I decided to pull out my seed box today and sow some in preparation for warmer weather growing. It feels a bit silly to be sowing tomatoes and pumpkins while it's still so cold and rainy but I know I'll be glad a I did in around 8 weeks time!
My seed collection is a cardboard box with dividers seperating it into three columns. Each column stores seed packets (purchased and saved seed), in alphabetical order with cardboard dividers separating the plant groups. This is probably the only area in my house where I am organised, even though the pic of my seeds looks a bit messy. There IS a system, I assure you!
My favourite way to start seeds off is to use old plastic trays and fill them with seed starting mix (purchased). I tried to make my own starter mix one year but had awful trouble with seedlings damping off (dying!) because the mix was not sterile. Once they have a few true leaves, then I pluck them out and put them into some homemade compost mixture and they cope ok.
So back to how I start the seeds off - I make 'mini furrows' in the tray and sow up to 8 different seed types in one tray (approx 25cm x 18cm). Wooden pop sticks make good markers as they can be tossed in the compost when I'm finished with them. I keep the trays inside in a warm spot and water daily with a spray bottle until the seedlings start to appear. I then 'prick out' and place them into punnets of potting mix/worm castings. I then spray them with a solution of worm water/seaweed solution diluted with water to feed them through their leaves as well as their roots.
Today I sowed:
broccoli de cicco (sprouting)
capsicum - sweet delight
capsicum - mini
cucumber - gherkin pickling
cucumber - lebanese
pumpkin - buttercup
pumpkin - butternut
pumpkin - musquee de provence
pumpkin - red kuri
silverbeet - bright lights
black krim (saved seed)
red fig (saved seed)
sugarlump (saved seed)
tigerella (saved seed)
yellow peach (saved seed)
watermelon - country sweet
Flowers and herbs:
I always get so excited when it comes to all of the different tomato varieties available. I was very good though and didn't buy any seed this year, using up already opened packets and saved seed from last summer's harvest. I am planning to concentrate more on the fleshy tomatoes, Roma and San Marzano, as these are the most suitable for bottling which I would really like to do this summer.
Things like zucchinis, corn and beans will be sown a little closer to the warmer weather as they germinate and grow so much more quickly than the above seeds.
The last of my homegrown pumpkins was cut this week. I was really pleased with how well the Queensland Blues stored, with no rotting at all. This one is headed for some soup...
|Queensland Blue pumpkin - a great keeper over winter|
|Garden harvest: leeks (perennial), broccoli, purple cauliflower, rainbow chard and flat leaf parsley|