Six Steps for Stronger Seedlings

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Starting seeds indoors gives you a jump start on your spring garden. And with these six tricks, you’ll be growing hardy starter plants like the pros this winter. 

Prepare seedlings for an easy transition to the garden. These tips to manage light, temperature and air encourage healthy growth.

Six Steps to Hardy Seedlings:

  1. Seeds germinate best in warm conditions, but brief, cool temperatures benefit seedlings, too. A room that is 5 to 10 degrees lower at night is ideal.
  2. When the first leaves sprout, seedlings need 14 hours of light a day. Keep plants 2” below fluorescent lights or 4” below high-output lights.
  3. Air movement encourages seedlings to develop strong stems that can bend in the wind. Place a small fan where it will blow on the seedlings twice a day.
  4. As seedlings grow, move them to 4” diameter containers to accommodate roots. Allow enough space between plants so that the leaves are barely touching.
  5. Water as needed to keep the soil lightly moist. Avoid excessive water and fertilizer, which encourages tender, floppy plants.
  6. Find a sunny place outdoors that is sheltered from wind and move seedlings outside when the temperatures are above 55 degrees. Bring them back inside at night until the last frost. Check seed packets for further instructions.

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