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Friday, April 29, 2011

Easier Way to Start Grow Pots

Photo: Successfully Sprouted Basil Seeds in Smith & Hawken Grow Pot

I finally got around to trying the Smith & Hawken Basil Grow Pot that I purchased last December.  The Smith & Hawken basil grow kit comes with a pretty glazed planter, soil and 3 different seed packets (i.e., Sweet Basil, Cinnamon Basil and Opal Basil).

The Smith & Hawken Planting Instructions: 
Remove the seeds and soil bag from the container.  Open the soil bag and pour the soil into the container.  Add lukewarm water to moisten.  Open the seed packets over a paper towel so that the seeds do not get misplaced.  Sprinkle seeds evenly on the soil, with one variety per section.  Press seeds gently into the soil no more than 1/4"deep.  Place pot in a sunny location.  Continue to keep the soil slightly moist by misting the soil until the seeds sprout.  As the plants grow,  gently water whenever the soil feels dry to touch.  Do not overwater, as this will cause roots to rot.  Rotate the planter daily so that each side receives equal sunlight.    

Apt Garden Tips:
  1. Plant Identification.  I divided the soil in thirds, and planted the seeds in alphabetical order (i.e., Cinnamon, Opal and Sweet) so that I will be able to easily identify the plants after they have sprouted.  This works because I can easily identify the front from the back by the design on the planter.  Alternatively, you can use plant markers.       
  2. Sprinkling Seeds.  Hold the seed packet upright and tap the top of the seed packet a few times so that all of the seeds settle to the bottom.  Then snip a small corner off the packet.  Sprinkle the seeds over the soil by turning the packet to the side and gently tapping the other end of the packet so that the seeds come out a little at a time.  This gives you more control over where you want to plant your seeds.  The seed packets come with more than enough seeds.  In fact, I did not plant them all.  I saved some for my outdoor garden.  
  3. Germinating Seeds. Instead of constantly misting the soil to keep the soil moist, just wrap a plastic shopping bag around the planter and tie the handles on the side to seal it.  Then place the whole thing on a sunny windowsill and forget about it for a few days.  The plastic bag will trap most of the moisture.  As the sun warms the soil, the water will evaporate, hit the plastic ceiling, and then "rain" down on the soil again.  After the seeds have sprouted, remove the plastic bag and then water the plants whenever the soil feels dry to touch.          

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