Starting garden vegetable or flower seedlings, for planting out into the garden in spring, is a hobby that is ballooning in popularity. One of the most common questions that I have heard while hanging around the seed rack is, "How do I stop my plants from stretching?" In this two part series of "Trade Secrets" I will let you know about a couple of techniques that are no fuss, chemical-free and easy. In the process I will drop a bit of jargon on you and arm you with some new terminology with which to impress your gardening friends.
Wise and Informed Scheduling
The itch to start planting, when you are sitting on the couch , during a winter blizzard and in the midst of a pandemic lockdown, is almost irresistible. However if you plant too soon you are dooming yourself to a battle. When your plants are
stretched to the point of needing a permanent home in the garden, but the temperatures outside are still too cold you will regret that early decision to sow your seeds. Many seed catalogues contain reliable sowing date information. We are going to try to help you by putting the sowing dates of our major crops on our "Events" Page of our website.
Adequate Light is Essential
There is a reason that we use a greenhouse as the structure of choice for growing our plants. It is challenging, without a greenhouse, to find a location in your house that offers enough light to keep seedlings straight and stocky. Thus it is that many folks turn to gardening under lights. Grow light fixtures are available in varying degrees of sophistication. Web articles get very detailed in suggesting "full spectrum" lighting. It is my experience that if your objective is to get bedding plants a head start before going to the garden, then your needs are simple. Simple fluorescent fixtures or LED fixtures placed close to your seedlings is all you need. It is helpful if your fixture can be moved up and down so as to allow for the growth of the plant. By adding this additional light, you will greatly increase your chance of producing strong seedlings that will successfully transplant to the garden.
In Part 2 of this topic we will focus on another couple of ideas to help keep your seedlings stretch-free. Simple, free, and clean.
Meanwhile you can Shop Seeds at Carleton Place Nursery Online