The grow biointensive method continually seeks to foster uninterrupted plant growth. Part of this technique is embodied in the "Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner!" concept that Alan Chadwick stressed. If seedlings are raised in very good soil—with good nutrients and a good structure—only to be transplanted into an area that has few nutrients and a poor structure, the plants

Turf loam compost pile.

will suffer root shock. Results are better when seedlings are pricked out from a flat with a good planting mixture "breakfast" into a second flat with a "lunch" consisting of fresh flat soil. The plant will forget the trauma of being pricked out when it tastes the delectable new lunch treats in the second flat. This process minimizes shock and even fosters growth. Finally, a splendid grow biointensive "dinner" greets the plant in the growing bed! with this kind care and stimulated healthy plant growth, there is less likelihood of insect and disease damage. In the grow biointensive method, pricking out and transplanting can stimulate growth rather than slowing it down.

Seedlings from broadcast seed are ready to be pricked out after their cotyledons (the first "seed leaves" that appear, although they are not true leaves) have appeared and before their roots are too long to handle easily. You should do the second pricking out (if it is called for) when the seedlings' leaves have just begun to touch each other.

To prick out seedlings, fill a 3-inch- or 6-inch-deep flat with flat soil, and mound the soil slightly (remember to fill in the corners). Use a widger or kitchen knife to loosen the soil under the seedlings so you can lift out one seedling at a time, holding it by its cotyledons and keeping as much soil on the roots as possible.

Place the widger or kitchen knife into the soil of a second flat at a slight backward angle, just behind where the seedling should be, and pull the widger toward you to open a hole.

Drop the seedling into the hole by its roots, placing it a little deeper than it was in the first flat.

Lift out the widger, and let the soil fall around the seedling. it is often not necessary to spend time carefully pushing the soil up around the seedling; when you water the flat, the soil will settle in around the stem and roots. if soil does need to be added to the hole into which the seedling is placed, just gently sweep the soil into the hole with a widger with one motion. Arrange the seedlings on offset, or hexagonal, centers to maximize the space in the flat and to optimize the miniclimate that will develop around the seedlings as they grow.

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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