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Friday, April 12, 2013

Starting Seeds

Welcome to the first step in guerrilla gardening - starting seeds. 

Here are some simple steps for those using lights and those going for the sunlight option. 

Concrete mixing bin makes it easy to mix materials but can also be done in a large bucket or plastic storage bin.
Plastic containers. Use recycled yogurt containers, berry containers or collect from friends that buy plants. All containers should have 4-5 holes punched in the bottom that ar at least 1/8" round.
Water bottle. (Punch many holes (15) in the bottle cap for a home made flower spout.
Examples of supplies for your starter mix. 

1 part Seed starter mix
1 part coconut husk usually sold in blocks. Soak the block in a bucket of water until it absorbs enough water to fall apart. (If you don’t have this don’t worry but you may need to water more frequently)
1 part perlite

Mix all three with enough water so that when squeezed, the material holds together but does not drip any water.

Coconut Husk Dry
After adding water

Perlite above seed start mix and coconut

the final mix, by your fair hand
You can start seeds in a variety of different pots but the smaller the better. This enables consistent moisture in the growing pot.
  1. 4 or 6 packs that are about 1-2” high
  2. 4” x 6” containers that you can plant a few seeds of one variety. Strawberry containers work very well since they have a lid
  3. Peat pods. (don’t like these as much because they tend to be very dense)
  4. 72 size propagation pods in tray

Fill your containers (1 )  3/4 full and place 1 seed in each cup. If you are willing to throw away or divide the plants, you can place 2 seeds in each cup. These containers are specifically good for plants that germinate fast and relatively are of substantial size.
Cucumbers, squash, beans.

Fill your container (2) 1/2 full and place seeds 1" apart. Keep the lid on these containers until germination occurs to help keep in moisture. These seeds should be exposed to as much light as possible in the day if not using lights to help prevent them from getting too long and thin. These containers are good for: tomatoes, eggplant, Swiss chard, peppers.

For tomatoes, If using growing lights, place the lights as close to the seed container as possible once they have germinated. This will promote a shorter stockier plant that will have a stronger root and stem system.

Peppers and eggplants are very slow to germinate and need a lot of warmth. They can be heated from the bottom with a heating growing mat or suspended over a radiator.

Keep all planted seeds in a warm place making sure they are always moist. You can cover them to keep moisture and heat trapped. If they need to be watered, do so by placing the container in a shallow dish and place water in the dish for the plants to soak up from the bottom. You can also water with a flower spout preventing drowning of the seeds.

If you don’t have plastic domes begin by covering with saran wrap to keep moisture and heat trapped. Should not require watering for a while like this but check every day. 
One little seed in the centre

Two trays of plenty

Keep a note of what you have planted, including quantity and variety

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