A Simple Guide To Growing Vegetables & Flowers From Seed.
What you will need:
- Seed Raising Mix, my favourite is the Seasol seed raising potting mix
- Pots/ Punnets
- Seaweed treatment
- Watering Can, fine nosel
- Labels, paddle pop sticks work great!
- Green House/ Windowsill
Firstly, making sure the seeds you are about to sow are being sown in the correct season. For example, Zinnia flower seeds should be sown Spring - Summer.
Then fill your pots/ punnets with the best quality potting mix you can afford. I personally buy the Seasol seed raising potting mix, it's a fine soil mix which hold water and prevents seeds dropping to the bottom of the pot with extra nutrients added to help growth.
Next, it's time to sow the seeds. Check your seed packet as to what depth they should be sown. For example, Cosmos flower seeds should be sown 6mm deep, whereas Strawflower seeds need light to germinate, so cover with soil very lightly.
Note, large seeds like beans, peas, corn, cucumber, zucchini, squash and pumpkin are best sown direct into the soil.
Don't forget to label what you have sown with a marker and paddle pop stick.
I like to pop a sprinkle of vermiculite over my freshy sown seeds, this helps keep the soil moist and helps prevent mould.
Now to water in your seedling. You will want to keep the soil in the pots/ punnets moist, not too damp and not too dry. A fine noselled watering can is best, as they will prevent washing away the seeds with a finer water flow. If you are sowing very tiny seeds, such as snapdragon, poppy and yarrow, you will want to bottom water or fine mist to prevent them for being washed to the bottom of the pot/ punnet.
Once the seeds are watered in place them in a warm sunny spot, either in a greenhouse or windowsill inside. If growing inside, make sure you turn the seedlings around each day to prevent them becoming leggy (stretching for the sun).
Seeds need certain temperatures to be able to germinate, for example Cosmos need a soil temperature of 20-22 degrees. Germination can take anywhere from 3-21+ days (see individual varieties description for details). To speed up germination, some seeds will benefit from soaking overnight.
I like to treat my newly sprouted seedlings to a fortnightly treatment of a diluted seaweed solution, to give an extra boost of nutrients for growth.
After six weeks of growth, the seedlings are ready to begin to venture into the outside world. Start by letting them spend 1 hour a day, working up to 5 hours over a week. This is called 'hardening off'.
Now they are ready to be planted into your garden. Check the seed packet for how far they should be planted apart and in how much sun. For example, strawflowers need full sun and 40-50cm apart. Once planted, water in and mulch around them, to prevent weeds, and retain moisture in the soil.