Seeds such as broccoli
, and arugula use moisture efficiently and germinate promptly without presoaking. But slower-starting parsley and parsnip
seeds benefit from presoaking. Dunk the seeds in room-temperature water
for several hours or even overnight, but don't forget them and leave
them in too long. Drain and plant the seeds immediately.
water-filled tepees around early planted tender vegetables for
protection from the cold. You can buy inexpensive plastic sheets of
connected tubes that, when filled with water, form self-supporting
walls around seedlings. The clear walls allow sun to penetrate to the
plant inside while the solar-heated water stays warm into the night.
than direct sowing, start with large seedlings grown on the windowsill
or purchased at a nursery for quick results especially in cold
climates. This strategy works well for tender vegetables such as
beefsteak tomatoes and chili peppers,
which take a long time to ripen but must squeeze in their performance
before the last curtain (frost) does them in for the season.
for seedlings grown in large pots (check for a strong, well developed
root system) with healthy green leaves and a sturdy constitution. Avoid
neglected, spindly, or overgrown seedlings.
Note that not every seedling transplants well when older. Cucumbers
, squash, zucchini
, and gourds are best started by direct sowing or from young seedlings planted carefully to minimize root disturbance.
leggy vegetable seedlings deeper (up to the first set of leaves) to
provide a stronger start outdoors. Seedlings started indoors or in
crowded greenhouses (places without enough light) may develop lanky,
barren stems that topple over in the garden. As long as they grow from
a single stem (rather than a rosette of leaves) and go into
well-drained soil, leggy seedlings can be submerged slightly deep for
flexible-stemmed seedlings like tomatoes, a horizontal planting trench
is better than a vertical one. It is warmer and better aerated than
deeper soil, encouraging good root growth and fast development.
cutworms away from seedlings with the cardboard centers of toilet paper
rolls. Cutworms, which are moth caterpillars, creep along the soil
surface, eating tender stem bases of young seedlings and cutting
sprouts off at the roots.