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How To Water Seeds

To some how does one water seeds may seems like a silly question…. but to others it is the very simple things that most often are not explained due to assumption… more so on the horticulturists part. Try find any gardening book with how to water in the title….?

But, for years as a nipper I crushed and broke weak seedlings with large droplets from a watering can…. and it being the start of the growing season this dilemma has resurrected itself.

If you are sowing your seeds in trays that have perforations/ drainage holes on the base then we are in luck.

With your compost in the tray, slightly firmed…. place your seeds as preferred and drop the tray into a large container of water. As you can see here I have made really great use of my green bin that I did not want. You can of course use your brown bin if you wish

Capillary action [as it is called] is the process which will ensure the water is drawn up all by itself. You will see the compost turn from a dry brown to a wet dark black. Be careful here not to let the tray sink to the bottom and lose all your seeds… watched pots and kettles may come to mind but patience is the key. As soon as you see water just appear at seed level… you’re good to go. You can repeat his process as long as is necessary and as long as your seeds need to be in the plug tray.

If however your container does not have perforations… this is were it can get tricky.

These [left] are the ones I sowed for indoors. I don’t want drainage holes on them, because, they’ll leak all over the window ledges. And I can’t steep them… so…

The answer is to water the soil very well before putting my seeds on top. If I chose not to the compost bubbles up over the seeds and the seed sinks somewhere within the pile of mush 🙂

Watering of these is then done very gently. I myself like to used to use a Mr Sheen/ windowleen type misting bottle [you can’t go wrong this way] and wet them as necessary. Or I pour from a very small jug of water into my hands, held over the container and let the water trickle through my tightly gripped fingers.

The Right Time To Grow

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With high day time temperatures, the sun factor increasing the warmth in the greenhouse well above the the teens and night time temperatures in the minus…. I could almost do a piece here on autumn colour but… it’s March and there are no leaves on the trees. So instead the resulting problem and piece is one of possible woe rather than beauty and colour.

I know that around 12 – 14 degree celcius is what makes [almost all] plants start to grow and the reason this is so important is that I’ve just started my seed growing for this year.

The temperatures in the greenhouse [as you can see above] are more than enough to make the seeds germinate. The problem is that when the little baby seedlings pop out from their store of food [the seed] the low temperatures at night time can come along and literally whack them.

In theory, the water in the plant cells expand when it freezes and this bursts the cells. Put simply the affected cells are dead. That’s not so bad if the plant is an established hedge but for a weakling and barely days old seedling with a very thin outer skin that is so easily penetrated, there is no way back.

I hear you say, I could have waited. Kept my eye on the calender or clock. Been a little more patient and waited a bit longer before I started my sowing campaign. I could even have bought myself a greenhouse heater…. but where’s the fun in that.

I’ve waited this long, this year, to get outdoors and get grooving in the garden… Similar to the Irish potato farmers and the season they’ve just had, I’ll take my [very well calculated] chances against the elements and hope I’ve simply got a head start. If it doesn’t work out… I’ll scatter my seeds and try again.  😉

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So You Wish To Sow Seeds

Of course I have written pieces on this before but…. now is the time to get grooving in the seedling department….

It is one of the simplest things one can do. The beauty about these wieghtless flecks of dust is that one doesn’t need a vast area of space. One simply needs an area anything greater than one inch squared 😉 And the shops and garden centres are brimming with all of the paraphernalia one could ever need…. and more!

A lot of it is pure clap trap, not really needed…. and of course there is always a very simple way to grow your own from seed. The very enthusiastsic Jane Powers article on the trials and tribulations of seed growing may prove beneficial at this point.

For me, personally, I’m gonna start off in the herb garden department. I’ve got my packets from last year [basil is an absolute must… followed swiftly by parsley] and I’ve gone far too long without fresh herbs…. I won’t get 14 degrees celcius outside nor in the glasshouse  – but I will get it on the kitchen window ledge inside…..and that’s exactly where I’m gonna sow my first seeds of this year.

Now all I need to do is wash out that old jam jar and I’m good to go…. and I also know where I can hang that second maximum minimum thermometer I bought 😉

If you are stuck or need a little help along the way…. just leave a comment below

I did this wee video last year… it was done with runner beans but the same rules apply to any seed irrespective of size. Let me know how you get on…. 😉

Other articles of interest:

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