Starting Vegetable Garden Seeds & Plants Indoors

Written by David Selman,

Starting Plants IndoorsSeeds can be germinated and seedlings started in a box, pan or flowerpot of soil in a window. In addition to having at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day,repparttar room must be kept reasonably warm at all times. Washed fine sand and shredded sphagnum moss are excellent media in which to start seeds. Place a layer of easily drained soil inrepparttar 113423 bottom of a flat and cover this soil with a layer - about three-fourths inch thick - of either fine sand or sphagnum moss. Pressrepparttar 113424 sand or moss to form a smooth, firm seedbed. Then, using a jig, make furrows inrepparttar 113425 seedbed one-half inch deep. Waterrepparttar 113426 sand or moss thoroughly and allow it to drain. Sow seeds thinly inrepparttar 113427 rows and coverrepparttar 113428 seeds lightly with a second layer of sand or moss. Sprinklerepparttar 113429 flat, preferably with a fine mist, and coverrepparttar 113430 flat with a sheet of clear plastic film. The plastic film diffuses and subduesrepparttar 113431 light and holds moisture inrepparttar 113432 soil and air surroundingrepparttar 113433 seeds. Plastic films offer advantages over glass coverings in that they are light in weight and are nonshattering. Placerepparttar 113434 seeded and covered flat in a location that is reasonably warm at all times and has 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The flat will require no further attention until afterrepparttar 113435 seedlings have developed their first true leaves. They are then ready to transplant to other containers. It is seldom possible to keeprepparttar 113436 transplanted plants in house windows without their becoming spindling and weak. For healthy growth, place them in a hotbed, coldframe, or other place where they will receive an abundance of sunshine, ample ventilation, and a suitable temperature. Strong, vigorous seedlings can be started under 40-watt fluorescent tubes. These tubes should be 6 to 8 inches aboverepparttar 113437 seedlings. Temperatures should be about 60F at night and 70F duringrepparttar 113438 day. Best results are obtained ifrepparttar 113439 fluorescent fixture is next to a window to increaserepparttar 113440 amount of light reachingrepparttar 113441 young plants. Soil pellets arerepparttar 113442 simplest and easiest method for starting plants and are readily available from garden supply stores and other sources. Soil pellets are a well-balanced synthetic soil mixture and are free of soilborne diseases and weeds. Special Devices for Starting Plants In determiningrepparttar 113443 type of equipment for starting early plants,repparttar 113444 gardener must considerrepparttar 113445 temperature and other climatic conditions in his locality, as well asrepparttar 113446 nature ofrepparttar 113447 plants to be started. Hardy plants, such as cabbage, need only simple inexpensive facilities, but such heat-loving, tender seedlings as peppers and eggplant must have more elaborate facilities for successful production. Inrepparttar 113448 warmer parts ofrepparttar 113449 United States, and inrepparttar 113450 well-protected locations elsewhere, a coldframe or a sash-covered pit onrepparttar 113451 sunny side of a building usually suffices. In colder sections, or in exposed areas elsewhere, some form of artificial heat is essential. Where only a little protection against cold damage is needed, a coldframe in which a temporary bank of lamps can be placed may be sufficient. The hotbed, lean-to, or sash greenhouse heated by manure, pipes, flues, or electricity are all widely used,repparttar 113452 choice depending on conditions. A comparatively small plant-growing structure will provide enough plants for several gardens, and joint efforts by a number of gardeners will usually reducerepparttar 113453 labor of producing plants. The plant-growing structure should always be on well-drained land free from danger of flooding. A sunny, southern exposure on a moderate slope, with trees, a hedge, a board fence, or other form of windbreak onrepparttar 113454 north and west, makes a desirable site. Plenty of sunshine is necessary. Hotbeds and other plant-growing devices require close attention. They must be ventilated at frequent intervals, andrepparttar 113455 plants may require watering more than once daily. Convenience in handlingrepparttar 113456 work is important. Sudden storms may necessitate closingrepparttar 113457 structure within a matter of minutes. Plant growing at home should not be undertaken by persons obliged to be away for extended periods, leavingrepparttar 113458 plant structure unattended. A tight well-glazed structure is necessary whererepparttar 113459 climate is severe; less expensive facilities are satisfactory elsewhere. Covers for hotbeds and coldframes may be glass sash, fiber glass, plastic film, muslin, or light canvas. Inrepparttar 113460 moderate and cooler sections ofrepparttar 113461 country, standard 3- by 6-foot hotbed sash is most satisfactory. Even this requires supplementary covering with canvas, blankets, mats, or similar material during freezing weather. The amount of covering is determined byrepparttar 113462 degree of heat suppliedrepparttar 113463 structure,repparttar 113464 severity ofrepparttar 113465 weather, andrepparttar 113466 kind of plants and their stage of development. Farther South, where less protection is necessary, a muslin cover may be all that is needed and for only a part ofrepparttar 113467 time. Many substitutes for glass as coverings for hotbeds and coldframes are onrepparttar 113468 market. The most widely used substitutes are various kinds of clear plastic film. Some of these have a lifespan of only one season, and others a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. Clear plastic film transmits as much light as glass inrepparttar 113469 visible range, and more than glass inrepparttar 113470 ultraviolet and infrared ranges. The film comes as flat sheets (on rolls) and in tubular form. Flat-sheet film is used for tacking onto wooden frames;repparttar 113471 tubular form is used for enclosing metal tubular frames with a tight double layer of film. Large plant hoods made from semicircular aluminum or galvanized steel pipe and fitted with a sleeve of tubular plastic film make excellent coldframes or seasonal row covers. When used in this way, a double layer of plastic film provides an air space that insulates against 4 degrees to 7 degrees of frost temperature change. Electrically heated plant beds are ideal forrepparttar 113472 home gardener, provided electric rates are not too high. The beds may be built any size. Because they are equipped with thermostatic control, they require a minimum of attention. It is not possible to buy frames - completely equipped with heating cables, switches, and thermostats - ready to assemble and set in position. Fillrepparttar 113473 frames with soil or plant boxes and connect to a source of current. Small frames may be removed atrepparttar 113474 end ofrepparttar 113475 season and stored; larger frames are usually treated as a permanent installation. For more detailed information, see USDA Leaflet 445, Electric Heating of Hotbeds.

