Growing the Distance from Germination to Harvest
Now that spring has set in and you have developed some strong little seedlings, it’s about time to transplant them so they can grow into beautiful flowers or delicious produce. Plants need certain things to grow, so you’ll need to make sure they are available in order for seedlings to develop into healthy plants. Just like with seed starting, there are many ways to plant, fertilize and water your seedlings when transplanting, so it is important to understand all of your options.
WHAT SOIL OPTIONS ARE BEST FOR SEEDLING DEVELOPMENT?
Since growing seedlings need plenty of nutrients and a weed-free environment to grow into strong, healthy plants, staying away from the soil you find around your yard is a good idea. With all of the growing technology available today, many soil mixes have been developed that will give your seedlings everything they need without much help from you.
At FarmTek, we love Wonder Soil®. Not only does a little go a very long way with this product, but it can be used in a variety of places. Wonder Soil® reduces watering and fertilizing by up to 50%, while producing stronger seedlings with larger root masses. As a dehydrated, compressed growing medium, this soil will expand up to nine times by just adding water. There are a few forms available, so make sure the one you choose is recommended for the size of your growing container.
If you decide to simply use the soil that is already available in your yard, you need to test its nutrient levels before planting. Soil testers can test a variety of soil traits, depending on the type that you have. Some direct soil testers are quick and easy but only test pH, fertility and moisture levels. If you are looking to test total dissolved solids or electrical conductivity, try a Hanna meter which should be used with a slurry solution.
WHAT WATERING OPTIONS ARE BEST FOR SEEDLINGS?
Irrigation is critical for plant growth, no matter how you decide to grow your seedlings. As the numbers of plants in your garden or greenhouse increases, so does the labor associated with watering. If you transplant your seedlings into a high tunnel, a drip tape irrigation system will cut down on that labor quite a bit. This type of irrigation can also be used in raised beds, grow tubes and grow slabs.
Dripper stakes are very popular if you are transplanting into individual pots, Aero Soft Containers and grow bags. With this type of system, each stake will be placed directly into the soil or growing media at the base of the plant, reducing water waste and increasing efficiency.
Other, simpler options like hoses and sprinklers will also do the trick. If you need a little help designing a system for your growing setup, contact us today.
WHERE SHOULD SEEDLINGS FINISH GROWING?
Most seeds start in your standard flat and stay there until they germinate. After germination, you have lots of options when it comes to transplanting seedlings. From grow containers to raised beds, when transplanting you can choose what method works best for your based on the ease of use, whether or not you are selling the final product and more.
Grow Bags are a popular option for hobby growers because they are a low cost alternative to a traditional plastic pot, as well as incredible space savers. With built-in drainage holes and flat bottoms, these bags can stand on their own. They are a perfect choice for nursery or garden center owners because customers are able to buy a whole bag of transplants quickly and easily. Another similar, but biodegradable option is Aero Soft Grow Containers which can be planted right into the ground.
For the grower looking to do things a bit more traditionally, we recommend raised bed gardens which can be used year after year. They offer a controllable and manageable area perfect for plant development because you have chosen the soil and protected against weeds and pests. Whether you are looking to add a few accents to your backyard or need to squeeze lots of beds into your high tunnel, there is a raised bed for every grower.
There are many other transplant options available for your seedlings depending on what you are trying to grow and the space that you have available. For more information to help you make your decision, check out our website.
Watching your seeds grow from the day you plant them until they day they are ready to be picked can be a fun and rewarding experience. Just make sure you have all the knowledge you need to grow big, healthy plants and you will be sharing your fresh vegetables and vibrant flowers with others in no time.
Have you transplanted your seedlings already? Do you have any advice for others about to do the same?