Puriri Lane | Growing From Seed

Growing your garden from seed

Winter is the perfect time for planning your spring garden.

We were featured in an article in the NZ Gardener Magazine back in January where I was interviewed about some of the basics of raising seeds so I thought I would share with you a few tips and tricks for achieving optimum results when sowing from seed.

Puriri Lane | Growing From Seed 101

Raising plants from seed is very rewarding and it is also an inexpensive way to get a jump on the growing season and you also get the opportunity to grow plants that you don't find in your local garden centre and thats what we love about it - you can grow plants that will give your garden its own unique character.

You will need to make sure you have the proper supplies before you get started.  You will need a good quality seed sowing mix, some trays and some plant tags and a pen or pencil that stays put.

Fill your seed tray or pots with the seed raising mix and firmly tap it on the bench to ensure the soil settles.

Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101 
We use a plasterers trowel to tamp down our seed raising mix and find this works really well!Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101
Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101
You can use a cell tray or a plain tray.  We find single trays are easier to use for fine seed and cell trays for bigger seeds or we also use these for propagating cuttings into as well.
Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101
We dampen our seed raising mix and then leave it to dry out a bit, and generally prepare our seed trays in the afternoon and then soak the soil and then sow the seed the next morning so that the soil is not too wet.
Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101
Make holes in each cell if you are using a cell tray or whatever container you happen to be using - a pencil will do or I use a chopstick!  A general rule of thumb is to plant the seed twice as deep as it is big, but in most cases we sprinkle fine seeds on the surface and then cover with some Vermiculite.  Vermiculite is a mineral  - it is lightweight, highly absorbent and non -toxic. Note, there are some seeds that require light to germinate in which case you do not cover them. Conversely there are those that like dark to be able to germinate but all of this should be detailed on your seed packet.  Be sure to read the instructions on your seed sowing packet or seek more information from the internet to ensure you get the best germination rates you can.  When your seeds are ready to germinate they will pop their heads through the Vermiculite which you can see is the flaky silvery product that the seedlings are pushing through - this product helps to keep the moisture levels consistent.Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101
 Label the tray with  a plant marker with the date sown so you can track your seeds progress, and the variety of what you are planting.
Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101

Remember: seeds "decide" to germinate when conditions are suitable for plant growth. That means the most important thing throughout the germination process is consistency, in both temperature and moisture. By investing in a few simple garden tools and managing and monitoring the environment, you should be able to vastly improve your germination rates - and grow healthier plants overall. 

It is important to harden off you plants before putting them into the garden otherwise the shock of a sudden change in temperature may cause them to perish.  Once your seedlings have put on some growth, you can set your trays in a sheltered spot outside once they have the and increase the amount of time they are out each day.  This helps the plants to acclimatise to outdoor temperature fluctuations.  Once all danger of frost has passed they can be planted into the garden.  Make sure that they are watered in well and firmed into the soil to give them the best start in life.

We have a small range of seeds this year with some of our beautiful Sweetpeas in some lovely shades!

A great resource book for growing from seed The Flower Garden | How To Grow Flowers From Seed  We also have another excellent book by Kew Gardens Guide To Growing Bulbs which you can read about here

You will also need a great pair of fine snips for nipping out the centres of some of your seedlings to encourage them to become nice and bushy.  We use the Japanese brand ARS Snips - they are super sharp and will last you a lifetime if you care for them - they are my most used tool.  Another helpful little tool are our deadheaders


Plants grown from seed and ready for sale
Photo from NZ Gardener Magazine | January 2020 
Photo by Sally Tagg

Puriri Lane | Seed Sowing 101 



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