Wednesday, August 24, 2011

growing from seed

After two years of amateur urban gardening, I have learned a few lessons. That said, every year there are successes and failures. My gardening technique can be summed up as the 'trial and error' sort. Plant's outgrowing the pot? Transplant! Sun seems to be stronger than I thought? Transplant? Carrots and onions seemed to be sown too close together? Thin, thin, thin them out next time. And in the meantime, how about baby carrots and spring onions instead!

One thing that seems to be getting easier and easier and is obviously far more economical is planting from seed. Here are a few things I've learned and thought I'd share with those who are interested in planting this way.

* Although I have sown straight into the garden bed with success (our giant radishes for example) I think it's easier for beginners to sow their seeds into little pots of seed trays, let them germinate and then transplant them when they're a few weeks old. This gives you better control over environment, spacing and thinning.

* See this post on how to make a newspaper pot. I love these as we always have newspaper around they are the perfect size.

* Buy a special bag of earth that's specifically made for raising seedlings. It's finer and sandier than regular soil making it easier for the germinated seeds to poke through.

* Fill each pot or seed tray 3/4 full with soil and plant the seeds.

* You can sprinkle quite a few lettuce seeds in one tray or mini pot, and up to three large seeds (like beans or watermelon) in other pots. You will eventually thin these out to give each plant all the space it needs but it's good to plant more as opposed to less because some seeds won't germinate at all and others will be weak or sick and die through the process.

* Make sure to label your little pots because when the plants are small it's hard to tell the difference between lettuce and watermelon!

* Small seeds like lettuce can be sprinkled on top of the soil, larger seeds are planted 2-3 cm deep- check the seed packet for details.

* Keep the soil very moist but not wet by using a spray bottle and spraying a few times a day.

* Keep the tray in a warm and very sunny spot.

* After only a few days many of your seedlings will start to appear.

* Plant your seedlings in your garden once they have a few leaves and are strong enough to handle a move and possible cool weather and elements outside.

* Store your seeds in a cool, dry place and stagger plant them through the season to ensure you have ongoing fresh veggies to pick

Some very talented and knowledgeable gardeners you can look to for guidance include

Tammy from Girls Wear Blue Too
Rhonda from Down To Earth
Garden Girl TV
Michelle from Hugo and Elsa

and of course Google- the answer to so many questions!

Happy Gardening and may your harvests be plentiful.

xo m.

1 comment:

Tania said...

I planted my first lot of seeds yesterday. Some in the garden and some in egg cartons in the bathroom! (we live in a frosty area). I had great success with Eden Seeds golden zucchini last year. It was the plant that just kept giving. Happy gardening to you too :)

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