Written by Krisy Goodwin
SE QLD Growing Season is finally here!! This past March I was busy sowing seeds into punnets, lovingly tucked onto benches in my greenhouse where I would rush out every morning to excitedly see what has popped up!
It’s always a thrill to see the first stirrings of life in those pots.
The little seedlings I’ve lovingly cared for in March are now ready for planting. The hero of plants for me in my veggie garden is the tomato. I always sow way too many of every colour, shape and variety. But they never go to waste, put on sandwiches, tomato dishes and preserved sauces. What will be your hero this growing season?
It’s not too late to get some seeds going now, raising your own seedlings isn’t difficult, you get much better variety in catalogues or off the shelf and it’s much more economical (as in, you get many more seeds for your money in a packet than you would in a punnet of seedlings).
It’s very rewarding, too, having grown vegetables from seed to plate.
What you need to sow seeds indoors or in a greenhouse
• Receptacle e.g., punnets, plastic cups or butter containers with holes drilled in the bottom, egg cartons or cardboard trays.
• Good quality seed raising mix or mix your own by mixing 2 parts compost, 2 parts coir and 1 part perlite.
• Seeds from a reliable stockist.
• Water spray bottle
• Greenhouse or plastic or wooden cover for your trays till they germinate. This is to retain moisture and warmth.
• Liquid fertiliser half strength
• Note: Some seeds can be soaked overnight for quicker germination e.g., those with wrinkly hard coats like beetroot, silverbeet or large seeds like peas, corn, beans and pumpkin.
• Fill your seed receptacles with seed raising mix, making sure to tamp down the soil gently to remove any air pockets. Leave enough room for your seeds.
• Put your seeds on the top of the soil and cover with soil to the depth as per the instructions on the seed packet. It’s best to plant 2 or 3 seeds per cell or 1 square inch. Onions and leeks and be sprinkled liberally over the surface.
• Spray well with water and cover in plastic, glass or a piece of wood if you haven’t got a greenhouse and place in a warm spot, outdoors in the green house or indoors in a warm spot. Never let the seed surface dry out!
• Once the seeds have germinated uncover and keep moist, but not wet, in a cool sunny area. Spray weekly with a weak solution of liquid feed. Thin out if needed using a small pair of scissors or gently pulling out the weaker plants leaving the strong ones to grow.
• Once your seedlings have two true leaves you can start ‘hardening off’ two weeks before your seedlings are ready to plant outdoors. Place your seedlings in the morning sun for half an hour, increase by half an hour every day until planting out in beds.
• Some seeds are better directly sown into beds, these include, beetroot, carrots, peas, beans, melons, radish, spinach and squash.
Pretty much anything can be grown at this time of year, get yourselves out there and give it a go, be your own hero! It’s good for your health and soul.
A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow. – Matshona Dhliwayo