SOWING & WATERING TINY SEEDS WITHOUT WASHING THEM AWAY! – 4th wk in April 2013

It is still possible to sow many seeds given that spring has been so late in arriving this year. Mine are sown in a small greenhouse to bring them on  until they are a couple of centimetres high. At this point in mid May, seedlings are sturdy enough in most cases to withstand slug predation and the weather will hopefully be largely free of frost.

A number of seeds which don’t like being transplanted such as radish, carrot, parsnip and potato, are sown in situ outside when the soil has warmed up to over 7 degrees centigrade atleast to ensure good germination. The majority of the seeds I have sown for this growing season begin in modules in seed trays (see pp 88 – 91 ‘Trevor’s Kitchen Garden’, www.orpenpress.com or most good bookshops).

Now the greenhouse shelves are packed with rows of seed trays labelled with date of sowing and variety of seed sown. These include 1. Tamar Mixed Lettuce – 2. Broad Bean (Vectra from Seedsavers) – 3. Runner Bean (Black Knight from Seedsavers) – 4. Mange Tout (Sugar Dwarf Pea) – 5. Purple Sprouting Broccoli – 6. Leek (Musselborough) – 7. Beetroot (Avon Early from Seedsavers) – 8. Rainbow Chard Leaf Beet – 9. Courgette (Nero di Milano from Seedsavers) – 10. Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) – 11. Nicotiana – 12. Cosmos – 13. Viola (Tricolour) – 14. Tomato (Gardener’s Delight). I cheated with the tomato and bought an organically grown pot plant grown in Sonairte’s organic walled garden up the road in Laytown. I only need two plants so hardly worth the effort of buying a whole packet of tomato seed for the sake of growing two plants!

Some of the seeds listed are for flowers, essentially food for the bees, other pollinators,

Watering a tray sown with tiny seed using a large jar of water with a perforated lid which drizzles water so seeds are not dislodged.

Watering a tray sown with tiny seed using a large jar of water with a perforated lid which drizzles water so seeds are not dislodged.

hover flies etc, all of which benefit the food crops and make the whole business of kitchen gardening more attractive. Some of these flower and veg seeds are tiny. The rose head on the small watering can is clogged up at this stage. Necessity being the mother of invention, I set about creating an even and gentle watering system for these trays of tiny seeds. Multiple tiny holes in the lid of a large jar made for a very fine and even watering device. Naturally this only applies to small scale kitchen gardening, but it works for me! May the sun and rain help you garden in the weeks ahead.

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