Cooking The Dirt: Sprouting Seeds Speedy Quick
Hello again from zone 7B (otherwise known as Atlanta). It’s a dreary day today. The thermostat displays 50 degrees.
The wind is howling and without the sun, it feels like thirty. This means today is the perfect day to start seeds indoors. Regular visitors and followers of my blog know that I like to try new tricks that expedite the germination process. Sowing seeds indoors is a fast, easy way to get a jump on spring planting. Today’s tip falls in the “must-try” category.
TIP: Soaking seeds in Nelson’s Grow Best Plant food is the best way to give seeds a head start.
Georgia residents can buy Nelson’s Grow Best from Home Depot using this link. Non-Georgia residents, purchase it here. This concentrated fertilizer is the best I’ve ever tried. One only needs to soak the seeds a few minutes to give them an added boost.
TIP Two: The fastest way to germinate seedlings is to heat the soil and then maintain a continual temperature. Seeds are smart. They won’t germinate in cold soil which is why you can trick them by warming up the dirt. Using a disposable pie plate (or pan like you cook the Thanksgiving turkey in) heat potting soil in the oven. Bake the soil for 5 minutes.
Yes Virginia, bake the soil . . . just not in your mom’s favorite casserole dish.
Pour dirt into a plastic box that you have lined with shredded newspaper.
Shredded newspaper (that is moistened) provides necessary moisture and encourages a strong root system. After adding warm soil on top of the newspaper, sprinkle seeds on top of the soil then, using your finger, press the seed firmly into the dirt. (no deeper than ½ inch).
Super Cheater TIP Four: Now this is a big one. Did you know the best way to maintain soil temperature (and trick your seeds into thinking it’s spring) is to place Christmas Tree lights on top of the soil? Don’t y’all go stealing this and blogging about it like you thought this up. This little Redneck idea is all mine.
After planting the seeds and making certain the soil is warm and toasty, I located a string of lights that only partially worked. I placed it on top of the dirt, covered the container with the lid and coiled the remaining lights in another container.
The lights generate a small amount of heat. When combined with the moisture from the newspaper I turn a recycled ice cream bucket into a mini-greenhouse. Since I didn’t have a lid for this bucket, I fabricated a lid using plastic wrap and secured it with a rubber band. Since the containers share one strand of lights I placed the bucket on top of the box. Once seedlings emerge I will remove the lids.
Stay tuned to this blog, or better yet, subscribe. I’ll keep you posted on the seedlings. Until then, visit the Botanical Interests online Seed Catalog and place your order. And remember to visit the website for your fertilizer.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love * Tomatoes. In 2012 she released Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. 2014 will see the release of In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com
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