Grow Your Own, Nevada! Spring 2013: Seeds Vs. Starts


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  • Vegetables can be classified based on the family or genus to which they belong – this gives us information about how to use and care for them. For example, plants from the genus Brassica are called cole crops, and they are generally cool-season crops – they grow best at cooler temperatures. Cucurbits come from the family Cucurbitaceae (the gourd family) – they grow best at warmer temperatures. Vegetables are also classified based on the plant part that is eaten – roots, leaves, or fruits. This is important during planting and care. Remember that high-nitrogen fertilizers produce vegetative growth – they work well with vegetables produced for their leaves but not so well on root vegetables. Roots vegetables should treated with a lower nitrogen fertilizer. On the other hand, both root and leafy vegetables do just fine in semi-shady areas of your yard, whereas fruit-bearing vegetables such as tomato or pepper require full sun to get enough photosynthate to produce flowers and fruit.
  • As mentioned previously, different vegetables have different tolerances for heat and cold. By using the map on the previous slide to find your frost-free date, knowledge of the frost-free period for your region, and information on the temperature tolerances of the vegetables you’d like to grow, you should be able to plan your garden. Information on this slide is specific to areas along the Wasatch Front in Utah, but similar information can be found at your local Cooperative Extension office. It is important that the first planting of your vegetables be as early in the spring as possible without danger of cold damage to the vegetable – that way you can be assured of a good harvest before the first fall frost.
  • Choosing a site for your garden is an important decision because it will ultimately determine how successful you will be. A good site will have plenty of sunshine and will be far enough away from trees to avoid shading at certain times of the day and so that vegetable roots don’t have to compete with tree roots for water and nutrients. Any rich, loamy soil will do as long as it is well draining. Gardens can be planted in clayey or sandy soils, but some preparation will need to be done ahead of time to improve its structure. Also consider where your water supply is, so that you will be able to irrigate when needed. The garden should not be located on a steep slope where water will run off rapidly – water that runs off is not available for plant growth and can lead to erosion of soil. If the garden must be planted on a gentle slope, plant in rows along or around the hill rather than up and down in order to allow water to drain into the soil.
  • Choosing a site for your garden is an important decision because it will ultimately determine how successful you will be. A good site will have plenty of sunshine and will be far enough away from trees to avoid shading at certain times of the day and so that vegetable roots don’t have to compete with tree roots for water and nutrients. Any rich, loamy soil will do as long as it is well draining. Gardens can be planted in clayey or sandy soils, but some preparation will need to be done ahead of time to improve its structure. Also consider where your water supply is, so that you will be able to irrigate when needed. The garden should not be located on a steep slope where water will run off rapidly – water that runs off is not available for plant growth and can lead to erosion of soil. If the garden must be planted on a gentle slope, plant in rows along or around the hill rather than up and down in order to allow water to drain into the soil.
  • National Climatic Data Center, U.S. Dept. of Commerce
  • Hybrids produced by controlled pollination, sometimes hand-pollination.For mass-production of F1 hybrids with uniform phenotype, the parent plants must have predictable genetic effects on the offspring. Inbreeding and selection for uniformity for a number of generations ensures that the parent lines are almost homozygous. The divergence between the parent lines promotes improved growth and yield characteristics in the F1 offspring through the phenomenon of heterosis ("hybrid vigour").Two populations of breeding stock with desired characteristics are subject to inbreeding until the homozygosity of the population exceeds a certain level, usually 90% or more. Typically this requires more than ten generations. After this happens, both populations must be crossed while avoidingself-fertilization. Normally this happens in plants by deactivating or removing male flowers from one population, taking advantage of time differences between male and female flowering or hand-pollinating.[4]In 1960, 99 percent of all corn planted in the United States, 95 percent of sugar beet, 80 percent of spinach, 80 percent of sunflowers, 62 percent of broccoli, and 60 percent of onions were hybrid. Such figures are probably higher today. Beans and peas are not commercially hybridized because they are automatic pollinators, and hand-pollination is prohibitively expensive.The main advantage of F1 hybrids in agriculture is also their drawback. When F1 cultivars are used for the breeding of a new generation, their offspring (F2 generation) will vary greatly from one another. Some of the F2 generation will be high in homozygous genes, as found in the weaker parental generation, and these will have a depression in yield and lack the hybrid vigour. From the point of view of a commercial seed producer which does not wish its customers to produce their own seed, this genetic assortment is a desired characteristic.Both inbreeding and crossing the lines requires a lot of work, which translates into a much higher seed cost. In general, the higher yield offsets this disadvantage.F1 hybrids mature at the same time when raised under the same environmental conditions. This is of interest for modern farmers, because all ripen at the same time and can be harvested by machine. Traditional varieties are often more useful to gardeners because they crop over a longer period of time, avoiding gluts and food shortages.
