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BONNIE'S GARDEN--Questions! I Get Questions!

The most common question I get asked by customers who’ve started seeds indoors is “why are my seedlings so long and floppy?”  Long weak stems resulting from inadequate light is called “etiolation.”
The quick fix for this condition is very simple—more light.  Seed trays should always be in front of the brightest window you’ve got.  If you’re using artificial light then these work best in combination with the best window you’ve got.  If you’re using artificial light alone the recommended height for fluorescent light is just a few inches above the seed tray, raising the fixture as the plants grow.  The lights are generally left on 16 hours a day.  As always, light fixtures can vary so follow the directions that come with yours.
The second most common question I get asked is “I planted my seeds three days ago (or four, five, or six days ago).  Why aren’t they up yet?”  This question is best answered by consulting the back of the seed package.  The package will tell you about it long it takes for the seeds to germinate.  As a general room of thumb, peppers, and eggplants take anywhere from 10 to 25 days to sprout; tomatoes around 7 to 10 days; basil and zinnias 5 to 10 days.  Green beans can sprout in as little as 3 to 5 days.
“When will I get my first tomato/pepper/green bean?”  Again the seed packet is your best source of information.  Most members of the tomato family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) will start to bear fruit anywhere from 55 to 80 days after transplanting outside (based on starting inside about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date).  Bush beans, on the other hand, will begin producing only seven or eight weeks after planting.
“Why did all my seedlings fall over and die?” This is a condition known as “damping off.”  Damping off is a fungus that attacks new seedlings.  There is no treatment once you get it, but you can easily prevent it by starting your seedlings in a sterile seed-starting soil or little peat pellets; making sure your trays have good air circulation (always remove the clear plastic greenhouse lids once the seeds have come up); making sure your trays are in adequate light; and thinning seedlings properly (again, the back of the seed packet will tell you). 
We have a great selection of seeds in and now is a perfect time to get long-season veggies (like tomatoes, etc.) and perennial flowers started.
Posted: 3/6/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnie's, Garden, Seeds, Starting
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