Direct Sowing In The Garden

Some vegetables have large or quick-germinating seed, and it is preferable to direct sow them. Peas, beans, corn, and radishes are examples. Some vegetables do not transplant easily, or they mature so quickly that they are best direct sown in the garden. The time to direct sow in the garden depends on two things: the individual kinds of vegetables chosen and the average date of the last frost of the area of the country in which you live.

As a rule, hardy types that can withstand some cool weather are planted in the fall in southern and West Coast areas. In regions with cold winters, frost-hardv vegetables are planted in spring when the heavy frost is over and the soil can be worked or, for a fall crop, in midsum

A garden blanket speeds germination and protects seeds from insects.

Hydroponically Grown Vegetables

mer so they mature before the extremely cold weather arrives. Tender classes of vegetables should be planted when all danger of frost is over and the soil is warming. Examples of frost-hardy vegetables include spinach. peas, turnips, mustard, collards. and kale.

When seeds are direct sown into the garden, care must be taken to prevent the soil from drying out and forming a crust. Sometimes this crust is so hard it's impossible for tiny seedlings to emerge. During normal spring weather there is usually enough moisture in the soil to foster quick germination, but in summer. soil dries out fast. You can prevent the soil from crusting by covering it with vermic-ulite and keeping the seedbed evenly moist, or by sowing seeds in shallow-dug trenches filled with vermiculite, sand, or a light, porous soil mix friendly to young, tender plants and which will not crust.

If you are planting your vegetables in rows, you'll want them to be straight rows. Cut a length of string a foot longer than the row. Tie each eiid to a stick (or pencil). Poke one stick into the ground at the beginning of the row, and the other at the end. Make a trench (at the appropri ate depth for your seed) in the soil, using the string as a guide.

When seedlings are large enough to handle (usually when they have two pairs of true leaves), thin to the distances recommended on the seed packets. Some leafy crops (lettuce and Chinese cabbage, for example) can be thinned progressively and the thinnings used in salads.

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