  • Great for seed savers!
  • The term "treated" means given an application of a pesticide or subjected to a process designed to reduce, control or repel disease organisms, insects, or other pests that attack seed or seedlings grown from treated seed. The kinds of seed that are normally treated with one or more pesticides are corn, peanuts, cotton, sorghum, wheat, oats, rye, barley, millet, soybeans (under some conditions), pine tree and most vegetable seed.There's been a handy technology developed for hard-to-handle seeds like carrot and lettuce. You can now buy them in pelletized form - each seed is enclosed in a clay-based round pellet. They are touted as reducing "time-consuming thinning and non-uniform stands", to quote the Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog.This is true, as far as it goes. What they don't tell you, though, is that often these seeds are also pre-prepped for quicker germination. This is done by exposing the seeds to water, waiting until they've swelled and are about to break out of their coat (germinate, in other words), then drying them down again. This has the advantage of improving the germination vigor of the seeds.This also has the effect of dramatically shortening the lifespan of these seeds. Carrot and lettuce seed are normally good for quite a few years if stored properly. The pre-prepped pelleted seeds, though, are only good for a single growing season at best!I like to use my seeds for several years. This allows me to try a lot of different varieties for a small amount of money. I do not think these pelleted seeds are a good idea for this reason. What really bothers me, though, is that a normally very ethical seed company isn't giving their customers the whole picture! If I hadn't specifically asked them about it, I'd never have found this out. Fortunately I had prior knowledge about commercial pre-prepping for farmers, and was able to ask the right questions.If you buy all new seed every year, then pelleted seed might be a great help to you. But remember, caveat emptor - make sure you know exactly what you're ordering before you buy!UPDATE: The Johnny's catalog now explains that their pelleted lettuce seed is pre-primed. Good for them! But unfortunately the carrot seed does not carry the same information, even though they pre-prime that seed as well.
  • A garden plan saves time and work and doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple drawing will do. On graph paper, draw a sketch of the area to be planted – preferably to scale. Remember that a small well kept garden gives better returns than a large weedy one. Try to avoid having taller plants shading out shorter ones – this can be done by planting rows in an east-west direction. Block gardens can also be used to get maximum yield from minimum space – a block garden is pictured on this slide. Larger gardens should have paths planned in for easy access for cultivation and harvest. Separate crops that will remain in the ground for multiple years – perennial crops – from annual crops to avoid disturbing perennial plant root systems. Succession cropping – planting at intervals of every two weeks – can provide an almost continuous harvest throughout the season. Most crops can be succession cropped, with the exception of slow-to-mature warm-season vegetables.
  • Most are viable three to five years, but there are exceptions. Gather a couple of zipper-lock plastic bags, sheets of paper towel (one per variety being tested), small plastic labels and an indelible marker. Count out 10 seeds of each kind being tested, place them in a row on a damp paper towel, and roll it up, with the label marked with the variety name rolled inside, too.Put the whole thing in a plastic bag (you can put a number of these rolls into one large bag) and leave it in a warm place. Check it after a few days, and again after a week, and so on, and make certain things stay moist inside. Count the seeds that have germinated, and multiply that number by 10 to get the percentage of viability. If eight seeds are alive, your packet it approximately 80 percent viable; go ahead and use it. If only three germinated, you should re-order—or sow very heavily if you have a lot of seeds left, or only need a few plants.
