July 28, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
There are two main methods of sowing seeds to produce wonderful crops of vegetables, herbs and brilliant displays of stunning flowers. These two methods are direct sowing, or sowing into germination trays for transplanting later.
DIRECT SEED SOWING METHOD
There are only a handful of plants that will respond well to direct sowing. The majority of seeds will germinate best when sown in seedling containers/germination trays, and maintained in this controlled environment until they have established themselves, before being transplanted into their desired position in the garden.
Seeds that are commonly used for direct sowing include the following: bean, beetroot, carrot, Chinese cabbage, corn, cucumber, honeydew melon, kohlrabi, parsnip, pea, potato, pumpkin, radish, rockmelon, spinach, squash and watermelon. These are just a few varieties of the many vegetable, herb and flower seeds available from your local garden centre.
Following are some simple steps to successful direct sowing:
HOW TO DIRECT SOW
For sowing seeds directly, here are a few pointers, which will help produce great germination results and give your young plants a racing start for a healthy and productive life.
SEED SOWING IN GERMINATION TRAYS/CONTAINERS
There are some distinct advantages to sowing seeds in germination trays.
Firstly, the environment for seed germination is much easier to control and certainly simpler to maintain. It is far easier to care for and give extra attention to many tiny seedlings in a small place such as a germination tray compared to a wide area of garden bed. During the critical early period of growth, when ideal conditions can make such a difference, this can easily be accomplished with far less time and effort.
Using a germination tray, the young seedlings can be grown to an age that they can be transplanted into the garden bed with much greater ease and a better chance of success. This will also help to overcome the problem of weeds overtaking young seedlings in the garden. By planting out seedlings that are already three to four weeks old, these seedlings will already have a head start on any new weeds that may germinate in the garden bed, because the garden soil can be tilled immediately prior to transplanting. However, if you were to plant the seeds directly into the garden, weed seeds may germinate simultaneously and would quickly outgrow the plants you have sown.
Following are some steps to successful seed germination in germination trays:
By raising seeds in the controlled climate of a germination tray, the young seedlings have a better chance of establishing themselves and becoming harder and tougher. Once transplanted into the garden, they will flourish and grow with great vigour and probably fewer spaces than you may have from attempting direct sowing. (This does not apply to the seeds that are well suited for direct sowing - see Direct Sowing).
Once the seeds have germinated and the young seedlings are beginning to produce new leaves, then they will benefit from applications of SeaMax Organic Fertiliser Liquid. Start by applying at a dilute rate of 200 parts water to one part liquid fertiliser (50ml SeaMax Organic Fertiliser in a 10 litre bucket of water). Then as the seedlings grow, increase the strength of fertiliser up to 100ml liquid fertiliser in a 10 litre bucket of water.
Another great fertiliser to use for young seedlings is Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food. The packet contains directions for seedlings, vegetables and flowers, pot plants, fruit trees and produces wonderful strong growth and is a brilliant bloom booster.