GROW: The Book
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I really enjoyed this lesson. As an older method farmer, I am used to planting seedlings in starter trays, and then transplanting from there. I also, will purchase some plants that have gone through the seedling process already. Often these plants have become root bound. I am in total agreement that starting your seedlings yourself gives you the best plants and therefore the most food. The offset method in planted never occurred to me even though I am a Baker and use the same method to bake the most food. Eureka!
Well, I guess this one jumps ahead of the Master Gardener course. Some much education opportunities, so little time.
FYI The bonus interview link opens up to a page talking more about the Interview but there is no link there to listen to it.
So much to learn, so little time, in spite of isolation! lol
Sound like an interesting series. I have gardened for years but only intermittently. My husband has just built some raised beds so we really would like to start feeding ourselves from our garden.
I also can not find anywhere to click to get into the course material itself. I tried the "get access" link and also by clicking on the image itself. Both links lead to different pages but neither has a link to see the material. How did you get into it @T. Michael Smith? Do you remember how you got it to open?
Welcome to TGNs forum @marjstratton. This is a good time to make a garden a regular part of your life. You will find lots of assistance with any of your garden questions here on the forum as well as in the excellent courses at the TGN Academy.
I have heard that you don't want to plant carrots and other such tap root crops indoors for transplant out because the root can be damaged during transplanting. How is this handled?
First, I would never start carrots indoors to be transplanted because yes they can be more delicate to transplant. Just direct sow them in your garden but make sure you follow all the needed requirements they need so they will germinate. ( If you don't know what that means just let us know. There is lots of us here who all have our favorite way to get carrot seeds to germinate.)
But once they do germinate, ( I do not space my carrot seeds, I broadcast them in wider rows). If you broadcast also and need to space them I have often transplanted the plants and the majority of them have done fine. What I do though is wait until the seedling is about 3" tall and then loosen the soil around them (usually with my finger and just poke it into the ground right beside the seedling you are trying to remove). Once my finger is in the soil, wiggle it around gently to loosen the soil and pull the seedling straight up. Do not shake or loosen the soil if any is still adhering to the seedling. Have your new bed prepared before pulling your seedling and pull one by instructions above and immediately place it in its new spot. Tamp the soil around it so prevent air pockets and then water them well when all your transplanting is finished. For the next couple of weeks you will also have to give them a little extra water just to make sure they do get settled into their new home.
By doing it this way, I hardly ever lose any of my carrot seedlings. But remember, no plant likes to be moved around in extremely hot weather. They don't like sunshine on them so do it early in the morning if you can.
Just keep in mind to eliminate the stress level as much as you can on the plant and you will find it does work fine.
@greyfurball Would you please share your favorite carrot germination tricks I live in the desert and it has been a bane to get them to germinate.
The watering can looks much better than anything I have. What is it called, and where can you get it relatively inexpensively?
I have struggled with starting seeds in cells or plastic trays, I'm anxious to build some of these wood trays! Lucky for me, my husband is a scrap wood hoarder, lol.
@Acequiamadre I am sorry but I just saw this post of yours. Something must have happened last month and it did not show up in my notifications box or I missed it somehow.
So if it is not too late, sowing carrots by the broadcast method I believe to be the best. Sowing in rows is too iffy since many times, unless conditions are perfect, you will get spotty growth rates. So just pick an area, however big you want... I usually use a 2X4 or something like that... to start them. Read your package first to be sure of that company's instructions to be sure their directions are approximately the same as I am going to give you.
To sow: get the soil loosened up to about 12" down (unless you are only growing 4" carrots then go down about 6"). Break up the clumps and level out the top surface. Broadcast your seed across the top of the soil. (A trick I heard of to get better and thinner coverage, place your seed on a piece of wax paper on a tray. Take an old toothbrush, get it damp and place the bristles on the seed. Now above your soil, one hand holds the brush at the bottom and the other hand at the top of the bristles. Pretend you are shooting a sling shot and flick those seeds off the bristles onto your soil. If your brush has no give whatsoever, then just flick those seeds onto your soil line as if the brush is full of water and you are trying to get the water out. Either way, the seeds will disburse more evenly on the soil instead of all your seeds right on top of each other).
After I have all the seeds within my 2X4 area, I gently use my gloved hand and tap on the seed bed to GENTLY push those seeds so they adhere to the soil. Cover with about an 1/8" of soil (unless the packet says otherwise). Then with a very fine mist I water the whole bed (it must be fine or you will wash all your seeds away). If you have nothing which makes a fine mist, water after the next step (unless you are using a board).
Cover the bed: This step is necessary but there is all kinds of things you can use. Some people use boards. You can use burlap, clean (seed-free) straw, piece of insect row cover, an old curtain which is loose enough weave to let water flow through etc.. Just look around and see what you have. Cover the entire area with your covering and clamp it down to prevent the wind from blowing it away. Now that it is covered, water the entire bed, just don't drown it with heavy streams of water. Even covered, you can displace those seeds if your water flow is too heavy.
Now every day, approximately the same time if possible, (every morning or every night is best... not the hottest part of the day) go out and water that covering until the entire area is damp underneath your covering. Carrots MUST have a moist environment while they are germinating. Remember moist, not drowning. Just keep doing that until you see the seeds germinating (usually 2-3 weeks for most carrot seeds). You will have to raise your covering daily after about a week and a half and onwards to be sure your seeds have broken ground and are coming up. This is why I usually use insect cover as my covering. It's easy to lift and replace.)
Once you see the little seedlings, after they are about 1/2" tall I remove my covering. Continue to let the little seedlings grow until they are bout 3" tall and then start thinning like I mentioned above in my other post. As they are growing start pulling back the daily waterings so they can get used to growing without the continuous watering schedule each day. You should be able to get them back to a once or twice weekly schedule the same as the rest of your garden.
Hope this helps.
@greyfurball that is a very interesting even-sowing method. I'm unfortunately restricted to gardening in pots for now so cannot try it myself.
I always love reading your posts/comments - informative and always make me smile ☺
I liked the idea of growing boxes and had considered getting a soil block maker but they are in my opinion expensive (over $100) and I do not have wooden boxes so I came up with an idea ... I have a lot of trays that I have gotten from nurseries over the years so I lined a couple of them with paper that I would normally shred (confidential info) than added soil. The best part is the trays fit in my mini greenhouse.
@Lisa K , I totally agree that the soil block makers are a big investment, that you may use every year, but only for a couple of weeks. I have always had trouble getting the plant starts out of the black plastic trays without destroying the plants. I've taken to using the paper (not coated) dixie bathroom cups, they take a bit of watching for the right amount of watering, but that's where I'm at with it.
@moreyshadypines I had that same challenge this year with the plastic trays with the individual pockets, I was finally able to transplant them using a plastic spoon to get them out but the trays have seen better days which is why I was excited to see the growing boxes. Also by trays I meant to say flats, the only issue I see with those will be they are not very deep so as with most of my gardening it will be an experiment.
Here is a flat that I started some seeds in yesterday, the first photo shows paper at the bottom of the flat then one with seeds.