  • Certain conditions are required for optimal seed germination to occur. Seeds must be kept moist throughout the germination process. In a commercial setting this is accomplished by overhead misting on a propagation bench or watered from the bottom. At home, you can water the seed after planting and enclose the container in a clear plastic bag – this prevents moisture from evaporating and usually no further watering will be required until the seeds germinate. Seeds germinate best at warmer temperatures (usually 70 to 80F) but not in a sunny location, especially when plastic bags are used. Sunlight will build up heat under the plastic that will kill the seeds. Some plants, like cole crops, like cooler temperatures for germination. Cole crops include plants from the genus Brassica – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and mustard are examples. When planting outdoors, they should be started very early in spring. Some species , such as lettuce and grasses, require light to germinate and must be planted shallowly in the soil, but most seeds will germinate in dark or light. Germination requires oxygen, so the planting medium used must be well-drained to allow air circulation. Seeds germinated indoors should be planted in a soilless planting medium, such as fine perlite or Sphagnum peat. This will help to prevent damping-off disease caused by root-attacking fungal pathogens.
  • Seeds are usually planted in rows or hills. Mark each row with a labeled stake and form a shallow row with a hoe handle, using a string stretched the length of the row to keep it straight. Follow directions on the seed packet for appropriate planting depth and spacing. Don’t worry about planting too many seeds as some will not germinate and you will be thinning them after they germinate. A common practice is to interplant fast-germinating seeds such as radish with slow-germinating seeds such as carrots. The radishes will germinate in a few days and mark the row for you. They will be harvested in three weeks – well before the carrots start to develop. Make sure to water seeds in after planting and keep the soil moist until they germinate. Seeded plants will need to be thinned as soon as leaves of neighboring plants touch. Thinning allows you to choose the most vigorous plants and provides proper spacing between plants. Plants that are purchased or grown indoors for outdoor transplanting should be installed in the garden during the cooler part of the day – before 10 a.m. or in early evening. Vegetable transplants should be planted slightly deeper than they were in their pots. Tomatoes should be planted with a good portion of its stem in the ground to encourage adventitious root development along the submerged stem. Remember to harden off plants you have planted indoors from seed before bringing them outdoors. This involves gradually lowering the temperature and humidity and increasing light levels to which they have been exposed as seedlings.
  • After germination, the seed trays should be transferred to a light environment so seedlings can photosynthesize. Most seedlings can live off sugars provided by the cotyledons or seed leaves, but a complete fertilizer (20-20-20) may be used once a weak to provide other nutrients and produce more vigorous seedlings. Hardening off is a process whereby plants are gradually exposed to conditions they will experience once they’re moved outdoors. This process prevents transplant shock, which can happen when a plant is moved from a controlled environment to a harsher environment. Seedlings are gradually exposed to slightly cooler temperatures and reduced moisture.
  • Once seedlings have their true leaves, they will need to be transplanted up to larger pots, or into the ground. If seedlings are left too long in the same container, they will begin to crowd one another and compete for nutrients and light. Seedlings are delicate and must be transplanted with care. Use a flat tool or dibble to remove seedlings from their container. If transplanting from pony packs, tip the pot upside down, supporting the base of the plant with your hand. Squeeze gently on the pot to loosen and remove the plant. Take care not to injure young stems or roots. If transplanting must be delayed, plants can be stored at cool temperatures until ready to transplant – however, they must be brought out into the open for at least a day before transplanting. When transplanting into the ground, early in the day or late in the evening will minimize stress to the plant. Make sure to water new transplants thoroughly.
  • Grow Your Own, Nevada! Spring 2013: Seeds Vs. Starts

    1. 1. Heidi KratschState Horticulture Specialist
    2. 2.  What vegetables will you plant? What varieties will you choose? How will you arrange your garden? When should you start? Spacing between plants? Seeds or transplants? Conventional garden or “deep” organic?
