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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
March 17, 2011     Tri-County News
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March 17, 2011

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Thursday, March 17,2011  A Tri-Coun News, Kimball, MN Fr, Starting seeds indoors By lanelle Daberkow, O of M Extension Starting garden flower and vegetable plants in the home can provide the home gardener with enjoyment as well as some definite advantages. One of the greatest of these advantages is that it allows the gardener to start varieties of vegetable and flowers that are not readily available from local bed- ding plant sources. In addition, it can save the gardener money, par- ticularly if large numbers of trans- plants are needed. Before deciding to start seeds at home, it is necessary to look at the conditions necessary to grow healthy transplants. To grow good transplants, you must be able to provide proper levels of light, temperature and humidity. The greatest problem encountered is the lack of sufficient light. Unless you are fortunate enough to own a greenhouse, you will need to use supplemental light. The least expensive way to supply light is by using fluorescent lights. An inex- pensive shop light set-up with 40 watt cool white tubes will do nicely. The light source should be movable so that it can be kept at about 4" above the seedlings and should be left on 12-14 hours per day. It is wise to have a plan for what seeds you will be purchas- ing and planting to avoid impulse purchases later. It is important to select good quality seed because the cost of seed is small in com- parison to the investment of land, labor and time during the growing season. Look for seeds with dis- ease resistance, and consider days to harvest as we have a relatively short growing season in Minne- sota. Try something new each year, but grow your old stand- bys so you can make some perfor- mance comparisons. The starting medium should be loose, well-aerated, well-drained and sterile. Consider using one of the many soilless products avail- able on the market, these mix- tures are sterile and drain well. If you prefer to make your own start- ing medium, a good soil mixture can be prepared by using a 1-1-1 mixture of good garden loam, peat moss and builder's sand. To guard against fungus diseases like "damping off" and competition from weed seeds, the garden soil should be pasteurized. Select a container in which to start seedlings that is clean, sturdy, fits into the space avail- able, and holds sufficient start- ing medium for good root devel- opment. Pots, trays and flats from previous years can be reused if they are thoroughly cleaned and then sterilized with a solution of nine parts water and one part household bleach. When planting the seeds, fill the container with the starting medium and then use a small block of wood or other flat surface to push the medium down so that it is about one-half inch below the rim. Broadcast the seeds thinly on the surface or plant them in rows. Cover the seed by sifting a layer of the planting medium, finely milled peat moss or vermiculite on the surface. A rule of thumb is to cover the seeds to a depth of three times their diameter. Some very small seeds, like petunias and impatiens, should not be cov- ered at all, but pressed into the medium. Read the instructions on the packet carefully, as some seeds have different requirements. After sowing the seeds, bottom water the container or spray with a very fine mist. Cover the con- tainer with a plastic dome or sheet of polyethylene plastic and place it in a warm location with a constant temperature of 60-75 degrees F. Providing a consistent heat source from underneath can also be ben- eficial to seedlings. Seeds will germinate sooner and produce healthier roots if the soil temper- ature is warm. As soon as you see emerging plants, loosen the plas- tic cover and place the containers in bright light. Keep the soil moist as the seedlings must not dry out, but use care so that the planting medium does not become water- logged. When the second pair of leaves appear, transplant the seedlings into peat pots or other individual containers. Seedlings do not iaeed fertilizer until they have several sets of true leaves. Fertilize with a diluted fertilizer solution only once a week. Do not start your seeds too early! Best results are obtained when the transplants are relatively small, stocky plants that have five to seven leaves. Refer to the seed packet for starting dates for vege- tables and flowering annuals. Rec- ommended seeds to start in early March include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, petunias, snapdrag- ons, and ageratum. Peppers can be started in mid-March along with cleome, annual phlox, straw- flower and sweet alyssum. Toma- toes can be started in the first week of April along with amaran- thus, bachelor buttons, and morn- ing glory. Mid-April is the time to start cosmos, sweet peas, and zin- nias. Early-mid-May is the time needed to harden off seedlings. The time required to grow a trans- plant is usually given on the seed packet in weeks from the date to plant them outdoors, which for warm season plants is Memorial Day in central Minnesota. Select your seeds, gather the needed materials, and when the time is right, begin having some fun starting seeds indoors. For more suggestions on starting seeds indoors, please visit the Uni- versity of Minnesota Extension website at: www.extension.umn. edu, and search "Starting Seeds Indoors." to give time to their neighbors in need. Call Christa at (320) 685-3693 to get involved today. Looking for a great way to give back in your community? Rural Stearns Faith in Action is  RURAL looking for volunteers willing U STEARNS FAITH IN ACTION tin ATIO# I'lll, I Page 21 IHHH .................... Kimball Kruisers 4-H Club Report This past Sunday, March 6, the Kimball Kruisers had their monthly meeting. Thank you to Brian Mies, DNR, for coming and sharing with us about what his job entails and showing us various animal skins. Saturday, March 12,is the pick- up and delivery date for the 4-H fruit-basket fundraiser. If you ordered fruit, expect it to be deliv- ered soon. Congratulations Kim- ball Kruisers on getting first place in Share-the-fun. The Kimball Kruisers performed their skit enti- tled "Alice in 4-H Land," compet- ing against other 4-H groups from Meeker County. March 21, will be the Senior Dining project. It will be a Western theme. We will be having a booth at the Business Expo Saturday, March 26, in the Kimball Area High School. Stop by the booth to learn more about the Kimball Kruisers 4-H club. April 17, (Palm Sunday) will be at the Fireman's Breakfast. 4-Hers will assist at the break- fast again this year. Hope you can make it to support the Kimball Brian Mies from the DNR attended the Kimball Kruisers 4-H meeting, and is showing a bear skin to the club. He shared with the club what his job is all about. Submitted photo. Firefighters. Happy St. Patrick's Club Reporter, Day! Mitchell Hurrle 00ret-Go00r00l;00 NEW8 l