Gardening Articles

Selecting And Sowing Seeds

All individuals of the vegetable world are so created as to reproduce themselves from seed or its equivalent. Every plant that grows seems to possess the power to perpetuate its kind. All kinds of flowering plants can be grown from the seed, providing

good, sound seeds are obtained, and they are placed under the proper influences to make them germinate and grow. The amateur cultivator has many difficulties to contend with in raising plants from seed. Some times it is difficult to obtain pure, sound seeds, but these should always be secured if possible, taking great pains in selecting varieties, and in obtaining them of some reliable dealer. If we sow seeds, and they fail to germinate, our first thought is to censure the dealer or raiser of the seed for lack of integrity in his business, while in reality the fault may be our own, and due to careless sowing. Those who raise seed for the market take great pains to produce none but good, sound seeds, and in nine cases out of ten, where seeds fail to germinate and grow, the fault is with those who sow them, and not on account of poor quality of seed. This we know from experience. Three things are absolutely essential in the sowing of seeds, in order to have that success which we all desire to attain: First; care should be taken to obtain fresh, pure seeds, without which all our after work with them will be in vain. Second; the soil in which to sow them should be a fine, mellow loam, free from stones and other coarse materials. Thirdly; sowing the seed. The general custom is to sow in drills. The depth at which seeds should be sown must of course be regulated according to their fineness, or coarseness. Seeds that are exceptionally fine, like those of Lobelias, Petunias, Ferns, and other very tiny seeds, ought never to be covered deeper than the sixteenth of an inch, with very fine soil sifted on them through a fine sieve; the soil should then be lightly patted down with the back of a shovel. This will prevent the seeds from shriveling before they start to germinate. Seeds like those of the Pansy, Verbena, etc., require a covering of a quarter to a half inch of soil, while those like the Nasturtium, Ricinus, etc., may be covered to the depth of an inch. The regular florist has facilities for raising plants from seed that most amateurs do not possess, but we will give a few suggestions that will enable those who desire to start their own plants, to do it successfully by the aid of the directions here given. A cheap and simple method is, to take four plain boards, of an equal length, say three feet long, and ten inches deep, and nail together to form a square frame. Then place this frame upon a bed of rich soil, prepared for the purpose in some sheltered, warm spot. The bed should be just wide enough to be enclosed within the frame. Within this enclosure sow your seeds, and cover with a glass sash. Seeds can be started in March in this frame, and afford plants for setting out in April and May. A bank of earth, or manure, may be thrown around the outside of the frame to keep it snug and warm. After sowing the seed in this frame, shade it for four or five days by placing a cloth over the sash, this will prevent too much heat and light until the seeds have commenced to germinate, after which it can be removed without injury.

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