“Teamwork makes the dream work!” We’ve all heard that statement our entire lives. Most everybody knows that working as a team toward a common goal is a great way to achieve great things. Magoffin County Grow Appalachia is doing just that–working as a team to help everyone realize their dreams…of a nice, productive garden.
As supplies have filtered in and seeds have been donated, our team of Grow Appalachians has worked hard to ensure that everyone is taken care of and every job gets done. On Monday, March 27th, we had our first GA “Work Day.” Program participants, who were able to come in during the day and volunteer time, gathered at the Extension Office to help start seeds, cut large rolls of Hortonova netting into manageable sizes for our families, inventory equipment and supplies from GA 2015, and distribute fertilizer and t-posts.
Many of the volunteers had never had the opportunity to start their own transplants, so it turned into a great learning experience as well. Courtney Jenkins, CEA for ANR, walked the participants through the entire process.
- Choose proper containers for starting seeds. Start seeds in small, individual containers–trays with 72 cells work great, but other small recycled containers work fine as well.
- Choose a light, organic seed starting mix. Seed starting mixes are often free of weed seeds, are lightweight, and have the right texture for good germination. Do not use soil when starting seeds.
- Moisten the seed starting mix prior to filling the trays or containers to allow the mix to soak up enough water to keep the seeds moist until germination.
- Sow the seeds into the individual cells as directed on each seeds’ packaging. When using old seed, or seeds suspected to have a lower germination rate, sow more than one seed in the cell.
- Choose a location that is free of heavy foot traffic, animals, cool drafts and excessive heat. Window sills are often the coolest location in the house, so window sills are not an ideal location unless you are using a heat mat to keep the soil temperature elevated. In our case, we used heat mats and a grow light stand.
- Adequate light is necessary for growth. Fluorescent light is the best way to grow plants, as you are not relying solely on natural light. Hang the lights from chains so that you can easily raise them as the plants grow. Keep the lights no more than 4 inches above the plants.
- Keeping the soil moist while the plants are germinating is key. Use a spray to gently water the surface or add water into the tray below the cell pack, being careful not to leave excess water which can damage the delicate root systems.
- Transplant the seedlings after they have outgrown their cells. Larger seedlings require more space and more light.