So you are ready to plant a garden, you have your list of vegetables you want to plant and you are about to head off to buy your plants.
Don’t buy seedlings that will die in your garden, you want to pick the healthiest, plants to produce the most right?
Remember these 5 tips to make sure your seedlings don’t die!
1. Find a Good Store
You are looking for a large selection, especially organically grown plant starts (aka seedlings), the staff should be super helpful and know what they are talking about, you should be able to hear the passion for gardening, not like you are bothering them.
2. Read Labels
You want to read the labels of the different variety of tomatoes, kale, etc. The label is going to tell you everything you need to know about the plant, the size of the full grown plant, which temperature zone it wants to live in, and how much sun it needs. If you know you need a tiny tomato plant you want to look for “dwarf” variety. If you are planting in containers look for the “patio” variety.
3. Know Your Roots
Money Saving Tip! Don’t buy plant starts for root vegetables, except onions. They don’t love to be transplanted, and they are so much cheaper to buy from seeds. Root crops will actually grow super easy from seeds, so save your money. Same goes from peas and beans.
4. Pick The Healthy Ones
Be picky. You want to buy the strong, stocky plants that are reaching to the sky. Not the tall skinny plants, or the plants that have a tangled mess of seedlings. If you see broccoli or cauliflower with little florets starting to pop up, put it down, do not buy them. This little plant is so stressed out, it thinks death is coming, and is trying to make seeds while it still has a chance to have babies.
5. Buy The Biggest Container Plants You Can Afford
Lets say you need three tomato plants, spend the extra money and buy three tomatoes in a large container that are bigger, farther along, and closer to being able to eat. It will save you time, your garden will start producing faster, and the plant will not die. Keep in mind that weak seedlings shouldn’t be saved, buy the strong healthy plants, and make sure there are some roots coming out of the bottom, but not root bound. You can tell a plant is root bound when you take it out it’s container and it’s super hard to get it out, the whole container is full of roots, and there is very little soil left. Put this plant back and choose again my friend.
Here is a Yellow Pear Tomato plant I recently bought.
You can see it is stocky and reaching to the sky, there are lots of roots, but it is NOT root bound. I went to the farmers market and asked a lot of questions, and this plant is exactly what I needed. It will produce small tomatoes, which is perfect because we have a small growing season in Canada, for tomatoes, and they will ripen quickly. It produces yellow pear shaped tomatoes (shocking right) which I wanted to jazz up my balcony, and I can grow it in my large container. I choose this one because the other plants were not as large and in smaller containers, and I just needed one.
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