Fig. 7––A paper band folded into the form of a berry
box, without bottom, is a good holder for indoor seed planting. The picture
shows how these are placed side by side in a flat box.
To test plant 25 to 50 seed of each variety in
an indoor seed box, or place between moist blotters or cloth between two
plates (Fig. 5.) Germination should take place within 2 to 8 days and the
number of seedlings which grow will show the percentage of germination.
The seedlings should be kept for planting to prevent
The standard adopted by the United States Department of
Agriculture for seed germination is as follows:
Should Produce 60 to
80 per cent:
Celery, Parsley, Salsify, Eggplant, Parsnip.
Should Produce 80 to 85 per cent:
Asparagus, Okra, Spinach, Carrot, Onion, Cauliflower, Pepper.
Should Produce 85 to 90 per cent:
Corn (sweet), Lettuce, Squash, Cress, Melon, Tomato,
Should Produce 90 to 95 per cent:
Bean, Mustard, Turnip, Cabbage, Pea, Radish.
Earlier crops can be secured by planting certain
seed indoors and setting the young plants out in the open garden after the
weather becomes warm. This may be done with tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce,
cauliflower, peppers, and eggplant.
Any wooden box, shallow and wide, will make an indoor
garden. Put 1 inch of gravel or cinders in the bottom for drainage, and fill
to the top with good soil. Rows of plants may be two inches apart.
Fig. 9––Seed box for starting plants indoors.
Plant 8 or 10 seed to the inch, keep the soil damp,
and set the box in a window. When the plants are an inch high transplant
them to other seed boxes, spacing plants 2 inches apart. This insures sturdy
plants with good root systems.
Before transplanting the plants to the garden
set the box outdoors, in mild weather, to harden the plants. Set out each
plant with a ball of the box dirt sticking to the roots. Thorough watering
several hours before transplanting causes the earth to stick as required.
If the root system is broken in the removal trim away
some of the larger leaves of the plants. In moist ground open a hole with
trowel or dibble. Make the hole larger than is needed to hold the roots and
a little deeper than the roots grew. Place roots in hole, and with the
hands, pack the soil firmly around the plant. In dry soil pour a pint of
water into each hole before inserting plant. Rake some dry earth about the
surface surrounding each plant to hold the moisture.
Transplanted plants cannot stand strong sunshine at
first and cloudy days or late afternoon are preferable for transplanting. In
bright weather place newspapers over them for a day or two, making tents of
the papers, in the shape of an inverted V.
A homemade paper pot, a round, bottomless paper band or
a berry box, filled with soil should be used to produce plants for a hill of
cucumbers, squash, melons or other "vining" plants which are started
indoors, as these do not stand transplanting if the roots are disturbed. The
pot or other holder may be set into the ground without disturbing the roots.
Tomatoes, eggplants and beans may also be started in this way.
Fig. 8––Transplanting tomato plant from post to garden.