Grow Your Own

28 Jul 2020
by Francois

Germination procedure

In trays

  • Prepare your space and have the following at hand:
    • Large, shallow, closed-bottom container
    • Trays
    • Germination mix
    • Seeds
    • Vermiculite (medium size)
    • Labels & marker pen
    • Water
  • Wash and sterilise your hands
  • Place your tray(s) in the large shallow container.
  • Use a scoop or your hands to fill the trays with the germination mix.
  • Shake / tap the tray lightly against the bottom of the container to settle.
  • Fill up any holes that are not full, but do not compress the mix into the holes.
  • Using the sprayer head (adjust to light spray), wet the germination mix thoroughly.
  • Wash / sanitise your hands before you open the seed packet.
  • Drop 1 seed per cell on top of the germination mix.
  • Now, if your seeds require darkness to germinate, cover all the cells with more germination mix (about 0.5 cm thick layer) and if your seeds require light to germinate, lightly cover each cell with vermiculite.
  • Using the sprayer head (light spray again) and from a distance of at least 30cm above the tray, very briefly water again. Upon contact with the water, the vermiculite should settle into the cells and become slightly darker in color.  
  • Don’t forget to insert a label (indicating variety, color and date) into one of the cells. Unless you only plan to sow one tray, don’t even think you will remember what you have sown in which tray, because you won’t 🙂
  • All that’s left is to place your newly sown tray in a warmish spot that receives enough light and to ensure the top layer is kept moist (depending on the weather, lightly spraying every second or third day should be sufficient), but do check them daily until they emerge.
  • If kept at the recommended temperature, your seeds should germinate within the noted window period, but don’t despair if it takes a couple of days longer. If you are still not having any luck after that, try to increase the temperature a bit (be careful to not let them dry out). 

Direct sowing

Before sowing your seeds directly in the beds, ensure that you have already done the following:

  • Removed all existing weeds, roots and stones
  • Worked some compost into the bed
  • Watered it properly
  • For seeds that require light for germination, push only half of the seed into the soil so that a part of it sticks out of the soil and light can reach it. If darkness is required, depending on the size of the seed, either make a small hole with your finger and put the seed inside the hole and cover completely with soil, or push the seed into the soil (in general, the size of the seed determines how deep it must be planted. If the seed is small, do not make a hole, but only push the seed into the soil and cover lightly with more soil. If a very small seed is buried too deeply, it may not have enough growing power to reach the surface of the soil.
  • Insert labels where your seeds have been sown.
  • Using the sprayer head (light spray again), gently but sufficiently water the newly sown bed. It is important that the bed is consistently kept moist until the seeds germinate, so do check on them daily and water when needed.
  • Since you will probably have less control over temperature in the garden, it might take slightly longer for your seed to germinate, but don’t despair. If you are able to, you can cover them at night to provide some protection against the cold.

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