Camp Internet's Global Gardening Studies are open to all Camp Expedition Teams. RAIN's Youth Technology Corps members are Expedition Team Leaders for Communities taking part.
Current Classes, Activities & Briefing
In order to germinate, seeds require moisture and oxygen in addition to the planting medium.
Optimum conditions for achieving this delicate balance are determined mostly by planting depth.
Follow the instructions on the seed packet for best results, but if these are seeds you've collected and/or no instructions are available, try planting the depth of the diameter of the seed.
If they're so tiny that they can't be handled well, scatter them over the top of the seedbed and dust them lightly with your soil.
Sowing seeds too deeply is the most common reason for poor germination.
Very tiny seeds such as petunias and snapdragons can easily be planted one at a time using a seed spoon.
These simple but valuable tools come in 4 sizes and are very inexpensive.
After going to the trouble to plant tiny seeds one-by-one, be very careful when watering so that they don't wash away from the intended planting space.
Many times a clump of small seeds will germinate together with their tiny roots intertwined, and though frugal gardeners often attempt to separate and replant the seedlings, this is most often unsuccessful since it disturbs the delicate new root systems.
In this case it is always best to use a small scissor to snip the extra seedings away from the chosen one.
When the seedlings are removed for transplanting to the garden, do not lift them by the stem; instead, lift them gently by one leaf.
If the leaf is damaged, more leaves will come.
If the stem is broken, you've lost the seedling.
This is a common problem with seeds started indoors.
If seedlings are gangly and thin, they may succumb when their stems are too weak to hold the first leaves.
Before this happens, seedlings are tall, thin, and desperately growing toward the light.
This gangly appearance is caused by lack of light; move the seed bed closer to a light source.
Even if they get ample light from only one direction, they'll lean in that direction; give the seed bed a quarter turn each day to prevent leaning.