Fall Seed Starting—Enlist the Help of a Board!

Now is the time to plant your fall vegetable crops.  Seeds of lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, beets, kale, and radishes are some of the options.  With daytime temperatures in the 80’s, however, it can be tough keeping the seeds evenly moist so they can germinate.  A simple and low-cost way to remedy this is with an old board.

First, lay out your row and plant your seeds as usual.  Moisten the soil being careful not to dislodge the seeds.  Then place an old board or piece of plywood over the row.  The wood helps to trap moisture in the soil and keeps the seeds cool, ensuring better germination.

Check the row daily and once you see the first seedlings beginning to emerge, prop up each end of the board.  Use another board or a brick to do the propping. This allows room to stretch for the newly emerged seedlings, while giving more time for the slow-poke seeds to stay moist as they catch up.

Continue to check your seedlings daily and once there is a good stand, remove the board permanently. Simple. Successful.  You’re welcome!

Board for seed starting-propping

Kathleen Cue
Horticulture Program Coordinator at Nebraska Extension
Kathleen serves as a Horticulture Program Coordinator. She educates people on making smart plant choices to reduce use of fertilizers and pesticides in their landscape which has a positive impact on air, water, soil and environmental quality, property values and people’s pocketbooks. She provides leadership and coordination of the NE Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties Master Gardener volunteer programs: the Master Gardener Speakers Bureau, and "Ask the Master Gardener" Consultations.

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