Time to watch the mini-miracle of plant growth. From a seed of nothing to sometimes enormous expansion.
- Research specifics for each species before seeding.
- Soak larger seeds (greater than 1/2″), before planting or sowing for 1 – 3 days.
- Use non-contaminated soil with proper drainage and minimal weeds.
- Be sure to move plants to sunlight or increased artificial lights after sprouting to avoid “legging” (e.i. growing too tall and dying) in seedlings.
- Know where to place plants after germination: full sun, partial shade, heavy watering, etc.
Plants to Start Indoors or in Greenhouse
The general strategy is to create a warm, humid environment (e.g. 70 – 90 F for peppers) by using a heat pad with transparent plastic top for indoor plants or using a greenhouse that maintains proper heat and humidity. Use seed trays with holes for drainage, potting soil, and place seeds about 1/2″ under soil.
- Nightshade family: tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants
- Tubers: Jerusalem artichoke, potatoes, garlic, onion, ginger, and turmeric
Plants to Direct Sow
Plow shallow (1/2″ deep) trenches and drop seeds directly into trenches about 6″ apart, depending on the plant. Then gently use a hoe or similar tool to level the soil, covering the 1/2″ trench.
- Root vegetables: carrot, radish, and beets
- Cereal grains: corn, wheat, quinoa, rye, etc.
- Beans: pole (will need to climb on something) and bush beans
- Gourds: cucumber, squash, and melons
- Peas and pods
Growing Tubers From Cuttings
Notice the “nodes” (or “eyes”) on your potatoes. Each of those nodes will grow, given that they are not totally dry. Cut tubers into pieces, as long as 1 – 2 nodes remains on each piece. Then bury pieces back into the soil about 2 – 4″ deep, spaced about 6″ apart. This will work for all tubers: potatoes, jerusalem artichoke, ginger, turmeric, garlic, and onion.
Growing Shrubs and Trees From Cuttings
Research if your plant can be grown from cuttings. Then cut a 4 – 6″ branch from a healthy limb, leaving nodes above cut (look for a young, thin branch with new growth). The roots will grow from these nodes that would have become branches otherwise. Use pruners to cut off 2/3 of the leaves and branches. The roots of larger plants with thick woody branches are known as hardwood cuttings and grow better in soil. Smaller herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary can initially be grown in water.
Soil Method: gently, scrape the bark off the bottom part of cutting and dip into water, followed by root hormone powder before placing in soil. Water thoroughly. May use a transparent bag to place over the top to keep in heat and moisture. Place in bright area but away from direct sunlight. Wait 2 – 3 weeks before planting. If your top 1/3 leaves are dying, then your plant is dying.
Water Method: dip cutting base into water and then rooting hormone before placing in water. Wait about 2 weeks. Check the roots!