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Author Topic: Sowing Seeds  (Read 123 times)

Poppa Tommo

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Sowing Seeds
« on: March 27, 2014, 07:16:43 AM »

I know that things seem to be obvious when you think about sowing seeds - get a seed tray, get some compost, get some seeds and put it all together.

Well it can be like that but this is probably the most vital stage in our quest for healthy plants and it is easy to get it wrong. Not all seeds, and definitely not all composts are the same.

Getting the Compost Right

Apart from the big seeds such as beans and peas, most of our seeds are very small and, if you are anything like me, you will always sow more than you need, you know, just in case some don't work. This probably means that you sow a potful or a tray full. If this is the case then we have to think ahead to the time when we have 'prick out' and un-tangle the delicate little roots when potting on.

So, preparing the compost so that it is easy to pull apart whilst inflicting as little damage as possible on the roots is essential.

Also, it is key to remember that each seed, however tiny, is rather like an egg in that it contains all the nutrients that the baby plant needs for the first few days of life and doesn't need an over-rich compost; in fact sometimes you can kill a seedling very easily by sowing you seed in compost designed for mature plants.

I blend and sift my compost to try to get the best start for my seeds.

Sifting using a good quality garden sieve (they used to be called riddles in the olden days) gets rid of those big lumps of peaty stuff that roots get entangled in and break when you are trying to separate them. I use two grades: a medium and a fine. Shown below if I can get some pictures on here!

The two compost I blend are a propriety John Inness Seed compost and a good quality general purpose (I prefer Hortons General Purpose Compost). I sift both composts at about 60% Hortons to 40% John Inness. You might think that as the John Inness is already a 'seed' compost that it doesn't need anything added, well that is not the case. John Inness is a soil based compost that needs blending because it doesn't retain water very well at all, you seeds will simply dry out.

Having sifted the two mix them thoroughly and you should get a nice fluffy'ish mixture with fine sandy grains running through it. I usually do a batch of this seed compost mixture to use over the course of a week or so. I also made a really effective sifting and potting bench out of a re-cycled large dog basket, a quid from the Exeter Car Boot!

So there you have it, the first stage: a good quality blended seed compost medium that will wrap around the seeds keeping them moist for germination and yet easy enough to separate when pricking out...now to try and get some pictures up before going on to the sowing the seeds part.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 07:56:11 AM by Robw349 »
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The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing

Poppa Tommo

  • Senior Multi Plot Cultivator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Gender: Male
  • Posts: 2030
  • Location: Sunny Devon
  • Username: Robw349
  • 'Gardener' the definition of 'Optimist'
Re: Sowing Seeds
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 08:02:48 AM »

Just noticed that you can't add pictures in edit mode only in create mode so here are a couple of pictures: first the two riddles I use and also the compost bench dog basket. Then the lumpy stuff left after riddling the general purpose and seed compost.
 You can see how much debris there is. I save this in another bag and use it when potting up big stuff or hanging baskets.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 08:04:47 AM by Robw349 »
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