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Gardening Tips Q and A

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Gardening Tips Q and A Empty Gardening Tips Q and A

Post  Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:31 pm

Source ArcaMax
Q&A: Separating Seedlings
Question: I have seedlings of different varieties of vegetables (beans, corn, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, peas, tomatoes). Each pot contains three plants of one kind. Since it's still too early to plant these seedlings outside, I need to transplant them to bigger pots. How do I safely separate the seedlings from each other without tearing the roots? I am very new at trying to grow my own vegetables (or any plant for that matter) and could use any help that you could give me.

Answer: In a word, gently. Here's an easy method to use. First, have your larger pots ready for the transplants. Water the first pots well and allow them to drain. Then cup your hand over a pot with the seedlings between your fingers and turn the pot over. You may have to squeeze the pot a bit to get the soil to ease out into your hand. Gently drop the root ball onto a table or bench so that the soil and plants separate. I then gather the roots in my hand and gently pull the roots apart. If you need to handle the top of the plant, handle by a leaf rather than the stem. If the stem breaks, the plant will not survive, but the plant can replace a leaf. Avoid letting the bare roots sit in the open air for more than a few minutes or they will dry out. Replant immediately, a little deeper than they were before, and firm the soil gently so you don't squish them, but hard enough that they stand up securely. Water well to settle the soil and remove any air pockets. Thats it. Beans, corn, and peas should be planted outside where they are to grow because they grow large very quickly and don't fare well when transplanted. Plant peas as soon as the soil has drained and can be worked, as they grow best in cool weather. Corn and bean need warmth to germinate, and should be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Broccoli seedlings can be set outside early. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant need warm soil and warm weather to grow well, so plant the seedlings out about a week after the last frost. Finally, make sure to acclimate your seedlings to the elements before transplanting them into the garden. They need to become accustomed to the wind and sun gradually, starting in a very sheltered location with a little early morning sun and moving day by day into more sunlight over the course of a week or so. Bring them in each night, and by the end of the week they should be able to stay out all night. Have fun with your seedlings!
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Gardening Tips Q and A Empty Q&A: Herb Seedlings Dying

Post  Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:35 pm

Q&A: Herb Seedlings Dying
Question: My 91-year-old father is trying to grow herbs indoors. His seedlings grow to an inch or so, then wither and die. He claims he neither under- or over-waters his plants. He's using fluorescent lights, which he has hanging about 18" above the plants. His soil mix may be the problem--it's a combination of a commercial seedling starter and also soil he's taken from the woods (lots of compost he says). What can he do to get these plants growing?

Answer: It sounds like your father's seedlings are suffering from "damping off," a disease caused by a number of different fungi. My guess is that the problem lies in the soil he is obtaining from the forest. While rich in nutrients, it is probably also rich in assorted fungal diseases. For optimum results, seed starting medium should be sterile.

Suggest he use a commercial seed-starting mix. Also, before he tries again he should sterilize the pots or flats with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water, and rinse them well before using. Once the seedlings are up and going strong, he can tranplant them to an enriched soil if he likes. Also, he should try to keep the lights closer to the seedlings--just 1 or 2 inches from the tops of the plants.

Give this a try... your family should enjoy an herb harvest soon!
Tip: Control Damping Off Disease
Damping off fungal disease thrives in wet soils high in nitrogen and can quickly destroy tender seedlings. To prevent the disease use potting soils high in perlite to increase water drainage and don't fertilize until seedlings are older.


Last edited by Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:52 pm

Q&A: Controlling Slugs
Question: I've been having major trouble with slugs this spring eating and destroying my entire sunflower crop. What to do? Eggshells, copper stripping, saucers of beer, and I've heard about Fortisan (aluminum sulfate found in the UK), now what? Britt Uecker Manistee, MI

Answer: It sounds like you have heard of all the remedies there is for slugs. All the home remedies will work for a time, but need to be reapplied periodically. The copper strips around the bed are the best control I know of, as long as you remove all the slugs inside the bed first! There are a number of chemical controls such as the ones you've mentioned, but you need to be careful about kids and pets being around the area where you spread the slug bait. Generally, remove mulch and and objects slugs can hide under, cultivate the soil frequently and use raised beds to dry it out and weed regularly. Stick with it and your sunflowers will survive.
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:55 pm

Q&A: Fast-Germinating Seeds For Kids To Plant
Question: What are some fast-germinating vegetable and flower seeds we can grow with our children?

Answer: Some flower seeds that are quick to germinate include Centaurea (bachelor's buttons) -- 7 to 10 days; Dianthus (sweet William) -- 5 to 10 days; Rudbeckia (gloriosa daisy) -- 5 to 10 days; ageratum -- 6 to 10 days; cosmos -- 5 to 7 days; sweet alyssum -- 8 to 15 days; zinnia -- 5 to 7 days; and Mexican marigold -- 5 to 7 days. Vegetable seeds worth trying include corn -- 5 to 7 days; cucumber -- 7 to 10 days; lettuce -- 7 to 10 days; and watermelon -- 5 to 7 days. To ensure success, plant your seeds in moistened seed-starting mix and keep them in a warm location.
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Post  Admin on Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:58 pm

Q&A: Sprinkers or Drip in the Vegetable Garden
Question: Is it okay to use overhead sprinklers in a vegetable garden? I've seen hundreds of farms using gigantic sprinkler systems to water their crops, so I assume it's a sound practice.

Answer: You can water most plants with overhead sprinklers, and farmers often have no other choice. But drip watering is the better choice. The main concern with overhead watering is disease. Splashing water or wet leaves are what many plant diseases need to spread. Sprinkling is also wasteful, since so much water is lost to evaporation. Drip watering systems deliver water exactly where it's needed: the soil at the base of the plant. The water is applied slowly and is able to soak in. Leaves stay dry, limiting disease problems.
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Gardening Tips Q and A Empty Re: Gardening Tips Q and A

Post  Admin on Thu 29 Jul 2010, 12:12 pm

Source Arcamax
Q&A: Using Plastic and Organic Mulch Together
Question: If I use plastic mulch when planting my seeds and transplants, and then put down organic mulch when plants are about 4-6" high (that's what I heard was supposed to be done), must I remove the plastic mulch before putting down the organic mulch? If so, can I wash the plastic in soapy water and use it again next year?

Answer: Black plastic mulch is suggested for crops that like warm soil (melons, squash, corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins). It's not a good idea to use it where summers are extremely hot and sunny, or the roots may not survive. It's often used to warm up the soil in early spring to get an early start on the season.
If you leave it on the soil, you need to ensure that irrigation flows under the mulch, or leave large planting holes in the mulch, so you can water the plants. Some cool-season crops (such as peas) cease to produce when their roots get too warm. You can use it to warm the soil early in the season, but mulch over it with organic matter on your cool-season crops as the season heats up.
I think in your climate it's a toss-up between leaving the plastic on or taking it off. On the one hand, it warms up the soil; on the other it can make watering more difficult, and nutrients from the organic mulch as it breaks down won't move as freely through the soil.
You can try to reuse the plastic, but it may not be in very good condition. Some gardeners prefer black landscape fabric--it's more expensive, but it will last longer than plastic, and allow air and water to reach the soil.
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