Early Onset of "Gardenitis"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2014
URBANA, Ill. - The next "bug" you
catch may not be the flu bug, but rather the gardening bug that starts to
infect many gardeners about this time of year, said a University of Illinois
Extension horticulture educator.
"There are some preventative steps
to take to delay the early onset of 'gardenitis,'"said Richard Hentschel.
by taking deep breaths and thinking back on all the good things that happened
last year in your garden and forgetting about the bad stuff. Next, check your
temperature by going to the patio door and looking at the indoor-outdoor
thermometer to be sure it is still reading too cold to start anything indoors.
Last, drink in lots of sunshine on the brighter, longer days we are having," he
taken all the above steps, gardeners can then consider starting their vegetable
and flower seeds in a timelier, controlled manner. "Read the seed packet to
find out the best time to sow the seeds for planting outside in our area,
normally just a few weeks before the average frost-free date. The date will
vary, depending if you are planning for that early garden, the summer or fall
garden," Hentschel said.
should start seeds at home that they cannot find as transplants or for those
specific flowers or vegetables that can only be found in the seed catalogs.
Hentschel recommends using fresh, packed for 2014, vegetable and flower seeds,
brand new or very clean and sanitized seed starting flats; and a bag of brand
new soil-less growing media for starting seeds.
the seed-starting media is dry, wet and stir in enough water to provide moisture
for the seeds to start their germination process," he said. "Next, fold the
soil into the starting flats, being sure to adequately fill the cells using
clean hands or sanitized garden tools. Once that is finished, you are ready to
sow your seeds.
you are using individual cell packs place one or two seeds per cell at the
depth recommended on the seed packet. If you are sowing in rows, place the rows
far enough apart so you can later transplant them easily," Hentschel added.
can also sow across the flat in short rows if fewer plants are needed or to be
able to sprout more kinds of vegetables of the same type. "Many gardeners will
take plastic wrap from the kitchen and lightly cover the seed flat to retain
even moisture during the germination process," he said.
seeds prefer warmer soil temperatures to germinate, others cooler, so be sure
to sow similar seeds in the same flat. Once seeds are in the flats and covered,
place them in an appropriate location to provide the needed heat to warm up or
to keep the soil cool.
on the seed packet will tell you when you can expect to see the seedlings
emerge and if any thinning will be needed. If thinning is necessary, use a
small pair of scissors to cut the unwanted seedling off, but do not pull it out
as you will damage the seedling you want to keep," Hentschel explained.
the seedlings continue to grow, move the flats into brighter light to keep them
from reaching for the sun and getting too leggy and thin. The best conditions
will be good sunlight during the day and cooler night temperatures to create
the best transplant possible.
much water can ruin your recipe for success by causing seedling diseases and
later root rots of young vegetable and flower plants. When watering, water the
soil only, not the foliage which can also cause diseases," he said. "If your
'gardenitis' gets too bad, contact your support group of other gardeners and
have them talk you down."
Source: Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org