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David's Garden Seeds And Products Newsletter
February 16, 2017

Get Ready For Spring Planting

Here in Texas it has been unseasonably warm. Last year it did not freeze from now until planting time so people planted early and were not surprised with a last minute freeze. People have been coming into the shop to buy their seeds and asking when they can plant. I always tell them, "Just wait. It is going to freeze at least one more time before Easter." My father used to tell me that after Easter was a good time to plant. There would not be any more freezes. To the best of my knowledge, this has been true for South Texas. Here, when June rolls around, it starts getting too hot for some plants to produce while up North it is just beginning to warm up. We lived in Marquette, MI for a few months. We arrived in early June and I remember it was just starting to get warmed up. It was cool at night, so cool that we did not need the A/C. For the home gardener, it is hard to be cooped up in the house and not able to plant anything. Here in South Texas we can plant pretty much all year. There is something that will grow in the extreme heat as well as in the mild temperatures we have in the winter.

Cauliflower Seeds

Several weeks ago, I started three colors of cauliflower seeds in the shop. I planned on letting them stay in the shop and then when they germinated, I would move them out. Well, they germinated over the weekend so they were tall and thin. I immediately moved them outside, but the damage was done. They started falling over. I had to pull them all up and start over. You can see more about this on our website. This week I will be starting peppers and tomatoes (regular and grafting). I want to experiment with transplanting some beets. I have heard that beets can be transplanted. As you get ready to plant, keep these tips in mind: "When starting seeds, the most important thing to remember is not to plant them too deep. Placing the seeds in less than 1/4 inch of soil will do. The seed is a living embryo that contains enough energy to germinate and break the surface of the soil. If planted too deep, the seed will run out of energy and die before it breaks the surface. Once it breaks the surface, it produces the energy it needs through photosynthesis. Keep the soil moist, but not wet with a temperature of at least 70 degrees. Over-watering will drown the seed.

A good rule to follow is the dirt should be moist so it feels like brown sugar up to your first knuckle. If it feels dry like salt, it is too dry. If it feels like wet flour, then it is too wet. The best watering for germinating is bottom watering. Put your starter pots in a tray, fill 3/4 full of water and let them soak up the water they need until the seeds germinate. Watering from the top can dislodge the germinating seeds and kill them. Seeds should germinate in about 7 to 14 days; sometimes they can take up to 21 days. But chili pepper seeds can take as long as 30 days until the day the first seedling comes up. If starting indoors, seeds need 14 to 16 hours of daylight a day. A grow light will be needed. A regular florescent or lamp light will not do the job. If you are going to start indoors, you will need to make a small investment. Putting pots on a window sill will not work in most cases. If the seeds do not get enough light, they will grow tall and thin. Then they will die. If using a planter with a cover, do not use a heat pad. The cover and heat pad combination will create too much heat and humidity which will cook the seeds, thus killing them. One or the other is enough. Keep in mind that most planters have holes pre-drilled from 3/4 to 1 inch deep, which is too deep for many seeds. You may have to put a bit of filler in there. I would not use potting soil/garden soil from Home Depot/Walmart/Lowes as these contain more organic material (lighter than soil so cheaper to ship) than they do soil which is okay for mature plants but not for seedlings. Go to a nursery and see what they recommend. Some nurseries have a germination/garden mix which works really great. Also, know that in the garden, birds, ants and other insects like seeds for dinner. It is possible to plant them and have them stolen, especially smaller seeds. Even worms will eat the seeds. Do not use any fertilizer until plants are six inches tall. Then only use half of what is recommended until plants are a foot tall (12 inches). Use an organic fertilizer. When transplanting outdoors, plants will need to be hardened off for 7-10 days. If you take the plants from the controlled environment to outside without hardening off, they could flounder and die or not grow very well. For information on how to harden off plants, check out our website at Hardening Off Plants. On our website you will find more information about growing. I have started pages about growing only to get side tracked and not get back to it. I am getting to these little by little.

San Antonio Spring Home Show

Next weekend, Friday, February 24 through Sunday, February 26, we will be at the San Antonio Home Show at the Alamodome. If you are in the San Antonio area, stop by and say hello. We will have many of our most popular spring planting seeds, along with handmade gardening aprons to assist you in your spring planting. These will hold your garden tools, seed markers, seeds, gloves, and your cell phone.

Visit Our Store

Visit our store today, either in person at 7715 Tezel Road in San Antonio, Texas, or online at our website, David's Garden Seeds. You can also call your order in at (210)370-9873. Order your seeds now while our selection is great. Spring planting time will be here before you realize it! Until next time.

David Schulze

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