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Seed Starting Tips

Seed Germination Basics

Seed Germination Basics

Plant seeds are an incredible piece of natural technology. Seeds possess varying degrees of dormancy which allow them to preserve themselves through unsuitable conditions and then grow when conditions are favorable. Some seeds have stronger dormancy than others that can occur for a variety of reasons, from a thick seat coat(Snake Gourd, Bitter gourd), to germination inhibiting compounds located within or around the seed(Lotus), and other inhibitory methods. Some seeds require exposure to cold to, or even urine(Urea) in some cases to germinate! Many of these requirements tend to coincide with a natural symbiotic relationship with an animal that naturally occurs in their habitat. For example, animals chew on thick coated seeds(mechanical scarification) or stomach acids eat away at some seed coats(chemical scarification). In these cases, it is often necessary to mimic these scarification methods to germination these types of seeds.

We highly recommend starting a majority of our varieties indoors to ensure a successful growing season. It is important to remember that India has a much longer growing season than 90% of the United States. While we select our varieties to be best suited for growing outside of India, starting them indoors will give them the head start they need to ensure a long fruitful harvest. Starting seeds indoors will also allow you to provide more consistent environmental conditions to ensure strong germination. 

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Common Pitfalls to avoid

Common Pitfalls to avoid

Gardening at its heart is mans attempt to control nature. It is easy to forget that there are laws of nature at play beyond the naked eye that can end your gardening season before it starts. Even the most experienced gardener can be hit with fungal growth, or have plants go into environmental shock. Through our years of talking to our gardening community, we have noted some common mistakes in hopes to help ensure your growing season is fruitful. While you may not be able to control for every variable, the below tips should help avoid heartbreaking setbacks and help you achieve more consistent results. 
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When to start your seedlings

When to start your seedlings

When is the best time to start our seeds?

In North America, it is best to start certain seeds 6-8 weeks before transplanting them to their permanent locations in the garden.  These seeds include eggplants, hot and sweet peppers, gourds, tulsi, and tomatoes among others.  When starting seeds indoors, place the seedlings directly under intense grow lights.  The lights should be bright but cool (fluorescent lamps). The baby plants should be moved outdoors gradually and well after the last spring frost.  Initially move them to a shaded part of your garden or on your deck.  Only after the seedlings have acclimated to the outside conditions should they be moved into the direct sunlight of your garden.

For other varieties it is best to plant directly in the garden. Peas and spinach can be planted in very early spring. Radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, coriander and carrots can be planted next in early spring.  Finally beans, corn, okra, gongura, Malabar spinach, melons, herbs, cucumbers, and squash should be planted well after the last spring frost.

Crops such as bush beans,  may be planted as late as mid to late summer.

Cabbage, cauliflower and spinach can be planted twice, once in the spring and once again as a fall crop (started in late summer)

The following is a guide for the first and last frost dates in the United States (courtesy of the Old Farmers Almanac).  Use it only as a guide:

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