Seeds, Seeding, & Growing Transplants


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Luke Freeman
Oklahoma Beginning Farmer & Rancher Program 2012
Horticulture #2: May 19
starting seeds in the greenhouse, growing healthy organic plants and transplants

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Seeds, Seeding, & Growing Transplants

  1. Seeds, Seeding & Growing TransplantsLuke Freeman, Horticulture Program Assistant Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Beginning Farmer Workshop, May 19, 2012
  2. Understanding Seeds:How seeds workBotany of the Seed:A. Self-contained package 1. Genetic material 2. Embryonic plant 3. Stored food
  3. Understanding Seeds:How seeds workDormancy:A. Waiting until the time is rightB. Breaking seed dormancy 1. Temperature, chilling 2. Light, exposure 3. Physical abrasion, scraping seedC. Dormancy is not an issue with most vegetable seed
  4. Understanding Seeds:How seeds workGerminationA. MoistureB. Temperature 1. Optimum usually between 75˚F and 90˚F 2. Depends on the seed typeC. AirD. Light 1. Some seeds need light, some need darkness
  5. The Johnny’s CatalogOptimum germinationtemperature
  6. Understanding Seeds:How seeds workGermination Tests:A. Testing for seed viability 1. Moist paper towel, rolled and placed in a sealed plastic bag 2. Potting mediaB. Keep warm, 70˚F to 80˚FC. Calculate percentage of seeds that germinated
  7. Understanding Seeds:Storing seedsThe Right Storage EnvironmentA. Cool temperature, 32˚F to 41˚FB. Low moisture, 4-6% 1. Make sure that seeds and seed packets are completely dry before storageC. Use containers with tightly-sealing lidsD. Most seeds will keep about 3 years
  8. Understanding Seeds:Storing seedsSeed viability charttaken fromThe New Seed-Starters Handbook
  9. Understanding Seeds:Choosing the right seedsVariety Selection:A. Heirloom or Open Pollinated (OP) 1. Necessary if planning on saving seedB. Hybrid (F1) 1. Traditional breeding 2. Cross between two different parentsC. Genetically Engineered (GE or GMO) 1. Genes from another species inserted into DNA 2. Not allowed in organic production
  10. Understanding Seeds:Choosing the right seedsOther Considerations:A. Adaption to regional climateB. Disease and pest resistanceC. Days to maturityD. Flavor and keeping qualityE. Customer preference
  11. High MowingSeed CatalogDisease resistance
  12. When to Plant:Determining planting datesField PlantingA. Cooperative Extension publications 1. OSU Garden Guide on flash driveB. Calculate dates based on first average frost 1. National Weather Service websiteC. Monitor soil temperatureD. Anticipate weather patterns
  13. When to Plant:Determining planting datesPlanting in the GreenhouseA. Count backwards from field planting dateB. Know how long from seeding to transplanting 1. Usually 4 to 6 weeks
  14. How to Plant: In the fieldA. Seeding Depth 1. Depends on size of seed 2. Easily set by seeder 3. Adjust depth of incorporationB. Seed Spacing 1. Seed thick and thin laterC. Distance Between Rows 1. Think about wheel width of equipment
  15. How to Plant:In the greenhouseA. Selecting Media for Seeding 1. Seed-soil contact, fine texture 2. Pore space 3. Water retention 4. Nutrient valueB. Potting Mix vs. Seed Starting Mix 1. Different texture and nutrient needs
  16. See this publicationif you are interestedin mixing your ownpotting media.Electronic copy onyour flash drive.
  17. How to Plant:In the greenhouseC. Choosing Your Planting Containers 1. Flats – plastic or wooden 2. Soil blocks 3. Plug trays 4. Plastic cell packs 5. Peat pots
  18. How to Plant:In the greenhouseD. Covering Your Seeds 1. Dry media or vermiculite, 1/8 – 1/2” 2. Some small seeds don’t need to be coveredE. The Right Environment for Germination 1. Warmth - heat pad 2. Moisture - cover tray with plastic, aluminum foil, or damp newspaper or burlap 3. Light - if neededF. After Seeds Have Emerged 1. Remove tray cover and place in light 2. Lower air temperature
  19. At the Kerr Center
  20. Growing Out Transplants:Environmental conditionsA. Temperature 1. Lower than germination temp 2. Usually 70˚F to 80˚F, 10˚F lower at nightB. Light 1. Natural light – as much as possible 2. Artificial light – 16 hours under a grow light is optimal a. Full spectrum fluorescent bulbs
  21. Growing Out Transplants:Environmental conditionsC. Air Flow 1. Prevents disease buildup 2. Leads to hardier seedling 3. Passive or active cooling of greenhouse
  22. Growing Out Transplants:IrrigationWatering Your TransplantsA. System dependent on scaleB. Hand watering 1. Check for moisture every dayC. Automated irrigation 1. Irrigation timer 2. Micro sprinklers
  23. Growing Out Transplants:FertilityFocus on Organic Fertility in Potting MixA. Compost or vermicompostB. Fertility mix, equal parts: 1. Blood meal (N) 2. Soft rock phosphate (P) 3. Greensand (K)Adding Biology to Potting MixA. Mycorrhizae – P, Zn, Cu, moistureB. Rhizobium – N fixation
  24. Growing Out Transplants:FertilityFoliar FertilizerA. Drench foliage with liquid fertilizer in early part of morning using sprayerB. Fish emulsion/hydrolysate (N, P)C. Kelp extract/meal (K, hormones, vitamins)FertigationA. Injecting irrigation water with liquid fertilizerB. Use liquid fish and kelp
  25. Growing Out Transplants:Potting UpMoving Seedlings to a LargerContainerA. Prevents seedling from becoming root boundB. Encourages more root developmentC. Necessary if starting seeds in flats, small soil blocks, or small plug traysD. Wait until seedlings have first true leaves
  26. Growing Out Transplants:Hardening offPreparing Seedlings To Be Planted OutA. Gradually acclimate seedlings to field conditions 1. Start 1 week prior to planting out 2. Decrease watering 3. First day spent in the shade for 1 hour 4. Protect seedlings from strong wind and rain
  27. Growing Out Transplants:Hardening offPreparing Seedlings To Be Planted OutB. By end of week, seedlings should be adjusted to a full day in the sun
  28. Growing Out Transplants:Planting outPerfect TimingA. Before transplants become root bound or too mature 1. Root bound tomatoes will start to flowerB. Overcast days with little wind are idealC. Evening is the best time of day
  29. Growing Out Transplants:Planting outEasing the TransitionA. Mix in compost or vermicompost before planting outB. Provide plenty of waterC. Water in with fertilizer solution to provide immediate nutrition 1. Fish emulsion/hydrolysate 2. Kelp extract/meal 3. Humic acid 4. Compost tea soil drench
  30. Growing Out Transplants:Planting out
  31. Growing Out Transplants:Planting out
  32. Growing Out Transplants:Planting out
  33. Growing Out Transplants:Electronic Resources on Flash Drive
  34. Seeds, Seeding & Transplants:Further Reading
  35. Happy Seeding!Any other questions?