Growing Tips

Beans

Bean seeds are generally some of the easiest seeds to sprout. Beans can be planted directly in the ground, or started in small containers (either indoors or outdoors) for transplanting when plants grow larger.

Sowing seeds: Plant seeds in well-drained, sterile soil at 1/2-1″ deep. Keep soil moderately moist and do not let completely dry out. While beans usually germinate quickly, take some care not to over water soil. Non-sterile soils, if over watered, can promote the growth of fungus or pests which may damage the germinating seed. Plant outdoors once the danger of frost has past or in small containers for a later transplant.

Care of seedlings: Grow plants 2″ apart, in rows 24-36″ apart. Pole beans will need some type of support, so use a trellis, twine netting, or some similar structure. Plant seeds every 2-3 weeks for continuous production throughout the warmer months.

 

Estimated germination time under optimal conditions: 7-14 days.


Lettuce, Mustards, Kale and Radishes

Seeds are usually quite easy to sprout. Both the seeds and plants do best in slightly cooler weather, so avoid planting in hot summer if grown outdoors.

Sowing seeds. These varieties are better grown first as seedlings and then transplanted. For sprouting seeds in containers, choose small containers or flats and plant seeds 1/4-1/2″ deep, in loose, well-draining soil. Properly sown seeds will generally germinate in 7-14 days.

Transplant/thinning. For direct sown seeds, thin seedlings to 8-12″ apart, with rows up to 2-3′ apart, to give mature plants room to spread out. For container sown seeds, wait until a few true leaves have developed and carefully transplant to desired location. If sprouted indoors, make sure to harden off seedlings for 3-5 days prior to transplanting. To harden off, move seedlings to a filtered light location outdoors where they can slowly adapt to sunlight and outdoor conditions.

Culture. Needs regular watering. Plants will grow best in loose, well-drained soils. Lettuce is very susceptible to nibbling by garden pests, particularly slugs and snails. Make sure to have proper slug barriers in place if slugs are a problem in your garden. Seeds can usually be stored for a minimum of three years.

 

Germination time: 2 to 3 weeks


Tomatoes

1) Prepare for planting. Sprout tomato seeds in small containers, preferably 4″ or smaller. In-ground germination is not recommended. Use a standard potting mix that is well drained. Start seeds in containers approximately 8 weeks prior to the planned set-out date.

2) Plant seeds. Plant seeds 1/4″ deep in the soil. Cover with soil and water carefully. Overwatering can cause fungal growth which leads to seed rot. Excess water can also bury seeds deep in the soil where they will not be able break the surface. Water when the soil surface just begins to dry. Multiple seeds can be planted in a single starter container, but should be thinned once seedlings appear so only a single plant remains. Seeds do not require light for germination but some light source should be provided for seedlings once they emerge from the soil.

3) Germination. Soil temperatures between 21 C to 29 C work well. Cool soils, below 15 C, even just at night, will significantly delay or inhibit germination. Additionally, overly warm soils, well above   32 C, can inhibit germination and provide ideal conditions for seed rot.

4) Care of seedlings. Once a few true leaves have developed, seedlings should be slowly moved outside (if sprouted indoors) to ambient light. Care should be taken not to expose seedlings to direct, scorching sun so plants may need to be hardened off via slow sun exposure. Hardening off can be done using a shaded or filtered light location, as well as protection from strong winds, rain or low humidity. Hardening off time varies, but can take 5-10 days.

5) Planting out. Plants can be spaced as close as 24″ apart. As the plants grow, the long branches need to be supported with stakes. Once the fruits set, they will weigh down heavily, so need strong wood stakes of at least one and half inch diameter.

 

Germination time: 1-3 weeks under ideal conditions.


Peppers and Chillies

Start seeds in small containers. Plant seeds approximately 1/4-1/2″ deep in moist, well drained potting soil. Most standard soil mixes are suitable for pepper seeds. Soil temperature must be kept at     21 C to 29 C for proper germination. Cool soil, particularly at night can inhibit or significantly delay germination. Additionally, overly warm soils, well above 32 C, can inhibit germination and provide ideal conditions for seed rot. To keep soil temperature warm, start seeds indoors, in a greenhouse and/or use a seed starting heat mat. Keep soil moderately moist, though not overly, dripping wet. Water soil when the soil surface just begins to dry. Allow proper air circulation for containers.

Once seedlings have sprouted, keep in small containers until a few sets of leaves have developed. Transplant to larger containers or outdoors. If transplanting outdoors, make sure to harden off seedlings by exposing them to only filtered sunlight for up to 1-2 weeks. Thin plants to 2 ft and rows to 4 ft

 

Estimated germination time under optimal conditions: 2-6 weeks


Basils

Start seeds in small containers from 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost date. Plant seeds on the surface in moist, well drained potting soil. The seeds need light for germination. The seeds will become coated with white cottony fluff when wet. This is normal and not a fungus. Keep moist till the leaves appear. To keep soil temperature warm, start seeds indoors, or in a greenhouse. Keep soil moderately moist, though not overly, dripping wet. Water soil when the soil surface just begins to dry. Allow proper air circulation for containers.

Once seedlings have sprouted, keep in small containers until a few sets of leaves have developed. Transplant to larger containers or outdoors. If transplanting outdoors, make sure to harden off seedlings by exposing them to only filtered sunlight for up to 1-2 weeks. Thin plants to 1 ft and rows to 2 ft.

 

Estimated germination time under optimal conditions: 1 to 3 weeks


Brinjals

1) Prepare for planting. Sprout brinjal seeds in small containers, preferably 4″ or smaller. In-ground germination is not recommended. Use a standard potting mix that is well drained. Start seeds in containers approximately 8 weeks prior to the planned set-out date.

2) Plant seeds. Plant seeds 1/4″ deep in the soil. Cover with soil and water carefully. Overwatering can cause fungal growth which leads to seed rot. Excess water can also bury seeds deep in the soil where they will not be able break the surface. Water when the soil surface just begins to dry. Multiple seeds can be planted in a single starter container, but should be thinned once seedlings appear so only a single plant remains. Seeds do not require light for germination but some light source should be provided for seedlings once they emerge from the soil.

3) Germination. Soil temperatures between 21 C to 29 C work well. Cool soils, below 15 C, even just at night, will significantly delay or inhibit germination. Additionally, overly warm soils, well above   32 C, can inhibit germination and provide ideal conditions for seed rot.

4) Care of seedlings. Once a few true leaves have developed, seedlings should be slowly moved outside (if sprouted indoors) to ambient light. Care should be taken not to expose seedlings to direct, scorching sun so plants may need to be hardened off via slow sun exposure. Hardening off can be done using a shaded or filtered light location, as well as protection from strong winds, rain or low humidity. Hardening off time varies, but can take 5-10 days.

5) Planting out. Plants can be spaced 24″ to 30” apart. As the plants grow, they need to be supported with stakes. Once the fruits set, they will weigh down heavily, so need strong wood stakes of at least one and half inch diameter.

 

Germination time: 1-3 weeks under ideal conditions.