People decide to grow their own vegetables for different reasons. These reasons may include better flavor, which comes from consuming freshly picked vegetables straight from the garden without them having to go through post-harvest handling procedures and being frozen over a long time. Other reasons include the need to enhance food safety or to improve their health. When you grow your own vegetables, you will be able to eat most of it. Others choose to grow their plants because gardening tends to be a stress-relieving activity for them.
Growing your own vegetables saves you a lot of money and time as you do not need to visit the market all the time and you’ll get more produce per plant. You are also able to gain control over the chemicals and fertilizers that will be used, allowing you to preserve the nutritional quality of the vegetables. You can even choose to grow your vegetables organically. Because you can recycle some kitchen and yard wastes products, this will reduce environmental waste and provide nutrients for your plants.
Different types of vegetables require different growing seasons. Some require short growing seasons while others, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants require longer growing seasons. For this reason, you might want to sprout them at home before transplanting. That being said, there are also a number of factors to consider when deciding to sprout vegetables.
Know Before Your Grow
- There should be an adequate and continuous supply of good water. Keep in mind that the seedbed needs to be moist, not too wet.
- It is important to maintain the quality of the soil that will be used for planting. This soil should not be too coarse or too fine because it needs to have the ability to hold some degree of water and it should contain enough organic material. When planting the seeds, make sure the soil is a bit compact to give the seedlings some stability. It should not be too loose or ‘airy.’
- To control pests or bugs and diseases, sterilize the tools and trays that are going to be used. Use steam sterilization on the structures and on the growing media. Indoor plants tend to grow well because they are not affected by bad weather elements neither do pests like critters get a chance to destroy them. The plants also clean the air in the room by taking in carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen.
- Ensure that there is enough ventilation and be careful how you administer pesticides especially in an enclosed environment. Lack of proper lighting and wind can greatly affect the yield. There is also a challenge especially for plants that require pollination because of lack of pollinating insects.
How to Sprout Vegetables
First, you’ll need to purchase good quality seeds from a trusted source because the quality of the seeds will greatly affect the degree of yield. The containers that you choose to use should have ample drainage holes. They should also be of the correct size for that particular plant. Some plants require about 2-3 inch depth while others like tomatoes may require up to 12 inches depth of soil. You can also use seed starting trays, recycled or biodegradable pots. If you chose to use the seed starting trays, you also need a drip tray which is usually set under the seed starting tray so that it can catch drips of water and dirt.
Some people sprout seeds with garden soil. This is not very ideal as it may sometimes contain bacteria or fungus. It is therefore advisable to grow seeds with seed-starting mixes as they have a good water holding capacity. They are also well-balanced and provide excellent conditions with which to sprout seeds. These mixes do not contain any actual ‘soil’. They are usually made up of peat moss or coco coir, and may sometimes contain vermiculite and fertilizers. They are free from diseases, thus improving your seedling’s survival rate.
Seed packets usually come with guidelines on how to plant the seeds. Usually, it is recommended that the seed be covered with the same depth of soil like that of the seed. For example, if a seed is 1.5mm, it should be covered by 1.5mm of soil. Do not plant seeds too deeply so that they have enough energy to climb to the surface. Neither should the soil be too shallow, ensure that the small seeds are well covered.
After planting, place the containers in a warm place and keep the seed mixture moist at all times. Do not fill it with water as this will destroy the seedlings. When the seeds begin to germinate, they should be placed in an area where there is enough sunlight or you can supplement the light with suspended fluorescent bulbs.
Keep the environment cool and use organic fertilizer to provide nutrients for your seedlings. Once they start having two sets of leaves, prune them. Once they are ready, then you can transplant them in your garden or backyard. The temperature should be about 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil consistently moist. If you are using LED lights, place them 8-12 inches above your plants.
A piece of glass or a plastic wrap can be used to cover the containers, creating what we call humidity domes during the seed’s germination phase. However, these wrappings should be removed immediately once the seeds start sprouting to prevent infection that kills seedlings. The reason why the pots are covered is to retain much-needed moisture in the pot.
Most mixes do not have a lot of nutrients, so a few weeks after they germinate, feed the seedlings with liquid fertilizer and continue up to the time that you will transplant them. One of the best ways to water your plants is to put water in the drip tray and let it soak in the seeds for about 10-15 minutes and after that, discard whatever is left in the drip tray.
4 Types of Vegetables You Can Sprout at Home
- Brussel Sprouts
Tomato plants germinate fairly quickly. Given that they are tropical perennials, they tend to die off once the season has come to an end. In order to ensure that you have an adequate supply of tomatoes all year round, sprout the seeds indoors and once they are about 4 inches tall, transplant them to a permanent place. They will need a lot of light every day in order to produce quality fruits. They use water-soluble fertilizer. Shake them physically once you see flowers start setting to pollinate them and stake them to support the top-heavy part of the plant.
Peppers thrive indoors because they are tropical perennials. Any amount of frost can cause them to shrivel. Sweet or hot peppers can be planted from seeds and require at least 10 hours of light daily. Be sure not to pour too much water on them. Whatever of these vegetables you decide to grow, following the simple guide above can help you safely sprout them at home.