Prepare Vegetable Seeds to Produce Excellent Produce

Jan 18, 2016

Wonderful, marvelous, vegetable seeds.

They evoke the promise of bountiful beans, beaming beets, crunchy carrots, smashing squash, and mouthwatering watermelons. Every year we peruse the seed catalogues looking for that new variety of a standard or finding an heirloom that will refresh our appetite.

Prep Work Comes First

The seedbed preparation may be the most enjoyable part of gardening, next to enjoying the fruits of our labor. Tilling the soil several weeks before planting, cleaning up large surviving plant material, and removing newly found rocks, is the order of things leading to a bountiful harvest. Level the soil surface if uneven, and apply compost, dry manure, or other organic material that may be available.

Raw organic material must be ¼ inch or less for soil fungi to colonize and reduce cellulose in a timely manner, providing a nutrient rich environment for your future vegetables. Work this organic material into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches or more. The majority of aerobic (requiring oxygen) microbial activity occurs in the upper 4 to 6 inches of soil. Organic Matter (OM) makes the soil loose and easy to work with, and also improves water holding capacity, drainage, and ventilation.

Fertilizer should be applied at the time of seedbed preparation. A good slow-release, well-balanced NPK (6-10-1) would be just the ticket. A typical application can be 5 to 6 pounds per 100 square feet, spread evenly over the ground. Lightly rototill or spade into the top 6 to 8 inches, as this will slow the nitrogen in the fertilizer from evaporating and becoming lost.

Do not work wet soil, as this will contribute to soil compaction and loss of soil crumb structure. To check, take a handful of garden soil in your hand and squeeze it into a ball.  If it crumbles, the soil is ready to work. As a general rule, it will be less than 35% moisture.

I leave bed and row construction to the gardener, however, be aware that on east-west run beds the south side of the bed will produce earlier, while the north side will lag behind from less direct sunlight. The latter is also important when making windrow compost. North sides of east-west linear compost lines will stay wetter and cooler, producing less oxygen.

Our 5 Step Plan

For planting time and seed preparation that offers the best possible germination and protection for emerging radical (roots), hypocotyl (stems), epicotyl (shoots), and cotyledons (leaves) from marauding, pathogenic microorganisms, take the following steps:

  1. Put 1 ounce of liquid humic acid and 1 ounce of liquid seaweed in one gallon of water. BioFlora’s Soil Source and Seaweed Creme are perfect!
  2. Mix thoroughly and pour enough into a shallow pan or bowl to cover the seed ½ to 2 inches in depth. Seed size and quantity will determine the amount used to obtain complete coverage.
  3. Soak for half an hour.
  4. Place paper toweling (not newspaper) on a cookie sheet-type pan. After removing the seeds from the liquid mixture, spread the seeds evenly and let dry. Gently pat smaller seeds with toweling to facilitate drying. Very small seeds may need to be captured by pouring through a tea strainer or larger seeds through a bigger mesh strainer.
  5. Retain the soaking mixture and pour it around outside shrubs and flowers. Any growing plant will appreciate it, as well as the soil microflora and fauna.

Your seeds should have some directions for seeding rates, hilling and drilling, seed spacing, planting depth, and information for covering and firming soil, irrigation, and thinning. If transplants are being used, be sure to use the same “seed soak” mixture to settle the soil around the root ball. This will reduce shock and allow the same disease-buffering conditions rendered to seed that has been soaked.

Happy gardening!

Recommended Products

Soil Source®

Soil Source works to reverse damage and return soils back to their natural, optimum state. This product is a unique, biologically-enhanced humic acid, with a diverse spectrum of naturally occurring, beneficial microorganisms that help rebuild and restore soils. At BioFlora® we utilize a proprietary extraction process, which maximizes the amounts of humic acid we are able to procure. Our product is also comprised of many different characteristics that are not found in other organic acid products, such as soil carbon, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients.

Seaweed Creme®

Our Seaweed Creme is made from the finest source of Ascophyllum nodosum, a type of seaweed that grows in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. From there it is hand-harvested, sun-dried, and homogenized. This differs from most of the seaweed extracts you will find on the store shelf, which use a harmful, chemical-based, high heat extraction method, which diminishes seaweed’s vital content and produces a sub-standard product.

Premium soil amendment for planting trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, ground cover and much more. May be used as a mulch or seed cover. Helps break up clay soil.

Dry Crumbles®

Dry Crumbles® 6-10-1 + 10% Ca is a dry, granular fertilizer that is easy to broadcast and well-suited for broad-area coverage. BioFlora® formulated this product to provide an excellent source of high quality, organic nutrients for all types of plants, trees, and lawns. With this idea in mind, Dry Crumbles was developed to be a balanced blend of not just nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, but to also contain high levels of calcium and other minor and trace minerals.

Plantalizer® 1-2-1

Sustainable fertilizers aim to be environmentally conscious and still provide immediate results, allowing you to achieve the distinct advantages of both organic and conventional products. Plantalizer 1-2-1 works to improve soil structure and increase a soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients. With Plantalizer, there is no risk of toxic metals or sodium build-up, which can be deadly to plants. In addition, nutrients are available to plants immediately, and overall plant improvement can occur within days due to Plantalizer’s quick-release formula.