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August 20, 2013

Taylor's Tip for August

Seedlings are truly wondrous. They start as tiny seed capsules waiting patiently for the right amount of warmth and moisture to break out of their shells and outstretch their brand new leaves. This magical process is unbelievable, heartwarming and downright stressful.

Those first two weeks where you are watering bare dirt can be torture. What is happening down there? Are the seeds even doing anything? It’s been 7 days already!

Whoa! Just stop, take a deep breath and remember these quick tips.

First, check the soil moisture every day. The easiest way is by touching the soil and assessing the moisture level. If it is soaking wet, hold off on watering. If it is bone dry, you should have watered yesterday; so definitely do it today! Also, they need water, but not with a fire hose. Be careful of water pressure. The wrong setting on a spray nozzle can annihilate an entire seed tray.

Second, the idea that sunlight is the same as warmth is false. The sun can be shining when it is 20°F, but it sure isn’t warm out. Temperatures also drop at night, so don’t leave your seedlings out in the cold come sundown.

While it may sound daunting, once you get into the rhythm it becomes second nature. Just keep visualizing the day you wake up to check on your dirt garden and instead find delicate leaves peaking through the soil. This moment makes it all worthwhile. When it finally arrives, heave a sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back, and then comes the frightening realization: how does this turn into a cabbage? Stop by class to find out!

Happy gardening!

Submitted by Taylor Kornman, AmeriCorps VISTA

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