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How to promote seed germination for fall gardens

Swiss chard seedlings.Now you know what you're going to plant and when to plant it, but there are still a few tricks to having a successful fall garden.  The biggest problem with planting fall vegetables is that you're putting seeds of cool-weather crops in the ground during the heat of summer.  In many cases, the soil may be too dry for the seeds to germinate.

Here are my top tips for good summer germination:

  • If your soil is really dry, water the area a day or two before planting.  Better yet, plan your planting for the day before a forecast storm.
  • Plant your seeds deeper than you would have in the spring --- often, there's moisture about half an inch below the surface.
  • Plant three to five seeds in each location rather than just one.  I did this with the broccoli seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago and only had one seed germinate in each spot.  If too many seeds come up, you can always weed down to one plant per location, or transplant to fill in gaps.
  • Keep an eye on your tender seedlings for the first month or so, making sure they get an inch of water per week.



This post is part of our Planning Your Fall Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





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