Practice these tips for great results...
The best gardening tip anyone will ever give you is this: Ask a fellow gardener. Join our community and even seasoned gardeners might learn something from our helpful community. There are other great ways to find people in your area. Call your County Extension Office, Local University, Master Gardener Program, or Community Garden to find out how you can connect with gardeners in your area.
Less Is Best
It is better to plant your seeds too shallow than too deep. Without a doubt you should try to plant your seeds at the proper depth, but if you are just unsure, then please plant too shallow. One of the most common mistakes people make is starting their seeds too deep. A good rule of thumb is never plant a seed deeper than 3 times it’s thickness.
Plant All Of The Seeds
We recommend you plant all the seeds you receive. We don’t do this because we are a seed company and want to sell you more seeds. We say this because that is the best way to ensure you get the germination rate that is desired and it allows you to cull weak plants and have enough extras in case the neighbor’s dog decides to desecrate one. If they all grow then you can easily give away a few tomato plants. Remember, almost everything we sell is open pollinated which means you can save your seeds. Please see our video section on how to save tomato seeds.
Start Your Seeds Individually And Then Transplant Them To The Garden
There are numerous University studies that show that transplanted seedlings of just about every type of garden vegetable exhibit more vigorous growth and heavier production than seeds planted directly in the ground.
Use Your Hands
Many insects and plant diseases can be kept in check by simply removing the problem. Trim away lower leaves of plants that look diseased and discard, but not in the compost pile. Insects like caterpillars can be picked off by hand. If you can’t stay ahead of it then we recommend good organic products like insecticides with pyrethrin and the disease control product Serenade. IF you are not an organic garder then you should familiarize yourself with the hazards of the chemicals you are using. Always start with the least harmful insecticide or disease control and only move to something else if things are out of control. When in doubt, ask someone else.
Get A Sprayer
Every home gardener should have a pump up sprayer. Most discount stores have one for around $10 and are well worth the investment. Never spray anything during the heat of the day. I prefer to spray just before dark. That is the best way to catch the moths that leave behind the eggs that become the caterpillars. Many people spray in the morning and that is fine, I just prefer the evening and have had better results.
Know what you are growing. Learn about it. Plan for it. If you plant a watermelon without knowing you need a dozen feet or more of garden space, you will be in trouble about July when you need to mow your lawn and the vines are in the way. Plan your garden based on how the plants grow and what they require. It’s easy to be attracted to vegetable varieties because of their novelty or looks and forget about growing conditions. Grow what will work for you.
I can’t say enough about reading. There are not only many books and magazines on gardening, but also many websites dedicated to growing vegetables. A word of Caution: Don’t believe statements made that are no more than opinions or conjecture. If someone can’t back something up with science, then it is probably just hog wash.
Sunlight, Water and Fertilizer
These are the things a plant needs. It is amazing to me how resilient plants are when it comes to surviving. If you give a plant enough sunlight, water and fertilizer it will grow. Before you even begin to plan a garden you should ask “can I give my plants enough sunlight, water and fertilizer?” Before you plant seeds indoors to be set out later you should ask, “will my plants get enough sunlight, water and fertilizer before they are moved outside?” Before you seek answers as to why your plants are not growing you should ask, “am I giving my plants enough sunlight, water, and fertilizer?”
Sunlight, Water and Fertilizer Part 2
More is not better when it comes to some things. Too much fertilizer or mixing above the dosage on insecticides, fungicides, and other disease control products will either damage your plants or kill them. Use only what the directions say to use and only as often as the directions say to use it. Too much water, especially in the seedling stage, can be disastrous. Water all your plants evenly and preferably at the same time. If you are watering a container then you should water until it runs out the bottom to ensure even and thorough saturation. Never let any plant stand in water and never plant anything in a container that does not drain. Let your plants use that water before you water again. Never let plants completely dry out but never let them remain soggy either. You will just have to learn when to water and when not to. There are devices for measuring moisture levels, but touching the soil with your fingers is just about the best way to see if you plant needs water.
One At A Time
When you are starting seeds, or trading seeds with others you should remember to never work with more than one variety at a time. Make a label for the variety you are working with first. Then and only then do you open up that package. NEVER have more than one package of seeds open at any given time. Before you start on the next variety you should make sure you have put the first one away and it’s label is correct. Is your marker waterproof? Don’t make that mistake.
Don’t rely on your memory. Write things down. When you are starting seeds you should make labels. (see above) When you plant things in the garden they should have a label. Just in case something happens to the label you should make a map of your garden. It’s good to know what is planted and where it is planted. Make sure you are using a waterproof marker when making a label. Lead Pencils and china markers work well too.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
If you can find empty food containers to use to start your plants you will be on your way to fulfilling all 3 of these. Yogurt containers make great small pots for seedlings. Egg cartons work well for starting seeds. Just make sure that whatever you use, you should put some drainage holes in the bottom. There are lots of great ideas out there for using things you already have or can get for free. However, if you purchase seed starting trays and containers, rinse them out with a solution made with 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and save them for next year. Old plastic window blinds make great plant label stakes. Do you have a great idea? Then let us hear from you.