(StatePoint) Planting a garden from scratch can sound like a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the hobby. But with the right knowledge, you can plan a successful, fruitful green space and expect to have a great harvest.
One way to get a head start on your garden is to start your seedlings indoors and then transplant them later into an outdoor garden. This time-tested technique can save you hundreds of dollars annually, as young plants at a nursery can be pricey. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of this method:
• Don’t start your indoor plants too soon. They can grow in about four weeks or less if you use a high-quality garden starter. Check seed packages to learn when to plant outdoors in your area, and then start them indoors one month earlier to your transplanting date outdoors.
• Consider using a seed-starting system that takes some of the gardening guesswork out of the equation. For example, the Aerogarden Seed Starting system allows you to start up to 66 seedlings indoors with no dirt or mess, nurturing seeds with optimal amounts of water and nutrients for reliable germination and healthy growth.
• Add new nutrients to the seedlings every two weeks and keep the water at full level. Feeding your plants more than the recommended amount will not make them grow faster. In fact, it could hurt the plants.
• Before transplanting, seedlings need to be hardened off. Skipping this step will almost certainly result in some or all of your plants dying. Hardening off seedlings eases their transition to the outdoors, where they will be exposed to the elements. The process involves gradually exposing plants to the outdoors, protecting them from full sunlight, temperature variations and wind.
• Don’t let sprouts get too big before transplanting them outdoors. Ideally they should be about 4-6 inches tall. If possible, wait to plant your seedlings on a cool, cloudy day. If your seedlings get too large before weather will allow transplanting outdoors, transplant them into small pots with high quality potting soil. Keep fully watered in a sunny space until weather permits transplanting outdoors.
• After transplanting seedlings outdoors, be sure to water them daily for the first two weeks, especially if the weather is dry and sunny.
• Save and reuse your seed starter tray for the next season. Once the spring plants have been transplanted outdoors, you will be free to get a head start on your summer crop.
More tips to start your own seedlings can be found at www.Aerogarden.com.