Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Choosing To Use Starter Plugs For Plants

By Debra Baker

Growing a garden can give a person a great deal of satisfaction. Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle with getting their seeds to actually sprout. When the germination process seems to be too much trouble, one may want to consider using starter plugs for plants to make gardening much more pleasurable and successful.

A plug contains a germinated seed or a root cutting which are individually started in their own seeding tray compartment. They are grown in specialized soil pods that have a perfect balance of aeration, moisture retention, and nutrient content, for the most effective conditions for stimulated root development. They are made from a variety of materials such as peat, organic substances, mineral fibers, and cardboard.

There are advantages to starting one's garden - regardless of whether it be vegetables, flowers, succulents, or greenery - in this way. For one, they save a lot of time getting things going because the plant has already done its most crucial period of growth prior to being transplanted into its final place in a container or bed. Time is not wasted waiting on seeds that never germinate, or seedlings that are failing to thrive.

Until a plant is firmly established, pods need to be carefully handled to avoid damaging the growth. This is a tender development period so when getting ready to remove them from the seedling tray to transplant them into their maturation pot, remember to use caution and care. Upon initial removal, the root ball should be completely and gently drenched with water.

The maturation container needs to contain a peat based potting mix that has little to no soil but does use either vermiculite or perlite to help encourage proper drainage. The seedling is them placed in the center at a depth that is the same as the size of the pod so that the root system has room to expand. The mixture is then firmly packed around the stem, being careful not to be rough, and then watered well.

The plant should remain in this container for several weeks being given plenty of attention to ensure strong growth that will allow it to survive in outdoor conditions. This includes making sure it receives proper light, being turned regularly so that all leaves are able to feed from the sun. It also requires protection from extreme temperatures and needs to be fed with a water soluble fertilizer regularly.

Following several weeks being cared for in their protected environment, the plant needs to be introduced to outside conditions in a process known as hardening off. This begins with spending a couple of hours outside daily to be exposed to more realistic temperatures, lighting, and wind. If during the first week they show no negative effects, they should be left out overnight, still being watched for symptoms of shock.

Be careful to have as little contact with the stem as possible whenever putting the plant into the ground. The hole should be filled in with a high quality potting mix that will be pushed into the gaps between tendrils when watered so that the root ball will receive vital nutrients to grow. Using a good water soluble fertilizer upon planting and each two weeks thereafter, can encourage it to become firmly established.

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