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5 Secret Tips For Strong, Healthy Seedlings

07th April 2017

gardening, grow your own, horticulture, plants, seedlings,
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With the lighter evenings and warmer weather your seedlings will be kicking their growth spurts up a gear or two at this time of the year. It’s vitally important to make sure that your young crops have the best start in life. Check out these secret tips to maximise your chances of success.

1. Avoid watering overhead – Plants soak up water from their roots, so there is no need to splash droplets over their leaves. Doing so can result in scorched foliage and even the spread of fungal diseases. Protect your young crops by aiming the flow of liquid at the soil surrounding the stem

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2. Give them a stroke – If you're growing your edibles under cover it's likely that they haven't had a chance to move in a gentle breeze. While it may be a concern that windy conditions could damage your crops, this slight movement actually helps stems to strengthen and roots to anchor to the soil, resulting in healthier seedlings. You can mimic this for indoor specimens by slowly brushing your hand over the leaves for a few seconds each day.

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3. Make good use of the sunshine – Seedlings flourish on sunny days, and in the UK these rays are not always consistent due to unpredictable weather. Take advantage of bright conditions by using reflectors. Simply wrap a layer of foil over a piece of cardboard allowing the shiny side to face outward and place this next to your plants in the direction of the sun. This creation will allow the light to bounce back at your edibles and maximise its benefits.

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4. Provide consistent conditions – Sunny windowsills and greenhouses are ideal for young plants during spring days, but at night temperatures can plummet. A chilly environment can seriously affect the growth of your edibles, so it's important to control conditions accordingly. Using a greenhouse heater or moving pots and trays further indoors when the sun goes down will help to keep them cosy.

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5. Keep an eye out for aphids – It may be early in the season, but the young sappy growth that is produced by seedlings is irresistible to aphids. This pest is able to overwinter in greenhouses and get to work earlier than usual if the weather is mild. While more mature plants will usually be able to shake off the damage caused by an infestation, seedlings may succumb to an attack, resulting in disaster. Be sure to keep an eye on the underside of leaves for these tiny bugs which can be black, green white or yellow in colour and squash them on sight.

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