Why Grow Organic?

Written by Frann Leach

You may feel that growing your own produce is difficult enough, without adding torepparttar problems by growing them organically. Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say, but for me, there are several reasons for goingrepparttar 113422 whole hog:

  • Firstly, you don't have to worry about handling all sorts of noxious chemicals, wearing special gear to use it, and all that
  • Secondly, in my opinion (your mileage may vary here), organically produced vegetables taste better
  • Thirdly, it's not really that much more work,repparttar 113423 methods are different, but no more difficult
  • Fourthly, organic vegetables are better for you
  • And finally, why go to all that effort to produce a substitute for cheap factory-produced food? Much better to go forrepparttar 113424 good stuff!

Eat more fruit and veg for health

The British Government is always telling us to eat more healthily. They say everybody should consume a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

But how many chemicals are there in that much conventionally farmed produce?

Organic fruit and veg may be hard to find at a decent price. And if you do find a supplier, oftenrepparttar 113425 organic produce that is on offer is not very attractive. It may be better for you but it looks horrible, not at all appetising.

So what'srepparttar 113426 solution?

A shock, and a realisation

Around about 1992, I had two young children, aged 2 and 4 years. I was trying to give them a healthy diet, and they loved carrots. Every day they would grab at least one carrot each fromrepparttar 113427 vegetable rack, sometimes more. I was pleased. "They're getting good fibre, vitamins, stuff for their eyesight, andrepparttar 113428 chewing is good for their teeth," I thought.


I was watchingrepparttar 113429 news one day, when a very strange item came on (like something out of a science fiction story, I thought atrepparttar 113430 time). The Government was issuing a Health Warning on... carrots!!! Apparently, because of a rise in some pest or other (I know now it was carrot fly), farmers had been using huge amounts of pesticide chemicals, so much so, thatrepparttar 113431 carrots produced contained dangerous amounts. The advice was to peel them before use.

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