Friday, May 19, 2017

When to Water Seedlings or Transplants

Whenever you transplant seedlings or sow seeds to your garden the care directions are to water well and to not let the soil dry out. Today I was talking to a fellow gardener and she told me that she followed the directions for sowing seeds to an outdoor garden but the seedlings died quickly. She thought perhaps it was poor quality seeds. Know that her seedlings dying had nothing to do with the soil, the seeds but instead it had to do with the watering of the plants. My friend did not water the seedlings and the soil dried out.

Last week I planted 500 bee and butterfly flowers. I sowed the seeds into a bed of moisture control potting soil, then covered this flower garden with a light layer of mulch. I watered well after I planted them then continued to water the seedlings throughout the day. I watered the newly planted seeds four times daily. The soil never dried out and withing 3 days the seedlings appeared with healthy leaves.
Beebalm seedlings with a light layer of mulch around the plant but not next to the stem. 

How much water is too much? Know that when you sow your seeds that these seeds are covered with one-fourth of an inch of soil. That soil can dry out quickly and dry soil will cause the seedling stress. The light layer of mulch does help, but you must put it on thinly so not to hinder the seedling from growing. But you must water your seedlings and water them often.
My friend watered her seedlings in the morning. The soil had dried out in a few hours, then when the sun came out and the day was hot the seedlings dried out and the plants died.
If you cannot water your seedlings four times a day then I would recommend that you set up a soaking hose and turn it on for a slow drip. Set the timer to turn the hose on and off in the heat of the day. You will need to water your seedlings or transplants in the morning before work or other activities. Then check the soil for dryness when you get home from work and water if needed. 

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