How To Sow From Seed

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It’s immensely rewarding to see your own little seedlings pop up but there many are other reasons to get sowing:

  • More economical – for only a few dollars seed packets deliver 10 times or more the number of seeds than in a punnet
  • Greater variety – shops carry a narrow range of seedlings whereas with seeds you are spoilt for choice
  • Easier to be organic – few places sell organic seedlings but you can get organic seeds from stores or online
  • Better performance – some plants just don’t like being transplanted and are best grown direct from seed eg carrots, beetroot and coriander
  • Staggered sowings – sowing small amounts over several weeks allows for an extended harvest period

Getting Started
Most seed is started off in small containers with seedlings planted into their final position several weeks later. For small seeds fill containers with a seed-raising mix or make your own by sieving regular potting mix or garden soil. With larger seeds you can just use regular potting mix.

Read the seed packet to determine the correct depth to plant the seed and then water them in with a solution of eco-seaweed. Compounds in eco-seaweed assist with germination. Place the pots/punnets in a shaded protected position. The seed packet will also tell you if that seed is better sown direct into a garden bed.

For most seed it is very important that you keep the soil moist whilst they are germinating. If the soil dries out the seed will fail so check them every day. Empty strawberry punnets make the perfect mini-greenhouse for seed raising!

As seedlings emerge keep them moist and start the process of hardening off when they are a few centimetres tall. This involves gradually exposing them to brighter light so they’ll be ready to handle full sunlight in a garden bed when it comes time to planting them out.

When you do plant out your little babies water them in with eco-seaweed to reduce transplant shock. Also watch out for pests, especially snails and slugs, which can devour seedlings overnight. Keep the water up until they become established. Adding some liquid fertiliser, like eco-aminogro, will help rocket their growth along.

Easy seed to try
Edibles: basil, beetroot, cucumber, lettuce, peas, radishes, rocket, zucchini.
Flowers: alyssum, calendulas, cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflowers, zinnias.