Starting from Seeds

You don’t need a greenhouse to produce healthy, vigorous transplants.

By Doug Hall

Photography by Mitch Mandel

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Press lightly to firm the soil around the roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Using a rose on the watering can, soak thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seedlings grown in a mix that includes compost probably won’t require fertilizer. In compost-free mixes, feed the seedlings lightly every 2 or 3 weeks after moving them to individual pots. Johnson recommends liquid kelp and fish emulsion, mixed at half the recommended rate.

Starting about 2 weeks before you plan to transplant the seedlings into the garden, move them to a sheltered spot outdoors for a few hours at a time. This process, called hardening off, allows the seedlings to adjust gradually to outdoor conditions such as wind and sun. “Slow down on water to let them toughen up,” Johnson says. “Be careful not to put them in direct sunlight right away.” Gradually increase their time outdoors and light exposure.

Indoor seed starting requires the gardener to develop new skills, but in the end, it’s worth it. As Johnson says, “Gardening is more rewarding when you start from seeds.”

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