So, in part I we looked at buying seeds and now you need something to grow them in. Some vegetable and flower varieties do not do well when transplanted from a punnet (like carrots) and need to be sown straight into your garden bed. But if you choose to start the seedling off in a greenhouse or on your kitchen table then this is where, in my opinion, you need to invest either your energy in making your own or your money in buying a really good quality seed raising medium. It’s not a good idea to use potting mix as these contain fertilises that will kill your seedlings (burn) and are too coarse for the seeds to break through. Soil from your garden mixed with a little river sand and peat moss can be OK but may contain micro-organisms or diseases that are harmful to the seed/seedling.
To give your seeds the best start in life choose a good seed raising mix that has good drainage yet is able to retain moisture, has good aeration, has some kind of food (fertiliser), a nice light, fine texture, and be free of any pests, disease causing pathogens and of course weeds.
I have recently changed the mix I use and recommend Tui Seed Raising Mix. I really do think it is well worth the money. It contains a fungicide, gypsum (for healthy root development) a saturaid wetting agent (retains moisture) and they claim on the bag it is 100% free of weeds (enough of them in my garden as it is). It is such a good looking mix that it looks like you could add an egg and a cup of milk and you’ll have yourself a chocolate cake (not suggesting you do!!).
Just a note here: Always wear gloves and a face mask when handling any seed raising mix (or potting mix) and follow the safety instructions on the bag.
My gardening goal for this year is to start making my own seed raising mix. I’ve found a recipe that sounds good and wont break the bank.
* 1/3 Coarse river sand (fine sand skins over making it very difficult for seeds to germinate through). For aeration, drainage and texture.
* 1/3 rich well composted compost. Body of mix.
* 1/3 worm castings from my worm farm. Food.
Part III of this series will examine containers for holding the seed raising mix. Including a video of how to make your own seed raising pottles.