That support could be as simple as tying small seedlings to a stake make of a pencil or a chopstick, and larger seedlings to a small stick or a tree branch. The support should be at least as tall or taller than the plant, Bahner said. It’s also possible to “beef up” stringy seedlings when they’re inside by making sure there is some light air circulation coming at them. Gardeners could do this with a fan put on a low setting that is not placed too close to the seedlings.
When you have planted the seeds in your cups or trays, they need to be placed in a warm spot in your house to germinate, and then into a sunny and warm part of your house to grow. But even in the sunniest of windows, seedlings are likely to become tall and leggy as they stretch up to find more sun.
“If you start them now, they would go in your garden in early June,” Bahner said, adding that that’s probably just fine for the plants. “Things like basil will die below 45 degrees [Fahrenheit] anyway.”
Extension gardening experts suggest using fresh seed from a reliable source, and using seeds saved from a previous year only if they have been stored in a cool, dry place. Seeds can be planted in any clean, two- to three 1/2-inch deep container with adequate drainage holes. Containers that were previously used for planting should be cleaned and disinfected with a solution of one part chlorine bleach to nine parts water, in order to help prevent disease.
This process is called “hardening off” and it can be critical to a plant’s ability to survive and thrive outside. Seedlings that have lived their whole lives inside should be slowly introduced to the elements. Waldo County garden expert Norma Rossel of Troy suggests the process should start about two weeks before you want to plant them in your garden, and includes reducing the amount you water the seedlings and gradually increasing their exposure to outdoor sunlight.
“You want the soil damp but not soaking,” Bahner said. “If you are not going to be home with them all day, water them well in the morning. Not at night, when it’s cool and dark, because that will promote fungal growth.”
“I think the biggest challenges for home growers is to get a window with enough sun,” Bahner said. “Leggy plants can still do well, but I would not plant them without support.”
“Keeping the cats away from them is an obstacle,” Schrader said.
Your living room probably won’t ever look like her greenhouse, but even gardeners who only have a sunny window can start seeds that will take root beautifully in their vegetable and flower gardens once the weather warms up.
The biggest challenge for most home gardeners is to find a window that gets enough sun.. Maine news, sports, politics, election results, and obituaries from the Bangor Daily News.