Sowing seeds is a process that is intrinsic to every home gardener and commercial farmer alike. Sowing seeds is an important beginning process no matter the size or purpose of the garden. It seems that no two gardeners do this process in exactly the same way. Nevertheless, here are some important points to consider with sowing seeds.
Seed starter kits are commercially available and many prefer to use these indoors. The benefit of this is that it is easy to control the growing conditions. Normally the seed sowing kits use potting soil that is purchased separately. The fragile sprouting plant can be sheltered from harsh winds and rain in this fashion.
Gardeners often choose to sow seeds outdoors when there is no room inside. Many times, direct seeding is used. Direct seeding is when seeds are sown directly into the ground instead of a container. Many times, seeds that are sown directly into the ground have less of a chance of survival. This is due to many factors.
For one thing, the quality of the soil may be inadequate to nourish the seed enough to sprout. Likewise, there may be harsh conditions such as driving rains that drown the seed. Many seeds do sprout when they are directly seeded but some will be lost. This is not a good method to use if there is very limited quantity of seeds or very low quality of soil.
It is certainly true that it is wise to sow extra seeds. This is because there is so much that can befall a young plant so that it does not survive. For instance, birds could eat the seeds. Disease may kill the young plant. Rain and wind could cause the demise of a young plant. Inadequate soil conditions can cause a plant to languish. Lack of proper space for vibrant rooting systems to grow can certainly be another problem. All of these are reasons to sow extra seed. When enough seed is sown, there is a more optimal chance that some of them will survive to become healthy plants.
The above is an overview of the process of sowing seeds. Some gardeners do this indoors while still others prefer outdoor seed sowing. There are many ways of getting the garden started and it just depends upon what is comfortable and works for each individual. Get started gardening now and see which way feels and works best.
To understand how seedlings are formed during the germination of a seed, one must first understand the parts of a seed. Seeds are a small package containing the genetic material of fully developed parent plants. Fully developed seeds include a plant embryo and usually some basic food reserves. These two components are surrounded by the seed coat which is the hard outer layer of the seed.
Within every batch of seeds there will be some that never germinate. These are usually lacking the embryo. However, most seeds also go through a period where there is no growth. The time is known as dormancy. In this stage, seeds can be packaged, stored and transported without damage. In addition, seeds with a dormant stage will remain dormant until the environment which it is in is favorable to a healthy growth.
There are several factors necessary for seeds to germinate. These include temperature, water, oxygen and light. Different types of seeds require different temperatures in order to begin to germinate. Many seeds germinate around room temperature, while others require warmer air and soil temperatures in order to thrive. Other plants like lettuces require lower temperatures for germination. This is the reason that spring plants all seem to pop up at the same time. The seeds for those plants require a temperature above freezing in order to come out of dormancy.
Water is always required for germination. Seeds that are dormant are often very dry and thus need large amounts of water to moisten the seed. Water is taken into the seed via a process called imbibition. Once the water is imbibed, the process of germination begins. First, the water causes the seed to swell which breaks the seed coat. Next, the water causes hydrolytic enzymes to be released which change the saved food reserves into chemicals that are useful for the baby plant.
Energy for the young plant comes from oxygen. It is important to note that seeds must not be planted too deeply into the soil. If the seeds are covered by too much soil, the seeds will be oxygen starved and will not fully germinate. Until the plant grows true leaves and begins to produce food using photosynthesis, oxygen is needed for aerobic aspiration.
Light is a less common factor in germination. Many plants just rely on the above three environmental requirements in order to begin to grow. Some forest plants require a certain amount of light to germinate. This guarantees that there will be a sufficient break in the canopy above to provide the sunlight needed for the mature plant to thrive using photosynthesis.
The seed coat of many plants can require other things in order to weaken enough for germination to begin. Some plants require that the seeds pass through the digestive tract of an animal, go through the heat of a fire or soak in water for an extended period of time. Scoring a seed can mimic some of these harder to start plants so that the success rate of germination is higher. The germination rate of seeds varies based on the species but is often expressed in percentages. This percentage is often used to calculate the number of seeds a grower may need to plant in order to get a desired number of successful seedlings. Understanding the process of germination can increase your success at growing plants from seed.
Transplanting seedlings to a garden can seem like a daunting task, but with the help of these tips, anyone can do it.
Prepare the soil: The first step for transplanting seedlings to a garden is to prepare the soil. First, break up the soil until it is 6 to 10 inches deep. During this step, you can add manure, compost, fertilizer and all of the good things that will allow your seedlings to prosper. If you can, perform a soil test because it determines whether you need to add something to it.
Prepare for the elements: Before planting the seedlings to your garden, expose them to the elements. This step must not be skipped because if the seedlings aren’t prepared to brave the elements, they can suffer from shock and die.
Irrigation: Irrigation is a crucial step in this process. The simplest way to ensure your seedlings get the necessary amount of water is to install an automatic sprinkler; they are very easy-to-use and affordable.
Look at the weather: The best time to start planting your new seedlings to the soil is on a cloudy day. During this time, seedlings have a chance to adjust to their new outdoor setting. Also, the best time to plant your seedlings is during the evening.
Plant your seedlings deeply, not too deeply: The best depth for a seedling is 6 to 10 inches.
Take care of the roots: The roots are the heart of the seedling, so they should be handled with a tender hand. When removing the seedling from its pot, make sure to carefully turn it upside down and pat it gently; this helps the seedling come out quickly. During this process, most people commit the error of trying to pull the roots out by yanking and tugging on the stem of the seedling, but this can actually cause damage to the seedling. However, if your seedlings are planted in a peat pot, you won’t have to remove them from the pot; just plant them into the soil with the pot.
Water the plants: Once your seedlings are in the soil, water them because it helps the soil settle into the roots. You can also water the seedlings with compost tea; this helps boost their color and strength.