The Art of Raising Small Seeds

New and less experienced gardeners encounter problems raising the smaller seeds. The following information will help and give more confidence to gardeners. Much more attention to detail needs to be carried out when sowing small seeds to achieve good results.

Factors Affecting Seed Germination:

* Temperature, light, soil moisture
* Poor Seed Quality
* Suitable Seed Raising Mix
* Seed Covering Depth
* Raise Seed in a Protected Area

Protect Seeds From:

* Adverse weather
* High Temperatures
* Heavy Rain
* Ants
* Rodents, Snails & Slugs

Seed Raising Mix Example:

* 60% Treated Hardwood Sawdust
* 30% Crusher Dust
* 10% Vermiculite
* Mix thoroughly
* For each bucket of the above mix add 1 handful of Organic Fertilizer & 1 handful of Lime or Dolomite.

To Treat Sawdust:

* 1 Wheel Barrow
* ½ Bucket of Organic Fertilizer (eg: Blood & Bone, Pelletised Chook Manure)
* Mix together, then wet down & turn over every 2 weeks. Ready to use in 1 -2 months. Keep moist.

Use seed raising mix in pots, boxes, and trays to raise seeds. To cover seed, screen seed raising mix through a 5 – 10 mm sieve. Screen only what is required to cover seed.

Ready to Sow:

Small seeds can be sown in pots, boxes or direct in garden position.

For Pots, Boxes and Gardens:

* Fill containers to top and level out soil or rake garden beds to a fine till.
* Place seeds in sowing hand
* Use thumb to control how many seeds are released onto the soil, water in lightly
* Use dry covering mix
* Using thumb again to control soil, move hand repeatedly over container in a shaking motion releasing a fine covering of soil, water in.

REMEMBER: for most small seeds only cover with 3 – 5mm of fine soil, fine powder like seeds require no or very little covering.

Transplanting Methods:

Sow seeds sparse in pots and when they are approximately 3-5cm high, they are ready for the big move! Separate seedlings by using any of these methods:

* Plant each seedling direct in garden position. Extra after care needed and some losses may occur.
* Separate seedlings into seed boxes, by planting these at a 2-3cm distance apart. Then plant out in 2-3 weeks when plants are stronger.
* Pot seedlings in individual pots, establish plants then plant out to garden position.

Three Good Ideas:

* If possible, transplant seedlings to the garden in the cooler part of the day.
* Mulch and water seedlings well. Check daily for first week.
* TLC = Tender Loving Care. Yes, plants needs this too! Plus some shade protection when the weather isn’t favourable and water regularly to ensure optimum growth.

Article courtesy of Greenpatch Organic Seeds,

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