How To Raise Healthy Plants

It is very important that you raise healthy plants, whether you raise them from seeds or seedlings, you still need to take care of them appropriately.  There are several things you can do to ensure that your plants remain healthy and beautiful.

First off you want to make sure that your seedlings get adequate light.  If they do not, then they are going to become pale, leggy, and weak looking seedlings.  Seedlings require more intense light than adult plants, at least 14 to 16 hours a day.  You should not put your plants in the windowsills of your home, either.  Direct sun and the cold air that flows through there can kill your seedlings.  If you have no choice but to use your windowsills, rotate the plants every couple of days and supplement the light with reflectors.  This will ensure that the sun reaches all sides.  Your best bet is to raise your seedlings under fluorescent lights.  If you have shop lights, they will work just fine.  Adjust how high up your lights are so that they remain about four inches above the tops of the seedlings.

It is extremely important that you make sure that your seedlings get enough water.  It is what delivers nutrients to your seedlings.  Make sure that you keep the soil your seedlings are planted in moist, but not soggy.  Also, never let it dry out.  Check on your seedlings every day, mist them often and always use room temperature water.  Later on when your seedlings mature, you should water them from the bottom in order to encourage the roots to reach for it.

The majority of seeds germinate in a temperature range of about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Also, seedlings thrive in this same range.  Once they reach about three inches tall, they will prefer a cooler temperature.  You should also make sure that you ventilate your seedlings.  It is a critical step and helps them breathe by circulating carbon dioxide and oxygen.  By moving the air, you will also prevent damping-off disease and it will keep pests at bay.  All you need to do this is a small fan.  It will strengthen the stems and prepare your seedlings for actual outdoor breezes.

Once your seedlings have reached about two inches tall and they have developed their true leave, also known as their second set of leaves, they like small doses of plant food.  When it comes time to transplant your seedlings into your garden, they will need time to adjust to the outdoors.  On the first day, just set your seedlings outside in a shady, wind-free area.  After a couple of hours, you need to bring them back inside.  Continue to do this everyday for about a week, increasing the time spent outside gradually.  On a cool, overcast day, or during the early evening hours, transplant your seedlings.  Keep the soil you planted them in damp until your plants are well-established.  Shield them from the wind, frost, heavy rain, and hot sun with small tents or plastic milk jugs minus their bottoms.

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