Starting Your Organic Garden From Seed
“Sow dry and plant wet.” This rule of green thumb is common sense when planning to plant seeds in your garden. Sowing from seed is much cheaper than buying and transplanting young plants from a garden center. However, if you live in a more northern climate, you will likely have to grow your seeds indoors first, then plant after the threat of frost is well over. Tomatoes are one example, as they need a long growing season.
Sowing Your Seeds Indoors
To sow indoors, you will need a clean pot or seed tray containing a sterile seed starting mix. A good organic soil mix would be vermiculite or perlite mixed with good compost.
Fill the container to just below the rim and gently press the soil mix around the edges to remove any air pockets. Sow your seeds thinly on the surface of the soil, or check instructions on your seed package for sowing depth. Tap them directly from the seed packet or from a folded piece of paper.
If the seeds you are sowing are very small and fine, then before sowing, mix in a small quantity of fine sand so you can distribute them more evenly into the soil. Large seed or pelleted seeds can be sown straight into individual pots or containers.
Water your seeds lightly as soon as they are sown by placing the trays in tepid water until the soil is moist – this does not disturb them. To maintain even humidity, you can cover the trays or pots with a sheet of glass or clear plastic. If the seeds require darkness to germinate, then place a sheet of newspaper on it, until the seeds begin to sprout.
Keep your seed trays shaded and the soil mix moist. When the first shoots emerge, remove any covers.
Planting Seeds Directly In Your Garden
Wait for a dry spell before sowing your seeds outdoors. Don’t plant seeds in very wet conditions, or you may lose many to mold and fungus. Only give enough water to coax them to germinate. Always firm the soil around the seeds, either by treading on it or firming it with the back of your hand. If seeds are sown in a loose growing medium, cold, dry air can shrivel or dry them as they begin to germinate.
For best results, sow seeds into a bed of well–cultivated and finely raked soil.
Transplanting Your Seedling Outdoors
When the threat of frost is well past, it is time to plant your seedlings outdoors. Wait until your young plants have at least three pairs of leaves on them. Then plant them into weed-free, crumbly soil, handling each one as little as possible. Do this in wet weather so the roots have the best chance of taking hold. Don’t worry if they look rather sad for a few days, just keep the soil damp.
The optimum time to plant is just after a good rainfall, and when the next few days are supposed to have a mixture of cloud and rain. If you know a lot about building an organic garden, you know that the soil means everything. Rich organic compost and manure mixed into your soil will bring about stronger and healthier plants.
When to plant depends on your soil and situation, but think of the old English saying – ” If you can sit on the ground with your trousers down, then you can sow your seeds.” Happy planting!
Contributed by Goorganicgardening.com. Click here to read all about organic gardening, composting, and seed sowing.