SEED RAISING - What works for us!
Things you need:
- Seeds (purchase ours here)
- Cell tray or regular seed raising tray
- Good quality seed raising mix (preferably with some nutrients) or compost
- Vermiculite (optional)
- See through plastic storage boxes
- Masking tape and waterproof & UV-proof marker
- Heat mat or electric blanket plus plastic sheet (optional)
1. Moisten the seed raising mix or compost and fill the seedling trays. Press down so the soil is compressed and there are no air pockets.
I like to use both, seedling trays and cell trays. The advantage of cell trays is, that you do not need to seperate the seedlings when it comes to planting, meaning there is less root disturbance.
If you decide to use just a regular seedling tray without partitions, it's advisable to either space the seeds apart at regular intervals or plant them out when they are fairly small.
2. Using a pen or pencil punch small holes into each cell. The bigger the seed, the deeper the hole. Pop in one seed per cell. If you are using a regular tray, spread the seeds evenly.
Some seeds require light to germinate. These can simply be placed on top of the seed raising mix and sparsely covered with vermiculite.
3. Cover with vermiculite or more seed raising mix.
Some seeds require light to germinate. These can just be placed on top of the seed raising mix and sparsely covered with vermiculite.
4. Label the tray itself by putting a strip of masking tape on the edge. Fill plastic box with around 5mm of water and put the seedling tray on too of that. This will create enough ambient humidity for the seeds to germinate early and not dry out.
The idea is to create a seed germinating chamber. I have used an old fridge with a grow light for that purpose as well, which allowed me to germinate more seedling trays at one time. I found it particularly useful for seeds that take longer to germinate.
The plastic boxes shown are just regular storage boxes, available just about anywhere. They are of good quality and can be used for all sorts of other things as well. Makin sure to get one that is not too high or too low.
5. Put on the lid and label the box (with the masking tape) on the outside, so you know what is what. Then place in a warm, sunny location.
I put my boxes on a bench which I covered with heat mats. You can use a professional one or cover a reptile heat mat (ebay) or electric blanket with plastic to waterproof it. This will create bottom heat which seeds love and heat the whole chamber nicely,
6. Once 50-70% of seedlings have emerged, move the tray out of its chamber (plastic box) and put it in a sunny location or simply lift the lid.
Move seedlings outside when big enough to handle and harden off for around a week before planting into their final home.
This setup works exceedingly well for raising seeds in all but the hottest times of the year. In summer, place trays into the shade or semi shade.
Water when required.
Water deeply before planting out.
Don't forget to label your seedling trays.
I hope you found this useful. Happy Growing!