Summertime rolls around every year and millions of people run out to purchase the supplies that they need to get started on their gardens for the year. To the dismay of many, their plans fail a few weeks in when their seedlings die or just don’t grow. What went wrong? Why aren’t they thriving? Learn what you can do to have success with your seedlings.
As tempting as it is to buy that $.99 pack of tomato seeds from Walmart, don’t. You’re throwing away money because that pack of seeds is not likely to yield much fruit, and if it does, it won’t be the award-winning fruit you’ve worked hard to produce. Find a local nursery where they’ll sell fresh, local crops, you’ll have the most success with this.
Start with a Sprout
Best practice is really to start with a small sprout rather than a tiny seed with no growth whatsoever. Not every seed will produce a high-yield crop, so the best idea is to let someone else figure out whether or not it’s a good seedling before you buy it.
Control its Environment
If you’re in your first year of gardening, your best bet is to control the environment of your seedlings, at least for the first few weeks that you have them. The best way to do this is to use containers. You’ll be able to monitor it closely, use great soil and make sure that it’s getting the appropriate amount of sunlight and water for good growth.
Use Good Soil, and Keep Adding it
Soil from the ground just won’t cut it. Buy some garden soil from your local nursery or hardware store, and keep your roots about 8 inches underneath. Add about an inch of soil weekly so that your little seedling has plenty of fresh nutrients to cling on to as roots grow.
Express the Roots
When it’s time to plant, before you drop your sprout or seedling into the ground, you’ll want to express the roots. Take the roots into your hands and gently massage so that the clump of dirt around the roots becomes undone. The roots should come out a bit, and then you should drop it down, packing soil around your expressed clump of roots and dirt. This will allow your seedling to cling instantly to the soil around it, which will promote healthy growth outside of the clump of dirt it came in.
Once your seedling has turned into a small plant and you notice progress levels out a bit, add just a tad of an organic fertilizer to your soil. Don’t do this initially as you want a good nutrient filled foundation for your seedling, not rushed malnourished growth.