Below are instructions for your plants following germination. Until the plants germinate (sprouting of the seed), follow the instructions on your handout provided. Once germination occurs, follow the below guidance.
- Once germinated, water one to two times per day.
- Basil can be transferred to a larger pot once plant is 4 – 6″ tall.
- Before transferring to a new pot, be sure to pinch out the growth tips just above the second set of leaves. This encourages branching and bushy growth.
- The pot that you started your seed in is made of biodegradable peat fiber and can be directly planted into a new pot or outdoors in your vegetable bed. If planting outdoors, temperatures need to be consistently above 50 degrees. Basil prefers warmer temperatures and thrives at 70 – 90 degrees.
- Before transferring to a new pot, cut an X in the bottom of the pot to allow easier transplanting of the roots.
- Basil takes 60 – 69 days to reach maturity
- Your plant needs at least 8 hours of full sun each day. But Genovese basil does not like much more sun than this, so choose a spot where there is some shade as well.
- To keep the plants producing tasty leaves, pinch out the edible flower buds as they appear. Be sure to cut or pinch the stem below the buds, otherwise, new ones will appear quickly.
- Harvest frequently to ensure continued bushy growth. Always cut the topmost leaves off of the plant to encourage growth throughout the rest of the plant and reduce the risk of early flowering
- Keep the soil lightly moist, but not wet
- Basil is an annual plant and you will get the best flavor if you replace your plants each year
- Once germinated, caring for your Zinnia is relatively easy. They are low-maintenance flowers that are also rather drought-resistant.
- The pot that you started your seed in is made of biodegradable peat fiber and can be directly planted into a new pot. DO NOT DISTURB ROOTS when planting in a new pot. They do not like to be transplanted so this will ensure you don’t damage the flower root when placing it in a new pot. When choosing a new pot, choose one that has several holes in the bottom and that can be watered from the bottom.
- Choose a location that gets full sun 6 – 8 hours a day.
- Zinnias typically take 60 to 70 days to flower.
- Water your Zinnia plant from the bottom in the early morning, never late in the day. This allows the foliage and flowers ample time to dry before nightfall.
- Keep the soil moist, but not too wet. Water whenever the first inch or so of the soil has dried out.
- After the zinnia flowers, cut off the old flower (a process called “deadheading”) to encourage more flowers to form.
- Zinnias are annuals and will germinate, bloom, set seed, and die in a single year. Potted indoor plants will last a few months, but don’t expect them to last indefinitely.
- Once established, water deeply but less frequently, allowing the topsoil to dry between waterings.
- Water at the base of the plant to avoid wetting the leaves.
- Apply a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer when the plants are about 6 inches tall.
- Avoid excessive nitrogen as it can lead to taller plants with weaker stems.
- Remove dead or faded flowers (deadheading) to encourage continuous blooming and prevent seed formation if not desired.
- Leave some flowers on the plant if you want to harvest seeds.
- Harvesting Seeds:
- Allow the sunflower heads to mature on the plant until the back of the flower head turns yellow and the seeds are plump.
- Cut the flower heads and hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area to allow the seeds to fully dry.
- Rub or thresh the seeds from the flower head and store in a cool, dry place.
- Place your pot in a warm, sunny location
- You may consider keeping a cloche (mason jars work well, too) to keep the soil hot and moist until the seed germinates
- The soil should be kept consistently moist, but not water logged
- Once the trees (really saplings) are about 8″ tall, the are ready to be planted outside or in a larger pot.
- The tree will take about a decade to be a full size Christmas Tree if cared for properly. But many times people will pot them and care for them indoors or in a sun room throughout the years.