The Need for Seed
Recent periods of lockdown have encouraged many more people to take up growing plants from seed. With time at home and a desire to social distance, growing one’s own vegetables and herbs has had a boost in popularity. The realisation that growing from seed is easier than thought and very economic, not to mention fun, seed sales have been booming. Even now that restrictions are being eased many of those new seed sowing newbies that have had a go planting seed are hooked on this growing phenomenon.
Why not join them? The McGregor’s Seed Selector and Garden Calendar will help you choose your seed and the best times to sow seed for your part of New Zealand. Many seeds can be planted directly into a well-prepared seedbed in the garden in Spring, but they can also be started in seed trays and then seedlings planted out. Planting in trays is a good way of growing plants that need a specified space between them as it ensures efficient germination first and then the seedlings can be spaced appropriately.
Here is some basic advice on growing from seed:
You will need:
- The seeds
If you are sowing in seed trays first:
- Seeds trays or containers (you can use discarded plastic cups, egg trays or boxes)
- Seeding compost (potting soil made especially for starting seeds)
- Spray mister (any clean, well-rinsed, empty spray bottle will do)
How to Sow Seeds
- Fill the seed trays with seeding compost
- Moisten the surface of the compost with your spray mister
- Read the seed packet label for sowing separation and depth (if they are collected seeds check a packet instructions of similar seeds)
- Label your seed trays with the seed type for identification
- Cover the seed tray to keep it moist
- Keep the trays in a warm place out of direct sun
- Uncover the seedlings once they germinate (sprout)
- If needed, transplant the seedlings into smaller, individual pots to give them room
- Plant them out into the well-prepared vegetable garden bed when they are mature enough to be handled*
- Mark the rows with labels to tell you what the seeds/seedlings are
- Harvest and enjoy when mature
*Seedlings grown indoors in the warmth may be “soft” and therefore need to be “hardened off” before planting in the garden. Place seedlings outside during the day and bring them inside at night. After 1-2 weeks the seedlings will be ready to plant in the garden.
Check out the other blogs in the McGregor’s Garden Guide series for help and advice on growing seeds; the series includes vegetable specific guides, seasonal guides, pest and disease prevention, fertilisers, growing for kids and lots of hints and tips.
And when you come to harvest your vegetables and herbs, McGregor’s and 5aday can help you with delicious recipes that make the most of the healthy and flavoursome harvest - check the full range of recipes here.21 September 2020