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Growing Vegetables From Seed

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
A punnet of six seedlings from the garden centre costs around the same as a packet of seeds which will, depending on the type of plant, have over 100 seeds in it. You do the math’s on which is more cost effective!

There is something very satisfying with raising vegetables from seeds. Seed raising will open up a huge world of hard to find, heirloom varieties for you. These old fashioned types are the one’s our grandmothers may have grown and not only have great names like Black Krim and Purple King but also have that great old fashioned taste.

Raise seeds in specially prepared seed raising mix from the garden centre or make your own. My recipe is one third course river sand, one third compost and one third vermicasts from your worm farm.

Fill container almost to the top with the mixture, press down lightly and water. A general rule of thumb is to plant seed as deep as it is large. Beans can be planted 3cm deep but lettuce seed, which is really fine, is best scattered on top of soil and then just pressed down and watered. Even if you think you will remember always label seeds so you know what they are in a months time.

Water daily with a mist sprayer, not a hose as you will blast the seeds out of their pot. Don’t let mixture dry out. During the summer provide shade for the seedlings but in the cooler months raise the seeds in a cold frame, window sill or mini glasshouse. Most seeds require a soil temperature of 15 degrees Celsius to germinate. Eggplants, tomatoes and capsicum require temperatures at a steady 20 degrees.

Reuse punnets from garden centres or make your own out of takeaway coffee cups, yoghurt containers, cut milk bottle bases or ice cream containers. Just make sure you drill some drainage holes into the bottom of every container.

Many seedlings don’t like root disturbance when they are planted out. To avoid this make individual planters from empty toilet rolls or newspaper wrapped around a small bottle. When the seedlings are around 15cm they are big enough to plant out into the garden. Seedlings in the paper pots or toilet rolls can be planted directly into the soil within the paper/cardboard planter. It will rot down and the roots will not be disturbed. Just make sure all the cardboard/paper is below the soil line, so it rots.


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