Tackling Seeds

I recently moved into a house where I have more garden than I could have ever hoped for and as the last five years have taken their toll I’m now settling in to a more relaxed life. Our new garden allow me to do a lot of thing I’ve always wanted to and one of them is gardening. Of cause you can garden with even a garden – on a balcony in pots for example but now I’m able to grow the plants I like, grow veg and still have room for a shed & a workshop – more on that later.

I’ve had around 3 months now to sort out the land. Progress hampered in that time by the corona virus lockdown rule. It’ been a case of doing what I can and keeping an eye out on peer to peer markets for things like compost, topsoil and even tools & timber. Then the is the delay when ordering things like seeds online.

But anywhere here we are and I want to talk about seeds. Fair to say my first attempt at sowing did go great, not a total loss … the beetroot & carrots did ok but when it comes tomatoes I’ve struck out rather badly. Of the 20 or so seeds I’ve ended up with one plant that’s got to about 10 cm tall so far. Amazingly I’ve transplanted this to a bigger pot and that seems to have nudged two dormant seeds to start growing in the same pot.  So with luck I’ll have 3 plants, ideally I want a few more.

So I got to watching some videos and listening to some advice. This seed thing is not as clear cut as you might think. So I was determined to invent my own way that works best for me. First thing I picked up on is seeds don’t need any extra nutriment they have everything need to get a good start all wrapped up in their case.  Also water plays a vital part but on average seeds don’t do well when getting very wet. Then the is the growing medium – some some say fluffy some tend to say firmer but looking though all this I’ve ignored the peat, perlite etc etc and just gone for sieved soil with some sign of vegetation – I mean partials of scrounged up leaves etc etc. To this I add about 20% gravel. My idea is to try and replicate what a seed might find falling to grown naturally.

Now for the method. I fill the small pot with my mixture right the top then press it down about 5mm. I then place all the pots in a bath of water for around an hour or at least till you see the top is dark with damp. I then place the seeds on the surface and follow the instruction for depth on the packets by topping up the soil that amount. So if they recommend a depth of 2mm I put that much dry soil on, if it say sow on the surface I don’t put any soil on. Now I leave, I DO NOT WATER FROM THE TOP EVER.

I used an old expansion tank lid for this purpose. I can fill the one side with water, put the pots in then lift them out to drain in the other side. If the later the seedlings show they need water I can simply dip the whole 40 little pot in for an hour. Put the idea is they won’t. My theory is as they crack open the seed they’ll dive down for the water and as the pots dry from the top down they plants will need to produce deeper rots to get to the water. This is the natural process.

So I did this method for the first time 2 days ago with mixed seeds of different sort from veg to flowers. Already Radish, Kale & Lettuce have started to sprout. It’s been very hot here so I’ll need to keep an eye on the pots for moisture but I don’t want to water them again unless I have to. I think watering is the key thing at this stage, I think I’ve been over doing it and doing it wrong. We’ll see, I’ll report back in a week or so.

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