In Saturday’s email we talked about thoughts in choosing what tomatoes and peppers to plant in your garden this season. We also started showing what conditions are needed for being really successful in seed starting, and getting your seed starting area ready, so if you missed it – catch up here.
Today is a little more about starting seeds.
We mentioned seeds need a couple of distinct conditions for germination and then continuing growth. These are very different conditions, for very different situations. After sprouting, the needs of the seedlings change dramatically.
The three main factors in successful, repeatable seed germination are soil moisture, soil temperature and light. Soil fertility is a later factor, once the seedling is up and putting on new growth. All three main factors change greatly from when a seed starts to sprout to when it is growing its first set of true leaves.
The soil moisture and temperature both need to be initially high, while light is not needed for tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds sprouting but is vital for strong, vigorous seedlings.
Once the seedlings are up, soil moisture and temperatures should be reduced to promote strong growth and minimize diseases like mold and fungi from getting a start. The main cause of damping off, a very common killer of very young seedlings is cool, over-wet and poorly drained soils!
We will look at controlling these types of problems more on Saturday.