Sowing in containers

11 assist with germination and the establish-ip nt of a new plant, it is often helpful to si ik seeds in water for 12-24 hours before l>' ng sown in a compost that will provide

  • it quate aeration, sufficient water-holding
  • a >acity, a neutral acidity/alkalinity reaction and sufficient phosphate. Thus a "sowing" or "seed" compost should be used.

Before choosing a pot, pan or tray decide how much seed is to be sown; the container should be large enough to allow the seedlings space to develop to the size at which they are to be pricked out.

Heap the container with compost and thin, to ensure it is evenly distributed and iher^ are no air locks, very lightly firm it to the corners and base using the fingers. Do not compact the compost.

Using a sawing action, strike off the compost with a presser board or other piece of wood so that it is level with the top of the container. Then with a presser board that fits into the container, lightly and evenly firm the compost to § in below the rim, ensuring that the surface is level.

The container is now prepared for sowing. The seeds should be sown evenly over the surface either by station sowing large seeds or gently shaking small seeds direct from the packet. When shaking, keep the packet low over the compost to prevent the seeds from bouncing and giving an uneven distribution.

I Sc k large seeds in water lor -24 hours before «•Otynig in compost.

2 Fill a container with compost until it is heaped above the rim.

3 Firm the compost into the corners and base using the tips of the fingers.

7 Turn container through 9( degrees. Sow the re naining seeds.

8 Cover the seeds by sieving on compost, keeping the sieve low over the seeds.

9 Label the seeds with their full name and date of sowing.

If the seeds are very fine it is easier to distribute them evenly, and see where they are sown, if they are mixed thoroughly with some dry fine sand. Sow the seeds by shaking across the container, using about half the seeds; then turn the container through 90 degrees and sow the rest of the seeds in the same way.

Gently shake some compost over the container through a ^in sieve so that an even and uniform layer covers the seeds. As a general rule seeds do not need to be covered by compost deeper than their own thickness.

Finally label the seeds and water them in by standing the container in a shallow bath of water so that the water moves up by capillary action. Do not stand the container in so much water that it overflows the rim on to the seeds and compost. After watering stand out to drain.

Alternatively water the compost from above, using a watering can with a fine rose. Start pouring the water away from the container and once an even flow is attained direct it over the seeds; similarly, to stop, move the water away from the container and then stop the flow, so that no drops fall on to the compost.

Cover the container with a piece of glass and place in a warm dark place, for example an airing cupboard. Otherwise, cover with glass and a sheet of paper and leave in any warm (21°C/70°F) environment.

4 Strike off the compost using a sawing action until it is level with the rim.

5 Firm the compost lightly to § in below the rim using a presser board.

6 Sow half the seeds across the container, keeping hand low to prevent bouncing.

10 Water in the seeds from above the compost, using a can with a fine rose.

11 Cover the container with a pane of glass to keep the seeds moist and warm.

12 Place a sheet of paper over the glass to minimize temperature fluctuations.

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Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

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