So you think you have the touch of death when it comes to gardening? No matter how much you water and love your plants they never seem to yield a bountiful harvest. Produce you see at the grocery story don’t start out colorful and robust, they start as seeds. These seeds require ample nurturing and tending to, like a baby on the move, they must crawl before they can walk. Gardening is similar to a baby learning how to walk only in this case, the seed is your baby. Here are some tips learned at the UMD Terp Farm on how to become a regular green thumb:
Seeds need the right amount of water, light, temperature, and soil nutrients. Start indoors to create the ideal environment for your seeds and make sure you follow the directions as all seeds require different care, for example some crops grow best in colder conditions.
Within several days the seeds will begin sprouting. The important thing is patience. Continue to care for these plants regularly and they will surely flourish. If nothing comes up attempt to locate the problem. Sometimes something as simple as overwatering or lack of sunlight could be the culprit.
As the seedlings thrive they require more room to grow big and tall. It is best to take the healthiest looking sprouts and individually transplant them to larger pots otherwise their roots will compete for soil and leaves will compete for sunlight.
Our plants are nearly there, but to transition them from indoor to outdoor we must ease them into it. Plants must get acclimated to weather conditions such as temperature changes, weather, and less watering. Leave the plants outside for several hours on mild days with moderate sunlight. Avoid strong sunlight or cold, gusty days.
It is best to plant seedlings in their permanent home after the last frost has passed. Crops should be planted in an area that receives as much sunlight as possible with fertile, loose soil. For best water drainage raise beds slightly.
Now that you’ve done the hard work it’s time to sit back and let Mother Nature do her work as you reap the benefits. Just make sure to weed when necessary and be sure to water daily during periods of little to no rain. Go and enjoy the fruits of your labor (pun intended)!