not stiff and collapses, this is because they lack light and are too hot. Indeed, the temperature is generally favorable for growth, but paradoxically these will grow in the absence of light. And as the stems thin, the young shoots get smaller, paler and weaken…sometimes to the point of death. This is what is called seedling etiolation or more commonly said to “turn seedlings”! To avoid this phenomenon of wilting seedlings, it is advisable not to sow too early in the year, but to wait until the days get longer. It is also important to avoid over-sowing, so don’t hesitate to thin out a few days after the seeds germinate.
Tip 3: Acclimate your seedlings gradually:
If you move the plants too quickly from the sheltered atmosphere of the house, greenhouse or window to the cold outside, they will come under real stress. The walls of their cells are too soft to withstand even moderate desiccation from the wind, the heat of direct sunlight, the too rapid rise and fall of temperature, and the coolness of the nights. Ideally, this transition will take place over two weeks. We start by leaving the plants in the shade for an hour or two during the day, then later and later we bring them indoors and finally leave them outside, in moderate sun, when there is no longer any chance of frost.
Tip 4: Transplant seedlings at the right time:
After emergence, the two “leaves” you see are actually cotyledons, ie spare organs from the seed and intended to nourish the seedling so that it develops its root. The two true leaves then appear. You can transplant up to about the six-leaf stage. Most importantly, the seedlings do not wilt if kept too close together. Transplanting is the movement of the seedling from the box where it grows to an individual pot or directly outside into the ground. The seedling should be traumatized as little as possible during this operation. Preferably continue on a cool, sunless day or work early in the morning.