Seeds Outdoors Part 2 Tiger Tip
Seeds Outdoors Part 2
CHOOSING A SPOT
Where you choose to start your seedlings is one of the most important decisions you can make. Unless you plan on transplanting your seedlings, the spot you choose to sow in is the place where they will grow, and they need to be able to access the resources they need in that place. The first consideration is light. Your Botanical Interests seed packet will indicate the optimal amount of light for your plants. The recommendations are general and can vary slightly by time of year, elevation, or directional exposure. Full sun indicates that your plant likes plenty of sun -6-8+ hours of direct sun each day is best. Part sun and part shade are the same. This means that your plants require some sun, but may not perform their best in all-day summer sun, so 3-6 hours is best. Shade means that your plants require some protection from excessive sun. This does not usually mean, however, that your plants should be placed in the deepest shade possible with no direct sun exposure. Flowering plants that are meant for shade still require some sun to produce blossoms. Shade plants do best with 3 or less hours of sun each day. Many recommendations will mix two of these groups, like “Sun to part shade.” This means that the plant will perform in sun ranging from approximately 3 to 8 or more, hours a day.
Once you have found a spot with the right amount of sun, you need make sure that your plant will have enough room to grow. Your Botanical Interests seed packet will tell you the amount of space your plants will need to perform their best. Plants that are crowded together will compete for resources and may not produce the expected results.
Once you have determined that you have the right amount of sun and space, it is time to look at your soil. The soil you sow your seeds in may be the most prominent factor influencing germination, growth and performance of your plants. There is a common phrase used to describe the ideal soil for most plants, usually stated as, “fertile, well-drained soil.” This describes soil that holds some water, but not too much, has a reasonable amount of available plant nutrients, and has a texture that allows penetration of both water and plant roots. This soil will work for most plants. Some plants prefer other specific soil conditions and your Botanical Interests seed packet will tell you this.
Before you sow seeds in a given spot, you should discover the nature of the soil. This would be the time to amend your soil or remedy any of its shortcomings. Your local county Extension service is a great place to start. They have lots of information about local soils. They can give you recommendations for amending it, and direct you to soil-testing services to help you make good fertilizer choices.
After you are happy with the condition of your soil, it is time to prepare it to receive seeds. Finer soil is better at holding moisture. Carefully preparing the surface soil will help your seeds germinate reliably and allow their fine roots to penetrate the soil more easily, leading to quicker establishment. If you choose a seed that takes a while to germinate, you can use a mulch cover to help retain soil moisture. You can also use vermiculite, fine-ground peat, or horticultural polymers in your planting trenches or holes to help maintain moisture near the developing seeds.