It’s that time of year when some people are beginning to pull out seedling kits and potting soil, while other scoff at the idea of starting a garden so early. But, here in Austin, Texas, where the sun is warm all year round, there is little reason to put off thoughts of lawn care and landscaping; the folks at Green Brothers Sustainable Solutions are big supporters of early planning.
So, if you are going to start your seeds in February or March, there are a few things that you should consider. Remember that seedlings are essentially like infants in that they grow at a relatively rapid speed and require the best nutrition in order to do so. While potting soil will work nicely for your transplanted house plants, it is not the most desirable material when nursing seedlings. Though you can create your own potting concoction, perhaps the best method today is to look for peat pellets.
Peat pellets appear like small, semi-hard discs when purchased from a local nursery or home improvement store. However, when water is added, they quickly expand to accommodate seeds, providing the necessary nutrients in a neat little package.
Before you actually begin the potting process, be sure that you have read the seed packets themselves. Manufacturers have put a great deal of research toward learning the optimum time to start the seeds, as well as determining what the best possible conditions are for growing. For now, the important part of that information is the timeline. Some seeds need to be started sooner than others. Starting too soon or too late could lead to a major headache and the possible loss of the seedlings you will work so hard to grow.
The decision of which seeds to start is also worth a moment’s thought. Some plants are easier to start than others. If you are a beginner to seed starting, you may want to consider the hardier varieties such as lettuces, herbs, and tomatoes. It will take more work to get squashes, sweet peppers and garden flowers to take.
Starting seeds earlier does come with a few issues. How will you keep your seedlings warm and happy during the darker months of the year? They do require warmth and also long hours of sun light. You can mimic this if you stick to fluorescent bulbs. If using a heat lamp, you should be sure that temperatures stay in the range of 65-72 degrees. Timed lights work wonderfully and timers can be purchased at home improvement stores at a very reasonable rate. Regardless of the type of lighting and heat that you use, be sure that you do not mist the seedlings. This is a mistake made by many green thumbs, but wetting the leaves can leave them susceptible to rot. It is better to use a very narrow-ended watering can. Be sure that there is adequate drainage as well.
You will have to begin thinning when the plants reach approximately one inch in height. Allowing them to be too closely crowded will ensure that they are forced to fight for nutrition and space. That will lead to weak plants, unlikely to make it through the transition to the outdoors. As it begins to warm outdoors this coming spring, introduce your plants bit by bit to the natural temperatures. Thrusting them into the new environment can kill them. In Austin, Texas, there are residential and commercial lawn care companies that can assist in designing an attractive layout for your yard and garden, but be sure that you do not plant the seedlings in the ground or leave them out overnight until you are sure that frost won’t claim them.
Green Brothers Sustainable Solutions, LLC
5350 Burnet Rd #427
Austin, TX 78756
Mustard seeds | Flickr – Photo Sharing! : taken from – http://www.flickr.com/photos/wordridden/130162843/Author: WordRidden http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en