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Starting Seeds Indoors by Chris Turse Rooting Dc
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Starting Seeds Indoors by Chris Turse Rooting Dc


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  • 1. Starting Seeds Indoors
  • 2. Mendell and His Peas…
    • C ontain s genetic material
    • Heirloom
    • Open-pollinated vs. hybrid
    • Seed saving
  • 3. Fertilization
    • W hen a male pollen cell (sperm cell) forms a union with a female egg cell (ovum), a seed is formed
  • 4. Seed Anatomy
    • Three main parts
      • embryo
        • young plant
      • seed coat
        • protects
      • seed leaves (cotyledons)
        • food reserve
  • 5. Seeds!
    • 4-18% water
    • Smallest seed?
    • The largest seed?
  • 6. Seed Selection
    • USDA Zone 7
    • E arly frost (around October 10 th )
    • Late frost (around May 10 th )
    • Annual
    • Biennial
    • Perennial
    • Season extension
  • 7. Seed Selection
    • T rustworthy dealer
    • R ead information in seed catalogs and on seed packets
  • 8. Germination
    • M ature seed: right environment
      • stratification
      • scarification
    • KEYS: water, oxygen, and temperature
  • 9. Seed Storage
    • Leftovers?
      • K eep inside packet, place into a plastic bag, and then into a refrigerator
      • T ime of storage is variable
  • 10. Planting Media
    • T wo groups: soilless media and amended soil mixes
    • S oil l ess media is generally used to start seeds
    • A mended soil mixes generally used to transplant
  • 11. Soilless Media
    • S phagnum moss, pumice, peat moss,vermiculite, perlite, sand, pine bark, coconut fiber , good compost!
    • Environmental concerns
    • Key: fine and uniform yet well aerated and loose
    • Oxygen!
  • 12. Amended Soil Mix
    • T ransplanting
    • C ontain s compost and/or a mixture of organic plant nutrients  
    • M ix your own or buy pre-mix
    • Oxygen!
  • 13. Sterile Soil
    • N o insects, disease organisms, or weed seeds
    • C ompost contains benefical micro-organisms and may help fight disease
  • 14. Re-using Soil?
    • ‘ T reat ’ the soil in an oven to sterilize it  
    • 250 degrees Fahrenheit
    • C ook soil at an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit for at least a half hour.  
    • D o not overheat  
    • S melly process!
  • 15. Containers
    • Must be sterile
    • R inse with 9:1 water:chlorine  
    • P lastic cups, milk cartons, egg cartons, N ewspaper, and yogurt cups, soil blockers
    • P ut holes in bottom for drainage and oxygen supply to roots
  • 16. Containers
    • P urchase plastic ‘flats‘and ‘trays’
    • Different sizes for different crops
  • 17. Planting Your Seed
    • F ill it to within 3/4 inches from the top with moistened medium
    • Gently tamp down (do not press hard!) and create a flat, uniform surface
    • Remove rocks, sticks, and/or large clumps of soil from the surface  
  • 18. Label!
  • 19. Planting Depth
    • S eed packet
    • T wice the diameter rule
    • M ost plants germinate in dark
    • Plant more seeds than you will use
  • 20. Water!
    • A fter seeds have been sown, water with room temperature water
    • D on ’ t wash the seeds away or change their depth with heavy watering
  • 21. Water!
    • ‘ W icking ’ action works
    • Or… cover the container with a plastic bag or sleeve
    • O ne inch away from the soil and there should be air flow
  • 22. Water!
    • Soil should remain moist throughout germination  
    • Remove the plastic as soon as the seedlings emerge
  • 23. Water!
    • After seedlings emerge, watering increases  
    • If utilizing the wicking method, run water through containers occasionally to keep plants healthy and inhibit disease.  
    • The soil should always be moist to the touch and not dry or soggy.
  • 24. Temperature
    • Temperature is probably the most important factor in starting seeds indoors without a greenhouse.  
    • O ptimal germination temps for different crops
    • P urchase seed starting heating mats
    • S tart seeds that require lower temperatures to germinate such as: lettuce, brassicas, and alliums  
  • 25. Temperature
    • A fter germination, move seeds to cooler temp.
    • 55-60 degree F night temp
    • 65-70 degree F day temp  
    • D ifferent temperature for different crops  
  • 26. Light Requirements
    • I ntense light needed after germination  
    • South facing windor- at least four hours of direct sun
    • 40-watt cool fluorescent tube or special plant growth lamp (HPS)
    • S ixteen hours each day
    • 6-12 inches above seedlings
  • 27. Buy or Build Your Own!
  • 28. Transplanting
    • T rue l eaves ?
    • Time to step-up to soil mix
    • S elect strongest seedling
    • T hin by cutting top of plant off ; don ’ t disturb roots  
    • ‘ S trongest ’ criterion- straight, strong stems, no discoloration and/or odor throughout entire seedling, and lush leaf growth
  • 29. Transplanting
    • Be very gentle with your seedling and try to avoid tearing the roots in the process!  
    • H andle by leaves and not delicate stems
  • 30. Transplanting
    • Fill a container to about an inch from the top (to allow room for watering)
    • M ake a hole in the center of the container
    • Gently place the plant into the whole and make sure that the roots have room to spread out
    • The depth of the plant should mirror the depth at which the seedling was originally at in the old container
    • Gently tamp soil down around the plant and water softly  
  • 31. Hardening Off
    • L ast step - essential to ensure healthy, vigorous plants
    • P rocess of acclimating young plants to the outdoors from their indoor environment
    • G radually lowering temperatures, relative humidity, and reducing water about one- two weeks before planting in the garden
    • M eant to slow plant growth, not stop
    • A fter proper hardening, cold-hearty plants can be planted outdoors and light frosts will not damage the m (even tomatoes!)
  • 32. Hardening Off
    • S haded area protected from intense wind, full sunlight, and very low temperatures
    • O ptimal temperature- 45-50 degrees F
    • Cold-frame is ideal
  • 33. Transplanting to Field
  • 34.
    • Raised beds
    • Correct depth
    • Stimulate roots
    • Mulch
    • Water-in
    Transplanting to Field
  • 35. Direct Seeding
    • Some plants respond better to direct seeding and should not be transplanted (dill, carrot, cilantro)
    • Usually larger seeded veggies, root crops, flowers
  • 36. Questions?