A foolproof system for starting seeds

Try this compact seed-starting system

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A foolproof system for starting seeds

  • A foolproof system for starting seeds

STEP-BY-STEP:

To sow the seeds, wet the tip of a wood chopstick, touch it to two dry seeds, poke them into the potting soil, and release the seeds by twisting the chopstick as you pull it out. Most seeds germinate well if you sow them about 1/4 inch deep; cover seeds and firm soil over them. Water the seed flats and keep the soil moist. Turn on the heating mats and keep them on until transplant time.

When seedlings break the surface, turn on the lights. Hang the lights in their low position, about 7 inches above the flats; keep them on from breakfast to bedtime.

Once seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall, use scissors to nip off the weaker one in each cell.

When seedlings develop two sets of true leaves), they're ready to transplant. You can move them into 4-inch pots for a few weeks to develop sturdier stems. Or if you prefer to set them directly in the garden, first harden off plants by moving the flat outdoors to a spot where they'll get filtered sun and be protected from cold at night. After four days, plant them in the ground. Be prepared to protect them against nighttime frosts with hot caps or row covers. About two months after transplanting, the first ripe fruits will be ready to harvest.

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