Which plants to sow
Fruits and seeds, in the form of colored berries, showy pods or thin feathers carried by the wind, are present in our garden in every season; many gardening enthusiasts have certainly tried to try their hand at seed propagation, with seeds harvested on vacation, or with those bought in specialty stores. Anyone who has already tried knows that not all plants give optimal results with seed propagation, although, undeniably, it is very gratifying to observe some small seedlings in their seed development, even when from a large handful of seeds we only get 2 3 seedlings. Although most plants produce fertile seeds, not all of them sprout in contact with water and soil; many plants produce fruit and seeds in the autumn, and the seeds must remain fertile, but dormant, until the following spring, to prevent the rigid winter temperatures from spoiling the newly-sprouted seedling; trees and shrubs of various kinds produce many seeds, but not all fertile, others produce seeds that remain dormant for months or years, to prevent young plants from being damaged by environmental conditions, or to prevent the development of new plants from becoming harmful to the plant that produced the seeds.
We choose the plants
Success in sowing originates first of all in the choice of the plant to sow; in large part most of the annuals have seeds that germinate with great ease, giving rise to numerous seedlings, which produce the flowers a few weeks after sowing. Perennial plants on the other hand sometimes germinate with difficulty; in other cases they give rise to plants that bloom after 2-3 years from sowing. To start with, we suggest trying to sow annual flowering plants, such as daisies and asters of various types, nicotiana, nasturtium, lobelia, poppies and escholzia, alisso, lion's mouths, delphinium, cornflower, cosmea, nemophila and nigella; these are plants that germinate easily in spring, with minimum temperatures above 12-15 ° C, it is possible to sow them directly in the ground, in pots or in the open ground; even some perennials are very easy to sow, such as perennial daisies, gazania, beautiful at night, perennial delphinium, aubretia, agastache, centranthus, bergenia and many varieties of bluebells.
In some cases, plants that are difficult to sow are also among the most popular, such as primroses, impatiens, petunias, pelargoniums and geranium, lupins; sometimes it is a problem of temperatures: the seeds of impatiens and primroses need a climate that is not too hot, and a lot of indirect sunlight; they are generally sown in specific seed beds, equipped with light and heating, in order to obtain an acceptable number of plants; moreover often, as in the case of the pelargoniums, in addition to a poor germination of the seeds, the plants obtained from seed must be properly pruned to obtain a compact and branched shrub, therefore generally the pelargoni are propagated by cutting. In other cases, such as for the lupine or even for the sweet pea, the medium-sized seeds are covered by an impermeable integument, which does not allow the water to reach the inside of the seed to start germination: in this case It is necessary to make a small incision in the upper part of the seed (distant from the "eye") with a well sharpened knife, then immerse the seeds in warm water for a few hours, only those that will sink can be sown; with the sweet peas it is also possible to leave the seeds in the water until you see a beginning of sprout, then move them into the soil.
Sowing the flowering plants - Special Other seeds, such as those of some tall trees, or those of cyclamens, need to spend the winter in the cold before germinating; therefore to get the sprouts we must, before sowing them, place these seeds in the refrigerator, placed in a plastic bag, leaving them undisturbed for a period that depends on the type of plant: eg cyclamens generally take a few days.
Once the plants have been chosen, it should be remembered that not all seeds produce plants identical to the mother plant; often from seeds of plants obtained from various hybridizations, we obtain plants with flowers of different colors, or sometimes not as showy as we had hoped; or the plants in our garden naturally hybridize, since insects and wind can carry pollen from similar plants even for kilometers; for this reason it is advisable to contact a seed merchant, who assures us that the seeds he selected will produce flowers of the color shade that we desire, and all of the same identical color. We can also have fun by sowing the seeds collected in our garden, or exchanged with other enthusiasts, but remember not to be surprised by a flowering of a different color than expected.
Before sowing we inform ourselves about the temperature necessary to germinate to the plant we have chosen, or at least in every season we try to sow only the plants that are sown at that time of the year, to avoid a subsequent short life to the plants we obtained.
Tools and soil
To sprout the seeds need a temperature that is not too rigid, bright light, but not direct, and water; to supply these elements the seeds are placed on the surface of a soft and moist soil, which is able to retain moisture for many hours; peat is generally used, mixed with sand or perlite, to increase drainage. On the market you can easily find packs of soil already mixed, specifically for sowing; we can also use the special peat tablets, very useful in the case of plants that do not like to be transplanted, such as nasturtiums and poppies, which we can then transplant to a home without disturbing the roots.
The tericcio, or peat tablets, is placed in small pots or trays; before sowing it is advisable to completely moisten the colitivation substrate, placing the containers in a tray, or in a saucer, which reaches at least half of the height of the soil container and filling the tray with water. When the water has completely soaked the soil, until it reaches the surface layer, we can begin to sow, trying to spread the seeds as evenly as possible. Let the seed adhere well to the substrate, then cover it with a light layer of soil; to better cover the seeds, so that they remain moist but also receive light, we can cover the surface of the containers with a thin layer of vermiculite or perlite.
We place the seedlings in a bright place, except for some species of plants that prefer the dark, with mild temperatures, not too high, avoiding direct sunlight; we try to constantly keep the soil moist, often spraying the surface: the desiccation of the seeds, and even of the young germs, can cause irreparable damage, even if it occurs only for short periods.
To keep the seeds and the substratum moist, we can place the containers with the soil and the seeds in a transparent plastic bag, which we will place in a cool place: in this way the humidity supplied with the first watering cannot evaporate, keeping the substrate constantly humid; as soon as the small plants sprout we will have to remove the container from the bag and place it in a fairly ventilated place.
Sow flowering plants: Young plants
Among the many sprouted seedlings we immediately choose the most vigorous ones, thinning them out to give them the chance to develop at their best; when they have produced at least two or three real leaves, we can proceed with repotting, moving the plants into individual containers. If the season is favorable, the plants can be planted when they have reached sufficient dimensions to handle them without damaging them. From the appearance of the first leaves we start with fertilizing, to favor the development of flowers, using a fertilizer rich in potassium; it is administered every 8-10 days, using a quantity reduced to one third compared to that recommended on the package. In the case of perennial or annual plants that produce round and well-branched shrubs it is advisable to shorten the tip of the young plants, which have at least 3-4 weeks, so as to favor the development of branches already in the lower part of the shrub.
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