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Seed Planting Techniques and Tips Newsletter
 

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   Seed Planting Techniques and Tips

          

Shown is buckwheat seed and 4-day-old seedlings. Buckwheat - a great summer cover crop that can be planted right now. It grows in any soil, flowers in 30 days and is excellent food for wildlife. Talking about seed planting when it's this hot may seem strange, but this is a good time to get certain plants started and to plan for later plantings. This is my buckwheat - planted last Saturday in 105 degrees - photo taken Wednesday in 110 degrees. Read More

Seed Planting in General: Increase germination rates by planting seeds at the correct depth. As a rule, seeds should not be buried any deeper than their diameter. Forget the quarter-inch planting depths you see on many seed packets. That's too deep for all but the biggest seeds, such as peas and beans. Some seeds even need light to germinate - don't bury those at all. Always plant in freshly disturbed soil. Seedbed should be firm after planting but not compacted. Don't plant too deeply. Use fertilizers and amendments that develop strong root system.

Here are some basic guidelines:

Cover these seeds with soil: Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chards, Cucumbers, Melons, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and Spinach. 

Sow these seeds on top of the soil for best germination: Ageratum, Astilbe, Balloon flower, Cleome, Coleus, Coreopsis, Dill, Impatiens, Lettuce, Mexican Sunflower, Ornamental Peppers, Petunias, Savory Shasta Daisy, Snapdragon, Strawflower Stock, Sweet Alyssum and Yarrow.

Soaking Seeds: Prior to planting, soaking seeds can speed up germination and increase germination rates. Some small, hard seeds need to soak 12 to 24 hours, while other seeds (peas and beans) are higher in protein and absorb water quite easily and should be soaked for only 2 to 4 hours. Garrett Juice and AlphaBio S.I. can be added to the soaking water, but the soaking should be reduced to less than an hour.

Tiny seeds clump together when wet, so pre-soaking can make them very hard to handle. Avoid this by soaking them for a while and then drying them on paper before planting. Seeds can also be sprayed with Garrett Juice and AlphaBio S.I. prior to planting to inoculate with microbes and to provide a mild fertilizer coating.   

If the ground is saturated, there is less reason to pre-soak seeds. If the soil temperatures are less than 50 degrees, it is less important. Seeds being planted into heavier, slower-draining clay soil don't need to be pre-soaked because seeds can rot in heavy, wet soil.

 
 Buffalograss seed capsules.

Buffalograss is the toughest and most drought-tolerant of all turf grasses. Critics say not to use buffalograss because Bermudagrass will invade and take it over. That's probably true if synthetic fertilizers and over-watering is the program. The key to establishment from seed is raking the seed into the soil and watering several times a day until small seedlings have begun to grow. The organic program also helps greatly. It's a great time to plant now. This grass will save you a lot of money. Once established, it can survive with almost no water.

Products for pest control, lawn and garden care are available in the Dirt Doctor's Corner of your favorite garden center. Please forward this newsletter to everyone in your address book and all your friends on Facebook and Twitter to help me spread the word on organics.

If you have questions on this newsletter or any other topic, tune in this Sunday from 8am - 11am CST to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. Listen on the internet or click here to find a station in your area.

Naturally yours,

 
Howard Garrett


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