Growing from seed
Here in tropical North Queensland I am very excited to be preparing the raised beds to grow my vegetables this year. I grow from seed so do not want to miss the beginning of the growing season. Of course we never really know when the wet season is going to end, but most people rely on April being the time when one can plant out seedlings. I might be a little early, but want to stagger my plantings, so will only start off a few each weekend.
I did go a little crazy with seeds, but will share around some of the seedlings with friends and family. The greenhouse where I start the seeds is semi shaded, and I am making sure to water every day.
It was a great buy, and I have had the first one for about three years. I recently purchased a new one and then took the plastic off this one and added shadecloth so that is a place teenage seedlings go, where they have a little more freedom and exposure the wind and the rain, but not the hot sun.
I mostly order all my seeds from https://www.theseedcollection.com.au/ – below is the list of seeds I recently received. They have a bit of a backlog at the moment because everyone has now decided to grow vegetables. This is not a bad thing! Their seeds are heirloom, open pollinated non hybrid and non GMO, plus their prices are great. Even if you only grow microgreens or sprouts, you will be eating fresh food in no time at all.
Even though I live in a hot climate and dont need it for the warmth, my greenhouse is perfect for keeping my seedlings all together and away from bugs and too much sun. I use seed raising mix that you buy in a block and then it expands when you add water. It is mostly coir based. I had an old yogurt container that I cut up into strips and they are working perfectly for labels! re-use 🙂 My neighbour had this interesting system that she picked up at a thrift store – underneath the pots is a piece of felt that wicks up moisture. This means the growing seedlings have access to moisture but have to pull it up through the seedling mix by wicking it themselves, thus less chance of getting over watered.
Other seeds were planted in assorted containers and are all tucked up cosily in the greenhouse.
Some seeds were planted straight into the raised beds, I do this with greens like tatsoi and bokchoy as I start picking them small as microgreens as they grow, and this thins them out at the same time. I spread a little of the seed raising mix down, and then scatter the seeds evenly. Press down firmly – you just want to connect the seeds to the mix, not bury them too deeply. Then lay a piece of cotton fabric, or shade cloth over the top and water in well. This makes sure the seeds stay moist and protected, and forces the roots down deeper.
Keep moist and after a couple of days you will see the little plants starting to push the cloth up. Slowly remove the cloth, making sure you don’t pull the plants out of the ground and you will find all your happy little seedlings reaching up towards the light!
I will be going through a series of gardening posts within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned and sign up to be notified of new posts. Watch out for posts on making your own seed tape, composting and feeding your soil, growing microgreens and making wicking beds. I will slowly add posts in different categories – In the kitchen – and in the home. Right now though we all need to be planting our victory beds!