    3. 3.  Cole crops (Brassica) – cabbage, broccoli,brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi,mustard Cucurbits – cucumber, melons, pumpkin,squash Solanaceous crops – potato, tomato, pepper,eggplant Root vegetables – beets, carrots, radish,rutabaga, turnips, sweet potato Perennials –artichokes, asparagus, garlic,rhubarb
    4. 4.  Early Spring (March15): cool seasonveggies Summer – late May toearly June: warmseason veggies Fall – August: coolseason veggies(again)
    5. 5. EARLY SPRING LATE SPRING/EARLYSUMMERLatesummerHARDY SEMI-HARDY TENDER VERY TENDER HARDYAsparagusBroccoliBrusselssproutsCabbageKaleLettuceOnionsParsleyPeasRhubarbSpinachTurnip andrutabagaBeetCarrotCauliflowerEndiveParsnipPotatoRadishSwiss chardTransplantsof cool-season cropsCeleryGreen beansNew ZealandspinachSweet cornCucumberEggplantLima beanMelonsOkraPepperPumpkinSquashSuper sweetCornSweet potatoTomatoBeetsCarrotsChinesecabbageCollardKaleLettucePeasRadishRutabagaSpinachTurnip andrutabaga
    6. 6.  Three-seasongardening Relaying:overlappingplanting of onecrop Planting severalvarieties of thesame crop
    7. 7. VegetableIdealsoiltempMinsoiltemp March April May June July Aug Sept Oct NovBeans 65-85 60Beets 55-75 40Broccoli 55-65 40Carrots 55-65 40Corn 70-85 60Cucumber 65-85 65Lettuce 55-65 40Melon 70-85 65Peas 55-65 40Peppers 65-80 60Radishes 55-75 40Spinach 55-65 40Tomatoes 65-70 60IndoorsPlantHarvest
    8. 8.  Sunlight – avoidtrees Good soil – sandyloam is best Source of water Avoid steep slopes Protection fromstrong wind
    9. 9.  Low-lying areas South-facing slopes Light availability Proximity tobuildings or largetrees Soil variations Neighboring plants Exposed orprotected areas
    10. 10. N
    11. 11.  South, east, westexposure Afternoon shadewill protectsensitive fruits in awestern exposure. Eastern exposure –sunlight lessintense (6 hoursminimum)
    12. 12. OSU Extension ServiceWhat kind of organic matter?Composted or well-rotted OM
    13. 13.  Ideal is 50%permeable. Should be as longas possible. Windbreaksmeeting at rightangles givemaximumprotection againstshifting winds.
    14. 14.  What vegetables will you plant? What varieties will you choose? How will you arrange your garden? When should you start? Spacing between plants? Seeds or transplants? Conventional garden or “deep” organic?
    15. 15.  No. of seeds perpacket Spacing for seeds ortransplants Growing tips foreach crop Don‟t forget tofigure in enough forsuccession planting Make use of verticalspaceSeed Spacing ChartVegetableSeedsperpacket SpacingArearequiredCorn 150 3 per foot(4 in.)50 row feetPole beans 85 2 per foot(6 in.)43 row feetLooseleaflettuce300 2 per foot(8-12 in.)150 rowfeetHead lettuce 300 1 per foot(10-12 in.)300 rowfeetTomatoes(indeterminate)30 1 per 2 feet(24 in.)60 row feetCarrots 800 4 per foot(3 in.)200 rowfeet
    16. 16.  Frost free period◦ Calculated from dateof last spring frost todate of first fall frost Days to maturity◦ Seed to harvest◦ Differs by cultivar Frost-tolerance
    17. 17.  Cultivar =cultivated variety Examples:◦ „Early Girl‟ tomatoes◦ „Sugar Ann‟ snappeas◦ „Buttercrunch‟ lettuce◦ „Royal burgundy‟bush beansCultivars are varieties within a cropselected for a particular characteristic.
    18. 18.
    19. 19.
    20. 20.  Tonopah: 110 -155 Fallon: 105 -130 Reno/Carson: 90-120 Winnemucca: 85 - 110 Elko: 60 -90 Eureka: 55 -85
    21. 21. F1 Hybrid (filial 1) – first generation
    22. 22.  Hybrid varietiescreated to meet theneeds of mostgrowing regions. Heirloom varietiesbetter at meetingthe specific needsof a region (likeNevada!)
    23. 23.  Resistant varietiesare not available forall crops. Tolerant – may geta disease butsurvive Resistant – usuallywill not get thedisease Typical key fordisease-resistance: V - Verticillium wiltF - Fusarium wiltN - NematodeT - Tobacco mosaicvirusA - Alternaria alternata(crown wilt disease)L - Septoria leafspot
    24. 24.  Su = high sugar:sugars 9-16% (lowshelf-life < 1 week) Se = sugaryenhanced: sugars14-35% (shelf-life> 1 week) Sh2 = super sweet:sugars 28-44%(shelf-life > 1week)
    25. 25.  Pelleted – encasedin a clay-basedpellet Treated - controlsdiseases and insectpests
    26. 26.  Must be accessible Hose dragging canpull up or damageplants. May need morethan one watersource.
