Saturday, January 23, 2010

1st Seed Sowing of the Year/ Seed Sowing 101

The Biodynamic Sowing Calendar shows Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as root days, meaning that is the part of the plant enhanced by the Moon or planets.  So today (a fruit day) I decided to begin my 2010 gardening season.  Early?  yes.  A few couple of my onions like 10-12 weeks of growing before being set out in late April.  The spinach and kale will go under cover (either under reemay and plastic, or in the cold-frame).   I love my new set-up, I was able to complete this task in my kitchen with little to no mess.  Below is basic tutorial on indoor seed sowing.  I know all you regulars could do this stuff with one arm tied behind your back, but for any newbies out there searching the net for hours on end (as I was not so long ago), this is for you!

1. Gather materials.  Here I have some organic seed starting mix, a water bottle (and a cup off to the side) and my potting tray.  Today I will be using a 72 cell Pro-Tray (good for small seeded herbs & flowers, lettuce, leeks, onions, beets, endive, and kohlrabi (YUCK!)).

2.  Spray surface of soil with fine mist, or in my case continue to moisten by dumping a cup of water over moistened surface soil.  You want the mix to be moist, not real wet.  I go for a consistency that will lossely clump in my hand when squeezed.  This wetting of the mix can be done in a bucket or wash bin.

3. Scoop/pour/dump mix onto flat and brush across into cells.  Fill to the top and then compact.  If you have 2 trays of the same size use one on top to gently apply pressure into the cells below.  The seeds I was sowing today required a 1/4-1/2 inch of depth.  Below I have my Chipollini rows labeled, the seed in the dish, and the mix lightly pressed to the desired depth- ready to begin sowing!

4.  Drop desired amont of seeds into individual cells, be sure to mark the variety sown and date if you are sowing more than one variety in a flat.  The seeds can be difficult to see and remembering what just went where can be easily forgotten or confused, especially when small children are interupting the task.
Two seeds were sown per cell on the onions and kale, I did 3 for the spinach since spinach seed deteriorates quickly with age, and these are 2009 seeds.  There are many methods of getting the seeds placed where you want them....I either drop a couple in by hand or use a small dish and a plant marker to slide 'em in as I go.

5.  I used the dish pictured above to dust the top of the tray with mix after all cells were sown.  Take caution to not dislodge any seeds when smoothing out the mix over the cells.  One could also just spoon mix into each cell and avoid this risk.  Once the cells are topped off, spray with a gentle mist to moisten.  My seeds were covered with a dome to help retain moisture.  Some seeds will now require being placed on a heat mat, but the varieties I sowed prefer a cooler soil temperature (50-75 degrees) so they just went onto the heated floor in my bathroom.

6.  Keep soil most during the germination period.  As soon as you see green get the seedlings under lights.  My light et-up will be assembled this weekend, stay tuned!


Erin said...

Kelly, love love LOVE the green soil station thingie!! I will have to pass on that for this year and make a mess instead due to limited funds, but now I know what I want for Christmas next year! I vaguely remember thinking last year that the messy soil filling problem needed to be solved, and then promptly forgot about it, lol. I am starting my seeds in the kitchen this year with my lights suspended above them so of course the little OCD voices in my head told me I needed to spring clean the kitchen first. Why? I have no idea, but I spent all day yesterday reorganizing cupboards and scrubbing trash cans and all kinds of weird stuff. OK now I am ready to start my seeds. I know my cupboards have nothing to do with my seeds, but the little voices didn't know that LOL, so I will be sowing tonight!

Ribbit said...

Looks great!! I haven't yet tried to do onions from seed, I've always gone from sets. I'm looking forward to seeing how they work out.

Thomas said...

Hey Kelly, when is your frost free date? I'm wondering if it's different from mine.

It's amazing that these onions will stay inside for that long!

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