Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winds don’t defeat seed germination efforts -

Wind, wind go away! If you regularly check this blog you might have gathered by now that I’m a big fan of germination fabric. With all the recent windy days, I thought the lettuce, kale, kohlrabi and other small seed I planted might not germinate. It seemed like the surface soil was drying out faster than I could replace it with once or twice a day watering.

Indeed I wasn’t sure the fabric would stay in Colorado and not end up in Kansas. This in spite of being secured with wire U pin anchors punched through the fabric into the soil plus heaps of soil piled on the edges. I got good germination, thank you, as you can see from the photos of lettuce seedlings left and the familiar notched leaves of cabbage family plants right. I know I couldn’t have achieved that germination percentage if it weren’t for the fabric.

Shallow planting to avoid burying seed and surface moisture for germination (wetting top ¼ to ½ inch) are critical to getting seedling emergence.

The next challenge is to keep seedlings moist enough to develop a root system and grow. After that they can be weaned from light, frequent watering to less time intensive every two day and then every three day watering. Gradual changes in watering frequency are best to avoid stressing plants. Keep them actively growing to preserve quality.

Photo credit: Lettuce seedlings and kohlrabi seedlings, both Carl Wilson

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I've just discovered your blog, and it's just what I need. Last year, I decided that if I was going to put the effort into growing a garden, then I wanted an end product I can eat. I've got a balcony hoop house which has just barely survived all of the recent wind, but is growing some beautiful cold-season crops. We'll be eating lettuces by next week, and the radishes look gorgeous.

    Just today, we put a truckload of mature horse manure on the outdoor beds, and now I'm very excited to get growing.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge!