Caring for the emerging plants
To care for your growing plants, follow this advice:
- Watering: Plants growing in small containers may need watering daily. Strive to keep the soil evenly moist — think wrung-out sponge. Too much moisture can lead to root rot; too little moisture will wilt the plants.
- Fertilizing: Begin fertilizing your seedlings when they have two sets of true leaves (the first set of leaves is called seed leaves). One option is to use an organic fertilizer diluted to half strength once a week. Some gardeners use %-strength fertilizer at every watering.
- Transplanting: Depending on the type of plant, the size of the container, and the length of time until you set the plants out in the garden, you may need to transplant seedlings into larger containers. Do the transplanting when the roots are starting to fill out the container but before they begin to wrap around the perimeter and grow out the drainage holes.
When should you start different kinds of seeds? Create a planting calendar, as described in Chapter 13.
Keep seed packets so that you can refer to them during the season for information such as spacing guidelines. Also, if a crop performs especially well or a flower is particularly beautiful, having the packet allows you to track the source of the seeds.
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