Call 855-660-4261 with your lawn & garden questions every Saturday from 8:06am to 10:00am ET. Then listen to Mort answer your questions. Or email anytime at questions@themagicgarden.com
Listen to the weekly archive 24 hours a day 7 days a week on demand.
Keyword Search Results for:
Seeds

7 Found

Question: 685-412
Can I use seeds from tropical fruits to start new plants? Mary, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Some of our fruits are F1 hybrids, which have progeny that are 100% true to the parents. A second generation will only provide 50% that are true. These F2 plants may provide interesting specimens because the plants include about 25% of the recessive genes of one parent and 25% of the other parent's recessive genes. Some vegetables like corn are sterile but most fruits are not. Bananas are best reproduced by taking shoots from near the root and started in their own soil. This process is similar to division in perennials. Seedless fruits are best made by cuttings.

back to top




Question: 684-312
When is the best time to start seeds indoors?

Mort's Answer:
Our growing zones are predicated on frost dates. In zone six the average last frost is May 15th. Some warm weather vegetables are better planted about two weeks later. Indoor seeds vary for time span indoors. Most take six to eight weeks prior to setting outdoors. Large seeds like cucumbers, melons and corn can be planted in doors or out in zone six south. These are generally planted outdoors in zone 7. Cool weather vegetables like broccoli,kale, lettuce and cabbage require less time indoors (three to four weeks).

back to top




Question: 687-412
Although I start seeds indoors every year, some years I get great results and some years everything dies. Last year, I tried grow lights for the first time, but for space reasons, I had to set them up in the basement, which doesn't get above 55 degrees this time of year. Some seeds (like the tomatoes) sprouted and grew like crazy and others (like the basil) barely grew and then keeled over. Was it the temperature? (I used the same potting mix and the same type of bulbs for all the trays, which were brand-new and well-drained.) Elizabeth, Cranston, RI

Mort's Answer:
Basil is harder than tomatoes. Folklore suggests cursing as you throw the seeds over your shoulder, if you seed directly outdoors. This is not a bad idea (growing outdoors, that is) because of the warmer temps in May. I find by adding a thin layer of sand on the top before I tap the seed packet into the line that I drew in the sand, it will insure little if any dampening off. Grow lights can sometimes add a rise in temps. You can also use heating mats under the seed trays for better gemination and seedling growth.

back to top




Question: 688-412
When is the best time to start seeds?

Mort's Answer:
People in zone 6 must compute setting out seedlings around May 15. Zone 5 needs to wait another two weeks until May 30 and zone 7 can go two weeks earlier. In zone 6 where I live, I put tomatoes, squash and other melons out a little later because they love heat and water. This means that I can start these melons indoors around a month before May. Tomatoes take 6-8 weeks indoors (end of February in zone 6). Most seed packet companies include this information of the back of the package. Folks in zone 4 and further north need to look at the package for plants that will mature in 60-75 days. Cool weather plants like cabbage, kale and lettuce can be put in the ground outdoors before the last frost date.

back to top




Question: 797-3112
What are some tips for saving seeds? Bill Tulsa, OK

Mort's Answer:
Sun dry all seeds. Larger seeds can be spread over a screen. Place the dried seeds in a brown paper bag and store them in a cool dry place for the winter.

back to top




Question: 886-513
Is it true that nicking the seeds will speed them up to sprout? Mary, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Like hitting a baby's bottom, most seeds will respond to life's great adventure. It is not necessary to abuse most seeds. The change in environment is enough to get them started. Peas can be soaked or put in a slurry with a hormone. Walnuts can be cracked a bit to speed them up. Most cool weather vegetable seeds, like cabbage and lettuce, can be started indoors a month or better before transplanting them to the outdoors. Hot weather plants like tomatoes. peppers and eggplant need a couple of months before the last average frost date, which is May 15 in your zone 6. Plenty of lead-time will suffice.

back to top




Question: 1105-1414
Can we sow flower and vegetable seeds now? We still have snow on the ground. Barbara, Gardner, MA

Mort's Answer:
Folks in zone 5 have a last average frost date of May 30. With your ear to the ground and your nose to the air, you might chance an earlier time for planting outdoors. You can start most seeds inside now and be on time. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons cucumbers and other warm weather veggies need 6-8 weeks to grow indoors before transplanting. Fast growing radishes can be sowed directly outdoors at the end of May. Peas can be sowed outdoors at the end of April. They like cool starts. Most flowers can be in mid May. I would start zinnias and salvia at the end of May. This is more art than science. Last year we were able to start earlier because it was an usually warm spring. It could happen again this year.

back to top