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Seedling Care tips: care guide

by dig the dirt editor

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If you buy your seedling or have started your own from seed, you need to know what to do with them. Here is a basic care guide for your vegetable seedlings to make them as successful as possible.

WATERING
Water the garden evenly and consistently, preferably during the early morning hours to allow the sun to dry the foliage before nightfall. Once the garden is established and mulch is in place, you may water the garden less frequently but for longer periods of time to encourage deep rooting. This system will enable the roots to seek water and nutrients at deeper levels in times of need.

Containerized plants will require more frequent watering as the root balls are less protected from the elements. Check them twice daily during hot and dry conditions.

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 FERTILIZING
Feed at planting time and at monthly intervals during the growing season. We suggest that you use natural, slow-release formulas that will nourish the soil as well as the plants. When foliar feeding, apply the fertilizer in the early morning hours before the sun has warmed. Scratch pelletized or granular formulas into the top 1-2 inches of soil. Containerized gardens will require more frequent fertilization as the nutrients are leached out of the pots with each watering.

 

CULTIVATING
Occasional shallow cultivation will help to keep weeds in check as well as loosen the topsoil, allowing for better water absorption. Use caution to avoid damaging surface roots and remember to add any weeds into the compost pile -- they are a great source of nitrogen. Cultivate when weeds are small and before they have gone to seed.

 

SUPPORTING
Tomato plants will definitely need supports, such as stakes or cages, and if your soil is rich, peppers will also benefit from some type of support. In some cases, you might even want to stake eggplants to help keep them upright. Climbing plants, such as peas, beans and many members of the cucurbitaceae family (including squashes and cucumbers), require or will benefit from growing on some type of support. When guiding the vines onto the support, remember to train them in a clockwise fashion.

 

 MULCHING
Mulching helps retain soil moisture, maintain even soil temperatures, and suppress weed growth. Spread the mulching material as soon as the seedlings reach several inches in height. There are many choices for mulch but remember to apply a nitrogen source (such as alfalfa meal or cottonseed meal) when using heavy bark or carbon materials to prevent deficiencies in plants.

Tags

SEEDLINGS, vegetable gardening, seeds

comments

good stuff!
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nematode commented on 05/03/10

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