Dreaming of summer melons, cucumbers, peppers or tomatoes? Many of us are getting impatient and want to start working in the garden and getting our hands dirty! Well good news, there are a lot of ways to get your seedlings going for the upcoming summer garden.
Get Seeds Started Indoors
Most summer vegetable seeds should to be started ahead of time indoors. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant can, and should be started in the winter, especially in areas with short growing seasons. Even if you don’t have a greenhouse, seeds can be started in trays using systems like the Heated Germination Station or the Hot House. Each system has a 72-cell tray, a heat mat and a dome. If you don’t have a bright sunny location, add some grow lights.
Moving Seedlings Outside
Now that your seeds have grown to healthy strong seedlings, it is time to move them outside but for most locations, it is just still too cold. There are a couple of solutions to those cold temps or unpredictable late freezes.
Cold Frames or Hot Beds
Keep your seedlings warm using the heat of the sun or create a hot bed using heating cables or use natural heat, manure. See our blog on using manure to turn a cold frame into a hotbed or watch our video on coldframes and hotbeds.
Created easily with wire hoops or pvc pipe, and either greenhouse plastic, floating row cover (Agribon) or a breathable material Dio-Betalon (see blog). Watch our video on how to build a low tunnel.
Floating Row Covers
Lay the material directly on the plants to protect from frost. The row cover or Agribon comes in different levels of frost protection, AG-70 is one of the heaviest weights, giving 8+ degrees of protection.
To protect individual plants, the wall-o-water insulates using tubes of water. These mini-greenhouses allow transplanting of more tender plants up to 6 to 8 weeks earlier.
Place these over individual plants to create a mini-greenhouse effect. The top has a vent to open up during the day for ventilation. These resemble the cloches (French for bell) utilized in France for protecting tender plants. Great to use not only for your tender vegetables but also can be used on any tender perennials in your yard.
A liquid made of a micro-thin protein polymer, that can be sprayed on to a wide variety of vegetables, trees, berries, or fruits that will help prevent damage from freezing temperatures.
Don’t Forget to Water
Now that you have your seedlings tucked away in their protective shelter, make sure they are getting sufficient water. Also the seedlings will benefit from weekly feeding of a mixture like liquid fish and kelp.
Summer is around the corner and so is your beautiful garden, get started now and enjoy the fruits of your labor!