Photo by Tom Perkins/Fotolia
Best seed-starting solutions
Here are your top 10 tips for giving seeds (and seedlings) the best start
*—Cathy Morgan, Kingsville, ON* **2.** Wash all your containers and implements in a **weak bleach solution** to keep them clean and prevent disease.
*—Pat Battles, Victoria* **3. Always plant fresh seeds.** Old seeds may have been stored in less than ideal conditions, which will affect germination.
*—Jo Ann Ouimet, Saint-Jean, QC*
*—Michele Savoie, Saint John, NB* **5. Use a spray bottle to water seedlings**, adding leftover tea to the water. That, along with good ventilation, protects them against damping off.
*—Mary Ann Baumhour, Madoc, ON* **6.** When growing tomatoes from seed, let them **grow their first set of true leaves and then transplant them into slightly larger pots**, planting them deep—right up to the leaves. Repeat about four times (tomatoes grow roots along the buried stems, resulting in big, strong plants). My sister-in-law got 60 tomatoes from one plant that I gave her!
*—June Galiwoda, Dapp, AB* **7. Hang sheets of white plastic** around the area where plants are growing under fluorescent lights. This reflects more light onto the seedlings.
*—Grace Kempenaar, Waterloo, ON* **8. Start cucumber seeds in late January** in milk cartons filled with potting soil with some charcoal in the bottom—a big barbecue briquette works perfectly. It prevents damping off and, by the time the garden is ready for planting, my cukes have flowers and sometimes even small cucumbers!
*—Deborah McMillen, Oshawa, ON* **9. Put a clear plastic bag over the pot** of seeds to create a greenhouse effect and hasten germination.
*—Patti Whillier, Grande Prairie, AB* **10.** Before planting seeds, soak them for four hours in a **jar of water mixed with tea bags** and used coffee grounds.
*—Linda Chaput, North Bay, ON* **Tea Benefits** Many teas, especially chamomile, act as a natural fungicide. Also, the tannic acid in tea helps neutralize salts that build up in the soil with watering.