Stock (Matthiola incana) is one of the most popular cut flowers to grow in home gardens because to its fragrant blossoms that have a hint of cinnamon and its low level of care requirements. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, stock can survive as a short-lived perennial or biennial in the plant hardiness zones 7 to 10 of the United States Department of Agriculture. However, stock is typically grown as an annual in most areas, which means that new plants are started from seed each year. The method of growing stocks from seed is a straightforward one, and the seeds themselves may be begun either indoors or outside, depending on the environment of the place.
Containers for planting sold in packs of six!!-!! Mixture for germinating seeds
Wrapping material made of plastic!!-!! pH metre
To give seedlings a head start before they are transplanted, stock seeds should be sown inside in colder areas long before the final spring frost in order to give the seedlings a head start. Beginning seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost is recommended by the Missouri Botanical Garden, while starting seeds eight to ten weeks before transplanting them into the garden is recommended by the Mississippi State University Extension. Beginning with stock seeds, fill six-pack containers with wet seed-starting mix and start them off. Because exposure to light is necessary for successful germination of stock seeds, just push two seeds onto the top of the soil in each pot, but do not cover them with more dirt. Instead, keep the pots wet by covering them with a layer of plastic wrap that is not tightly sealed.
Stock seeds germinate in seven to 14 days when soil temperatures maintain between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. After the seeds have germinated, you should thin out the seedlings and only maintain the strongest seedling in each container. In order to avoid legginess, the seedlings should be grown in very light circumstances. Because stock seedlings are particularly vulnerable to powdery mildew, you should let the top layer of soil to get completely dry in between waterings. Before you plant them, you should harden off the seedlings by moving them outside to a protected area and leaving them there for a few days. This will get them ready for the typical circumstances outside.
Starting Stock Seedlings Indoors
Stock produces the most beautiful blooms when planted in full sun; however, since the plants are sensitive to heat, they need to be cultivated in warmer areas with some light shade during the middle of the day. Pick a spot that gets at least a couple hours of direct sunlight in the early morning and late afternoon. Even though livestock must have enough drainage to thrive, the ideal soil for them is one that is rich in humus and maintains a stable moisture level. It is best to steer clear of growing stock in poor soil or in clay, since these environments do not provide the appropriate drainage for their delicate roots. To increase the nutrient content and moisture balance of soil that is considered to be average, a layer of high-quality compost that is between two and three inches thick should be worked into the soil.
According to the recommendations of the Cooperative Extension Service at North Carolina State University, the recommended distance between stock plants may range from less than one foot to as much as three feet, depending on the size of the cultivar when it is fully grown. Transplant the seedlings when it is still chilly in the morning or evening, and be sure to give them plenty of water. It is important to water the stock seedlings often during the first week or two after transplanting them, but you should also allow the soil to dry out little on the top. This will help avoid root issues.
Transplanting Stock Seedlings
After the final frost of spring, it is possible to germinate stock seeds outside in the garden. Make sure the soil in the bed has plenty of humus and is able to drain quickly by placing it in a sunny or partially shaded area of the garden. Turning the soil and adding compost will increase the nutrient density and the capacity of the bed to hold onto moisture. On a soil pH metre, the optimal pH range for the soil is between 7.0 and 7.5, which corresponds to a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. When correcting acidic soil with garden lime, be sure to follow the directions that come with the pH metre or the amendment that is recommended for the particular pH level of your soil.
Sprinkle the stock seeds over the top of the soil where they will grow. While the seeds are in the process of germinating, you should mist them twice a day. After seven to fourteen days, the seeds will begin to sprout, at which time they need to be spaced out so that there is only one per six inches. In order to extend the flowering season for longer, sow the seeds in many separate waves about once every two weeks in regions that experience high summer temperatures.
Starting Stock Seedlings Outdoors
Stock seeds can be started outdoors in the garden after the last spring frost. Prepare a bed in a sunny or lightly shaded area of the garden with fast-draining, humus-rich soil. Till the bed and incorporate compost to improve the nutrient content and moisture retention. The soil should have a neutral or slightly alkaline pH, ideally about 7.0 to 7.5 on a soil pH meter. Incorporate garden lime to correct acidic soil, following the instructions with the pH meter or the amendment for the specific pH level of your soil.
Sow the stock seeds on the surface of the soil. Mist them twice daily to keep them moist while they germinate. The seeds will sprout in seven to 14 days, at which point they should be thinned to one every six inches. Sow the seeds in successive waves every two weeks in areas with hot summer weather to prolong the blooming season.