Saturday, January 9, 2010

Starting Seed

These irresistible seedlings would actually make a good microgreens mix.

They are the Jung's seed Triplet Hybrid Blend Cabbages.

There was very good germination. I used a seed starting tray with dome and heat mat. The soil is a blend of sandy loam, peat, and spaghum moss. The spaghum moss improves the aeration. The peat has natural anti-fungal properties, so I don't need to worry about any fungicidal drenches or damping off. Sandy loam is my native soil, so it gets tossed into my mix. I know where my soils have been versus buying something prepackaged. Even the peat is a local native soil, that I have sometimes seen packaged as Waupaca brand "topsoil" at Wal-Mart and sometimes Sears.

I fill my tray with my mixed soil. I plant my seed as per the directions. I go cell by cell and press the seed into the soil. It is important each seed make good contact with its germinating medium. I cover the seed as directed, and then carefully water. If the seed has something to it I use the sink sprayer. If not, I use a bottle mister.

I put the dome on and place it on the heat mat. If I am planting more than one seed in the tray, I pick plants that germinate in approximately the same length of time. When about 90% of the seeds are germinated, I remove from the mat, but leave the dome in place for a couple more days. Generally, I find seeds germinate more quickly and evenly on the mat than without.

After about 3 to 5 days I remove the dome lid. At that point, I need to keep a closer eye on watering.

When the cabbage have their first true leaves-- these are leaves 3 and 4, as you count, I prick them out and plant into their individual container. When pricking out, plant to the base of the true leaves.

I would recommend in zone 4, to start this cabbage variety between March 1 and March 15. Cabbage, because they are a member of the cole family, can be transplanted before the last frost date, provided they have been hardened off.

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