Sunday, 30 September 2012

How not to kill seedlings...

This nifty $1.95 gadget could have saved 64 lives...
[Source: Diggers Club]

After our tragic family loss, 64 seedlings, I am pulling all my strength together to do it all again!

I visited my beloved Diggers Garden Shop today and got some advice on what went so horribly wrong. From my studies and expert advice, here's what not to do:

  1. Drown in water love. Be that watering the babies too fast and too much or leaving them to soak in a tray of water for days, either is going to end in rotted seedlings, not a great ending for anyone involved.
  2. Close the vents on the incubator! If it's a sunny day like we've had, those incubators will cook your little seedling babies!
  3. Leave your seedlings out over night. In the harsh, windy, cold elements. You get the drift, it's obvious!
Thanks to the wonderful man at diggers here's some hot tips on how to get your seedlings flourishing:
New look Green Lifestyle Mag!
  1. Give them the best start in a nutrients rich soil, especially tomatoes. The new look Green lifestyle mag this month has a great little article called Tricks with Tomatoes. It is written by Kirsten Bradley from milkwood permaculture and gives you the formula to winning soil for growing tomatoes.
  2. Water them by soaking the seedling tray in water for about 15 minutes. This will let the roots draw up the water they need.
  3. Water then let it start to dry out. Weather is a cycle and in nature plants are rarely kept constantly wet. Watering every few days by soaking is better than drowning! If it's particularly hot and the darlings are looking like they need a drink every day then do so, but don't water everyday just to keep them wet. If you feel they need a water from the top or you want to get the kids involved this nifty little watering bottle top is the answer! 
  4. Seedlings need warmth, but don't cook them! Make sure the soil can heat up but make sure they aren't getting burnt. At night bring them in to somewhere out of the elements, you don't want  a midnight trip out to save them from filling up with rain!
Tomorrow I'm replanting in my incubators:
  • capsicum
  • celery
  • eggplant
  • leeks
  • zucchinis
  • tommy toe tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
  • grosse lisse tomatoes (salad tomatoes)
I'm also planting direct into my garden beds:
  • more carrots (the first lot seem to be doing well, and I'm planting more as we go through heaps!)
  • lettuce
  • Lebanese cucumbers, (my first lot haven't come up, but I did plant a bit early and I'm worried they dried out).
Today I got hanging baskets! I'm hoping to stock them full of tumbling red tomatoes as a bit of an experiment. I've heard a few reports that you get a big crop, so here's hoping! I've got the smallest basket possibly for tomatoes (30cm) so we are going to have to keep them hydrated. Hmmmm... hopefully I'm not setting myself up for another disaster.

Feel like joining me in the garden? What are you planting?

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