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Seedling Propagation for New Growers

Posted: May 18, 2011

Are you a new grower? Do you know what temperature is best for seed germination and maintaining healthy seedlings? I find that these and other tidbits about seed and seedling biology are extremely helpful for growing healthy seedlings in the greenhouse. By now, many of your seedlings are out in the field, but it's a good time to look back over what went right, and what went less than perfect in the greenhouse and make some notes for next year. Take a look at the following information and new factsheets for new organic vegetable growers.

This spring’s cool wet weather was hard on seedlings. It was easy to over water and stress seedlings or even kill them with diseases that set in after plants were waterlogged. Plant roots need oxygen in the media for cell respiration. If there is not sufficient pore space the CO2 will not move away from the roots and they can suffocate. 

As Mark Dornstreich from Branch Creek Farm says, “The person holding the watering wand is the same person holding your checkbook.” Over-watering creates an environment for disease. To avoid watering when you don’t need to, check media moisture by running your hands over plants, the finger test or pulling up outer/corner plants that tend to dry out first.

Take a look at Penn State Extension Start Farming Factsheet Seed and Seedling Biology; and Transplant Production Farm Profiles - Shooting Star Farms, Eckerton Hill Farm, and Red Cat Farm for more information on organic transplant production for new farmers. 

Keep a look out for more articles for new organic vegetable producers. These are the first of 19 new articles to come out this season.