Hello and welcome to my new blog!
For my first entry I’d like to share with you some photos and tips on how I sow seeds, which I do quite a lot of in March! I’ve got a range of module tray sizes I generally sow into, some of which I picked up from garden centres for free, so it’s always worth phoning up and asking a few local ones if they’ve got any they’re happy to part with. I use trays with between 84-216 individual plugs. This means I don’t have to prick out and pot on seedlings and can pop them out nice and easy when the plants are ready for planting.
I currently use green waste compost from brier hills recycling over in Hatfield which is pre-sieved of all the large woody bits. This has the only dis-advantage of drying out faster than peat based media so requires more regular watering, it is however ‘greener’ as the co2 released from peat extraction can be very high.
Fill the trays and water first making sure it’s wet but not saturated as the seed can rot if water is standing in the media. I then sow 1 seed per module for things like cabbage, kale, broccoli and lettuce. Beets, spinach, salad leaves, and chard all get 2-3 per module with the spring onions I aim for 3-6. Larger seeds I press down into the media with my fingers a bit to ensure good contact with the wet compost, which helps even germination. I use my finger and thumb to pick up seed from a plastic tub, and with a small rolling side-ways movement drop the seed onto the modules, (takes practise to get the right amount in every time but I get alot of it!).
A general rule of thumb is to cover the seed with the same amount of compost as it’s thickness. So with lettuce seed an extremely thin covering, spinach 2-4mm etc.. Use an old sieve to help get it right as too much covering means the seeds can’t reach the light and expend all their energy and die, too little, and it can dry out on a sunny day after just germinating. Watering is key to good germination, put you finger on the compost- it should be moist but not come away with excess moisture. Some weeks when overcast you may need to not water at all, if it’s very sunny maybe a quick going over with the rose headed watering can every day is whats called for. It all depends on the type of compost you use, so pay close attention is the best advice I can really give. Happy seed sowing! Nick
Lettuce seedlings on left and right sown on the 1st and 22nd of Febuary