Over the next week I’m going to bring to you a series of tips and tricks I have learned over the years for successfully growing plants from seed. My own experience of growing from seed has certainly had its ups and downs, but I would really encourage you to give it a go!! Today and tomorrow I’m going to focus on the things you need to buy, borrow or steal before you actually put seed to soil.
Why grow seed when it’s so much easier to buy the plants from a shop?
The reasons can vary. Satisfaction, saving money, experimenting, supplying demand etc. For me, growing plants from seed has really given me an appreciation of the life cycle of each plant I have chosen to grow. You get to see the special requirements for each seed/plant variety right from the beginning of it’s little life. You certainly do save money in the long run, even if the original start up cost may be a little more. When I first started I would always go for the cheapest of everything: seed, raising mix, trays etc and the results were not always the hundreds of A grade, luscious, healthy looking seedlings to fill my garden. My number one tip would be to invest a little money in the beginning to save in the long run. With a little planning, you can grow just the number of plants that will meet your needs.
What do I need to get started?
Let’s start with the seed:
- Buy a good quality seed bought from a reputable company. This will mean that the seed is labelled correctly, packaged well for freshness and will come with growing information applicable to that particular variety. I really recommend Kings Seeds which are available online at kingsseeds.co.nz. They have an amazing selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers with bonus offers when you spend over $40. Their latest catalogue is out now and can be ordered through the website.
- If you buy from a shop make sure that the packets are not stored in the sun. And look on the packet for when the expiry date is (seeds generally only have a short life span) and only buy the packets that are newer. This will ensure you have enough time to actually use up the seed. Older seed becomes less viable. Don’t be shy; take the seeds from the back of the row.
- Do some research about what plants you can grow at various times of the year.
Barbara from Kings Seeds gives this advice to readers of TheBloomingTales:
“We find the greatest cause for germination failure comes down to planting at
the wrong time of the year. With our changing seasons this becomes very difficult but you have to read this year by year. For example, last year we had the coldest October in NZ since WWII, causing many germination failures but gardeners are quick to suggest that they
"always plant ...... at this time of the year". In most seasons they would be absolutely right but they have to treat each season as they find it”.