    27. 27. A example of a 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed design
    28. 28.  Seed must be viable Internal conditionsof the seed must befavorable Environmentalconditions must befavorable
    29. 29.  Moisture Temperature Light◦ Lettuce and grains Air◦ Medium must bewell-drained Disease-free◦ Damping-offdisease Damping offMisting bench
    30. 30.  Fine-textured Uniformconsistency Loose, well-aerated Holds moisture butdrains well Low fertility Sterile Do not use 100%garden soil
    31. 31.  Seed flats or plasticcell packs Must have drainageholes Sterilize if recycled:1 part householdbleach to 9 partswater for 5 minutes
    32. 32.  Light◦ For photosynthesis Fertilizing◦ Provide low level of fertilizer no more than weekly Hardening off◦ Seedlings prepared for transplanting outdoors◦ Prevents transplant shock◦ Seedlings gradually exposed to cooler temperaturesand reduced moisture/humidity
    33. 33.  Low light intensityproduces pale,spindly seedlings Two 40-wattfluorescent tubes Position seedlings 6inches below Provide 16 hourslight daily
    34. 34.  Plants accumulate carbohydrates (food) Cell walls thicken Temporarily slows plant growth Increase length of exposure gradually (1 to 2weeks) Acclimatize to cold, wind, sun
    35. 35.  40°F – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi,cabbage, onion, leek, parsley 45°F – celery, Chinese cabbage, lettuce,endive 50°F – squash, pumpkin, sweet corn 55°F – cucumber, melon 60°F – basil, tomato, pepper
    36. 36.  Tomatoes, peppers,cauliflower,broccoli, cabbage,eggplant Critical for shortgrowing seasons Wait until soiltemperature is right
    37. 37.  Store at cooltemperaturesuntil ready Not until the firsttrue leaves haveemerged Handle with care! Transplant earlyin the day orearly evening
    38. 38.  Buying too manyvarieties Planting too manyseeds Starting seedsindoors too soon Hardening off toofast Putting plants in theground too soon Fertilizing close toflower development
    39. 39. Caused by planting when soils are too cold
    40. 40. Our favorites…
    41. 41.  Heirloom variety Fast growing – 3 to4 weeks Milder than othervarieties Firm and crisp –good for dips andsaladsDays to maturity 28 days
    42. 42.  Heirloom Takes full sun topart shade Dark green leaves Cool-seasonspinach „New Zealand‟ – nota true spinach butsame taste – cangrow through thesummer!Days to maturity 45-55 days
    43. 43.  Butterhead variety Stick with loose headrather than crisp head– more frequentharvest, fewer insects 1963 “All-AmericanSelection” winner More heat-tolerantthan other varieties „Speckles‟ – old Amishvariety - organicDays to maturity 65 days50 days to maturity
    44. 44.  3 to 4 inches long Sweet and tender Children like thesmaller sizeDays to maturity 65 day
    45. 45. „Golden Wax‟ (bush) „Kentucky Wonder (pole)50 to 55 days to maturity 65 days to maturity
    46. 46.  Heirloom introducedin the 1950s Not picky about soil orclimate Produces 7-inch ears Exceptionally earlyDays to maturity 70 days
    47. 47.  Heirloom variety Commonly known as“Patty Pan” An ancient variety verymuch prized by thenative North AmericanIndians and earlyEuropean settlers Can grow vertically,good flavor, producelike crazy Rarely abort due toimproper pollination 45 to 60 days to harvest
    48. 48.  Heirloom variety 5 to 8 inches indiameter Great for baking Earlier harvest thanmost wintersquashes Leave 2 inches stemwhen harvestingDays to maturity 80 days
    49. 49. „Marglobe‟ or „Celebrity‟ „Red Cherry‟ heirloomDays to maturity 75 daysDays to maturity 78 daysCrack-resistant Easy to grow
    50. 50.  Heirloom variety Indeterminate Gets over 3 feet tall Produces 12 to 16ounce tomatoes! Juicy, good balanceof sweet and acidity85 days to maturity
    51. 51.  Local garden centers/nurseries
    52. 52. Heidi