Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: March 8, 2007

Plants from Seed Printable Version (PDF)
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Every gardener at some point in their life should start plants from seed. You don't need a lot of fancy equipment or a greenhouse. This is also a great project for kids as evidenced by the picture daughter's sunflowers growing in a sunny window on my piano bench! As long as you have a sunny indoor location, you can start seeds.

Growing plants indoors from seed that will be transferred to the garden is also a wonderful way to save money. Most summer annuals and vegetables are started 4-6 weeks before the last anticipated frost. For us in northern Georgia, that's late February or early March so that the plants can be planted outside in the first two weeks of April.

Any type of container will do so long as it drains well. If the soil is too wet around your seedlings, they may develop damping-off - a fungal disease that kills young plants. Provide as much light as possible for your emerging plants. A very sunny window will work but even better would be the use of artificial lights such as grow lights or even fluorescent lights used at close proximity. If you're really motivated, you can build a PVC light stand and place it above your seedlings.

There are many commercial soils and products designed for starting seeds. I've tried several and all work just fine for the beginner who's not working with any high-maintenance or difficult plants.

Some easy flowering annuals to start from seed include: sunflowers, cosmos, nasturtium, larksup and cleome. Some of the more popular vegetables started by home gardeners from seed include: tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons and squash. All of these make great kid-friendly projects.

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