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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seed Planting RSI

I have been planting, planting, planting.  In the last two days I have sowed these seeds...

In seed trays:
  • Onions: Pickling Onions - Paris Silverskin 
  • Onions: Ailsa Craig
  • Kale: Cavolo Nero 
  • Kale: Chinese Gai Lan
  • Cabbage: Savoy
  • Celery: Tendercrisp
  • Broccoli: Purple Sprouting 
  • Broccoli: Green Sprouting
  • Cauliflower: Early Glory 
  • Cauliflower: Snowball Improved
  • Leek: Carentan
Direct into the garden:
  • Turnips: Early Purple
  • Turnips: Swede - Champion Purple Top
  • Turnips: Japanese Turnip - Hakurei.
  • Carrot: Chartenay Red Cored
  • Beetroot: Crimson Globe
You can see why I have Repetitive Strain Injury!.

The photo above shows some brassicas I planted about a fortnight ago in seed raising mix.  They germinated well but have stalled.  I gave them a drink of weak liquid seaweed yesterday.

Yesterday's seeds are planted in a combination of my own compost, some bio-char and seed raising mix.  I covered the seeds with seed raising mix.

The truth is I haven't grown a lot from seed in the past.  I have always been either too busy or too slack and bought seedlings.  The tomatoes and things I planted for this season germinated but, like the seedlings above, didn't flourish like the 'commercial' ones.  They took off eventually once transplanted but were slow.  *sigh*

What do you use as a growing medium for your seeds?  
What tricks to you have to share?


  1. If you use a too rich medium it doesn't grow strong roots at first.
    I have found that commercial seed these days, even from a good supplier does not seem to have the good germination rate it used to have.I'm suspecting they may be buying in from elsewhere or it's to do with the increasing availability of seedlings.
    I've also stopped growing because I can't justify the water use and go to the reliable growers at the Farmers' Market, much better option for me.
    Good luck!

  2. I am beginning to hate February...I don't seem to be able to take a trick! Wrong time to be fiddling about with asparagus says the nursery man from Florez on the earlier post. Now Von tells me it isn't wise to plant seeds in too rich a mixture. Bugger!

  3. Hi Hazel, I don't have any tips but I usually just use normal potting mix for seed sowing. The only thing I make sure is when I transplant seedlings is to be very careful with the roots and in late evening. I have really bad luck and experience with nursery bought seedlings, they never grow well for me. So we only focusing with seeds. Good Luck and Happy Sowing! It is still too early in Adelaide to sow cool season veggies have to wait until end of March.

  4. I never did well with traditional seed raising mixtures, so I tried the seed raising coir block and it works really well for me. I don't need to water the trays as often and it changes colour when drying out so I can tell what needs more moisture and what doesn't. I still seem to get better results from bought seedlings though, I never realised how long it took to grow from seed to that size though before trying it myself, maybe I'm just too impatient!

  5. I applaud any effort made to making something grow in the cold weather. You made me hungry after I saw the word leek....yum!!! Hope it all turns out....and it will:)

  6. To be able to learn from experience is wonderful. I have learned that I will need to move my veggie plots into more sunnier spot. A combination of to much overhead shade and such cloudy weather this summer. I imagine I will have to learn about wind protection if the veggies go into the front garden. Growing media such a vermiculite and other seed raising mixture with very little nutrients is often used to raise seedlings. It encourages the roots to grow out in search of nutrients. When the are bigger they are pricked out into more nutrient rich material. Whatever you find the best way to do it's just great watching new plant life.

  7. i have only started growing recently from seed so far i have used ordinary potting compost with a mix of course sand so far everything is sprouting and the sands holds water longer so less watering.

  8. A little too early for seeds here too but we have some spring cabbge under our grow lights. Seeds may germinate quickly and then not seem to grow much as they are making roots so it may be you were just a little impatient - don't feed them though as there will still be some nutrients in the soil. Prick the seedlings out when they develop their first set of true leaves i.e. the ones after the first two!

  9. Hazel, I don't really have any special wisdom to share here, but for what it's worth my approach is always to use ordinary general-purpose commercial compost for sowing seeds. I feel it is unnecessary to spend money on specialist "seed compost", and I usually get a decent germination rate. I always sow more seeds than I need anyway, so who cares if you only get 85% or 90% germination?
    I usually grow all my veg from seed and almost never buy veg plants, because the ones on sale are often poor specimens and grossly over-priced. I think the key to success in raising home-sown seedlings is finding a suitable place to keep them when they are very small - light and warm. This is ths most difficult bit for us UK gardeners!

  10. I AM going to plan t some seeds soon ... Hazel thanks for for the lovely always informative thoughtful comments you leave on my garden blog. You always make me smile. : )

  11. Gorgeous Hazel, I love those toilet rolls! I grow almost everything from seed, I only buy seedlings when I get sucked into it at Bunnings, and of course I also buy fruit trees. I have a very mixed success rate, my capsicum grown from seeds are looking like they will be very good, the seedlings I bought when I got impatient are fruiting at a very small size and the fruit seems a little "warped". The opposite goes for eggplant though, seedlings are doing well, those from seeds are looking pretty rough.

    So of course, I cannot offer any help, just my support in comments :)

  12. For me, its a little bit of luck. Last year I did great with seeds sown late, April/May. The year before I had lots of trouble with green fly. Hopefully you'll be lucky!

  13. I get a bit frustrated too. It's so hard to grow organic. Yesterday I went to check the new seedlings I purchased from and organic stall holder at the farmers market and the white fly and some other little flying insect was all over them chopping away at the little leaves. I raced down to Mitre 10 to get some organic spray only to be told by the very knowledgable assistant that I should be using ( I forgot the name) but it was extremely toxic. She said " that's ok just wait 2 weeks before harvesting them. Well no thanks else why grow our own if it's not to aliminate the toxins poured over bought ones. Anyway i ended up with a food called lots of goodies because she said that my homemade worm juice wasn't enough, and some yellow butterfly shaped fly papers. Still none the wiser I just hope I can get it all going. I also found in the garden centre some little peat discs which swell to 7 times their height in seconds after watering them. Then you plant the seed in the top and cover. When they are strong enough you plant the whole thing. I'm trying beetroot in them at the moment, wish me luck because only 3 have germinated so far. I have posted pictures of them on my blog


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