The Gardener's Corner

It’s planting time: Key to germination is the right climate

Erik takes you through the seeding process step-by-step

For seeds germination, you will need the right climate.

First, find a spot where your seeding flat can be located undisturbed for about one month, near an electric outlet. My living arrangements allow me to observe the planting flat daily.

A day before the planting, I fill the flat with potting soil 3/4 full and mix the water to 90 per cent, then place it on the heating pad plugged it into the temperature controller at the temperature the seeds call for.

The following day, I will prepare for seeding by getting a piece of bamboo for about of the width of the flat and two smaller sticks, like wooden matches; have several on hand.

I then position the bamboo stick about two inches from the edge of the flat and one of the small sticks in each end. Before you open the seed bag read the instructions carefully. You will look for: how deep to plant, how deep to make a trench along the bamboo stick or perhaps it calls for no cover.

To plant the seeds, I use a note size white paper, to be folded over to make a crease and dump the seeds near the crease. Along the piece of bamboo as your guide, very carefully tap on the paper or, better still, use a pencil to guide the seeds spreading as thinly as possible.

When at the other end, move your bamboo guide two inches away, with one stick at each end. Repeat until you run out of seed.

You then cover the seeds, or, if not, press them down with a small piece of wood.

MORE GARDENER’S CORNER: Tips for growing your own annuals

Now you need the piece of glass — which I wrote about last week — to cover the flat, to keep the moisture in. You will turn it over every twelve hours.

If the seeds call for light, turn it on. If not, lay a piece of covering on the glass. When 30 per cent of the seeds have germination, move the flat off the heat & into the cold room at 50 to 60F (10 to 16C). Do have patience, small seeds can take up to 30 days to germinate.

The geranium cuttings I took several weeks ago have taken root, and have been transplanted into smaller pots and are now in my cool room under grow lights.

Perhaps I should let you know it is possible to store the mother plants for next year. I keep mine in the dark basement in moist peat moss, or plant them into pots, for the living room, they will start blooming for you throughout the winter months.

It you have any questions, or suggestions for topics, please email me:

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