Seed Propagation Yields Quantity at Low Cost
Many home gardeners choose seed propagation to grow an abundance of plants at relatively low cost. There are some facts to know about seed propagation before deciding which plants to try, and how to proceed.
Many types of seeds require around 6 to 8 weeks of indoor growing time before being transplanted. Time your preparations so that you won't have young plants for transplanting too soon or too late for their prime growth season.
Collecting and storing your own seeds
It's a good idea to collect seeds from your plants when they are ripe, but before the seedpods fall on the ground; this keeps them cleaner and helps prevent contamination from fungus or diseases. Once collected, store the seeds in a clean container, in a cool and dry environment. Since all plants are different, and many factors affect how and how long you can store them, consult with a nursery or other reliable source to be sure how to handle a certain variety.
Seeds packets - abundant, easy and inexpensive
Seed packets are an easy way to begin. There are numerous types of plants - herbs, vegetables, flowers, ornamental grasses and many more - available. Be sure to read the information included on the seed packet to determine when the seeds should be started and where - directly in the ground or indoor containers.
Some seed coats are hard, making it difficult for water to penetrate. These seeds have difficulty germinating without pre-soaking. To help the process along, some seeds benefit from breaking through the seed coat before soaking. Depending on the seed - and be sure you know the proper treatment for your particular seed - a knife, sandpaper, or pliers can be used to gently penetrate the coat. Seeds should be planted immediately after soaking, usually just a few hours.
Direct-to-ground seeding advantages
Starting seeds directly in the ground saves money and time - you won't need any indoor starting equipment and you still save money over buying flats of plants; just be sure that your seed type can tolerate outdoor starting. Once the seedlings have developed, thin them out so they aren't too crowded.
Basics of starting seeds indoors
Seeds started indoors benefit from germinating mixtures - combinations of peat moss, sand, vermiculite and perlite - instead of using straight soil. Peat pellets are quick and easy seed-starters. Seeds need the correct amount of moisture, and they need warmth more than sunlight to germinate. Once the seedlings have formed, they usually grow beautifully when placed by a windowsill.
Seed propagation is favored by people interested in heirloom and rare plants. Plus, there is a certain sense of achievement in helping to bring beauty out of a tiny seed.
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