There were long ones, short ones, round ones, black ones, big ones, small ones....

......SEEDS, that is.

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
hot chilli

cucumber - gherkin pickling
cucumber - lebanese

mizuna

pumpkin - buttercup
pumpkin - butternut
pumpkin - musquee de provence
pumpkin - red kuri

silverbeet - bright lights

Tomatoes:
black krim (saved seed)
green zebra
red fig (saved seed)
roma
san marzano
sugarlump (saved seed)
tigerella (saved seed)
yellow peach (saved seed)
watermelon - country sweet

Flowers and herbs:
cosmos
marigold
nasturtium
pyrethrum

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
....and our purple cauliflowers are of harvesting size! I came back with this bowl of produce after a quick walk around the garden this afternoon. All destined for a frittata/veggie slice because with 6 eggs a day coming in over the last few days, we need to use some up!

Garden harvest: leeks (perennial), broccoli, purple cauliflower, rainbow chard and flat leaf parsley

Comments

  1. OK there are so many things to comment on in this post:
    Firstly - love the box system!
    what a gorgeous range of tomato plants! Will you be overrun with tomatoes - or do you 'bottle' the excess?
    I didn't know about perennial leeks - can you get them as seedlings or only by seed?
    you're planting broccoli now? Can sprouting broccoli be planted any time of the year?

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  2. Wow. That pumpkin is GORGEOUS! wow.

    Thanks to you I have JUST put two seed packs for purple broccoli in my virtual shopping cart on-line. Thanks for the reminder!! It will be my first over-wintering broccoli. =) I'm really going to try out the fall/winter/spring? garden thing. Not just summer. TRYING. And you are inspiring. =)

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  3. Look at all those lovely seeds! Your box system looks very organised to me.
    I have garden harvest envy too. Do you need a wwoofer? :-)

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  4. I need a system like that for my seeds,lol. I have to find an old shoebox now:0)

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  5. Great stuff! I love packets of seeds, and seed catalogues and dreaming about what they will turn into. Only thing is I save seed in little pots here and there and then the labels blow away or fall off and it is not till the next year when I see the plant come up again that I remember what the seeds were. Some things appear all over the place, like the verbena bonariensis and the borage and even fennel sows itself in unlikely crevices in the path. Funny things, seeds :)

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  6. So good to see someone who loves seeds like I do! I dare not even count how many varieties of fruit, vege's and herbs that I have.... and I have been trying to think of a better way to arrange my seeds, thanks for the great idea!

    I potted up my seeds in the rain the other day, under our patio!

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  7. Oh, and I organise my seeds according to planting season... Spring/ Summer, Autumn and Anytime. I am now going to sort them further into 'sow in seed trays/ pots' or 'plant direct'... but going to steal your divided box idea, instead of my old containers inside a big plastic box mess I have now!

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  8. Sarah, I only sow a very small amount (6-8, with about 2-3 of the strongest being planted out), of each variety and although we get plenty of tomatoes at harvest time, we have never been over run, but I wouldn't complain if we were - I would love to bottle some! Last year I made pizza sauce with any spare tomatoes, but the cherry and slicing types don't lend themselves to saucemaking because of their high seed content (and high skin to flesh ratio in the cherry varieties).

    Perennial leeks I believe can be purchased from Cornucopia Seeds (Celia received some from there), or grown from 'baby leeks' from someone who has them in their garden.

    Sprouting broccoli can be planted any time of the year in our area, which is quite cool, and has a short summer growing period. :)

    Thanks, bio! I love pumpkin but my girls don't, this used to frustrate me but now I realise that it is all the more for me (and hubby too!).
    I haven't grown the purple broccoli, but it's on my list of things to try. A cool season garden is so rewarding and NO hand watering, yay!

    Ahh, a wwoofer, Brydie, lol! I would've loved to have been one a few years ago, but had no idea they existed! One could learn SO much. :)

    Any box works fine, Debbie. This one was from an Austar set top box - just the right size!

    Yes! I love to dream about their futures too, Jo! I find seeds slightly addictive, needing to physically remove myself when walking past them in garden centres. Such a small amount goes such a long way! I am interested in the borage - I have a small plant to put out soon and didn't realise they self seed so readily! Apparently they are great for attracting bees to berries... :)

    I love hearing how different people store their seeds, dixiebelle! I like the seasonal approach and you're taking it a step further with the sowing direct/punnets idea! My seeds were an absolute mess, scattered all over the house and I could never find exactly what I was looking for, hence the divided box approach. Happy sowing!:)

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  9. Inspirational, that's what you are, Chris! Look at all that gorgeous produce! As this is our first year of serious gardening, we've been astonished how long it takes seedlings to grow from seed. We've only been game to try two tomatoes - romas and cherries - so I'll be very keen to see how all your different varieties go.

    I picked at ate - raw - my first tiny head of sprouting broccoli, and we pulled one of the perennial leeks up to taste it as well. It was delicious! Pete decided that we had to try one before we planted out a bizillion in the garden to make sure we liked them - what would we have done if they tasted like onion weed? :D

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  10. Aww, thanks Celia. It is a long wait for veggies to grow when starting them from seed but it's worth it! Compared to seedlings, there is a lot more choice when it comes to seed, it's nice to know how the plant has been raised (eg. no chemicals or artificial fertilisers etc) and they are much more economical. Plus if we select open pollinated/heirloom varieties, we can save our own seed for future plantings.

    It's so exciting to eat straight from the garden, isn't it! I'm really glad to hear the leeks went down well, how would it be if I had recommended onion grass leeks to you, lol! We have plenty of onion grass too, btw, want some? ;)

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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