Seeds…ahh

When I looked back at my notes from seed season last year, I saw that of the 25 tomato seeds I planted only 10 germinated and none of the chilli seeds germinated.  I only planted heirloom seeds last year and was hoping for a bumper 2015 tomato year, in fact it was the worst year in my planting history!

I think we gardener’s are the eternal optimists,  a new season brings fresh hope of bumper crops and past failures are just that, in the past!

This year I have been better at sowing and getting my seeds to germinate, what’s different this  year I hear you ask?

  • I did my first sowing 27th July a whole month earlier than last year.
  • Purchased all new seed from Lambley in Victoria.
  • Set up a misting system in the green house.
  • Used my heat mat for all Chillies and Capsicums.

I am super happy to say that all of my tomato’s & capsicums have germinated, the new tomato seeds from Lambley are  hybrid F1, I chose Elmo a mini grape and Roma masai a roma, 8 of each, from what I have read they have good disease resistance which is what I wanted after last year.

 

Harvesting

I didn’t plant any significant crops over winter so most of my beds are ready to be planted out, I have been harvesting lettuces, beetroots, carrots, coriander, parsley.

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Sowing

Plenty of seed sowing still to be done:

  • beetroot    10-14 days to germinate
  • carrot         14-21
  • beans          7-10
  • chives        10-14
  • coriander  10-14
  • dill               10-12
  • lettuce         6-10
  • pak choi      7-10
  • peas              7-10
  • rocket           6-10

Jobs to do and events to go to

Keep on top of weed management, which means don’t let any weeds go to seed!

In Adelaide Sat 24th Sept the Seed freedom festival is on again at the market shed on holland St. here is my review from last year it was fantastic.

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Adelaide again, the happy patch community garden is having their spring fair 17th Sept.

I am hoping to go to both so might see you there.

If you are on Instagram or twitter say hi, I’m gardeninghands I would love to see your gardens.

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Thanks to the girls from Garden share collective, Kate and Krystie who each month encourage us to share our gardens and what we are growing.

 

 

 

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Poppies

jelly beans

californian jelly beans

I am determined to have more poppies in my garden over the coming months and have started sowing their tiny seeds.  It does say to sow them direct, I can see why,  the Iceland seedlings are so small I’m not sure how I will get them out of the punnets.  That will be another post!

These seeds are available from Diggers.

What is the best seed raising mix?

Beans up in 4 days

Beans up in 4 days

Over the years I have tried different seed raising mixes mainly commercial ones they all look a little different but germination has mostly been the same.  I have been using a homemade mix that has been working well for me and thought I would share it.  Using this my seeds are sprouting really very quickly faster than in the commercial mixes I had been using.

  • Peat   – is coir fibre which I buy in a compressed block add water and let it expand.
  • River sand – or sandpit sand as it is commonly known and sold by the small bag.
  • Mixture is 1:1

Keeping the seedling alive!

This year I am determined not to allow my seedlings to dry out so have devised a plan….

  • I decided to use a wicking like method so the seedlings don’t have to fully rely on     me for survival.
  • I went to my local floor covering store and bought a smallish piece of felt underlay.
  • cut this out to sit on the bottom of my heated tray.
  • The seed trays I use have cut outs in the side and some in the bottom so that moisture when needed is drawn up from the bottom of the felt.
  • Make sure the felt is always moist not too wet or the seeds stay wet and wont germinate, this has happened to my spinach so I have had to re-seed.
  • I have been checking daily and none of my trays have dried out.

So far so good as they say!  I will let you know if I come across any other problems with this method.

Another quick share are these seed watering heads, I love them!  They screw to the top of an old plastic bottle. I Got them from Diggers the spray is gentle and fine and they don’t disturb the soil  and blast your seeds.

seed watering heads

bottle top waterer’s

What seed raising mix are you using for your seeds?

Autumn…. a welcome relief in the vegetable garden

carrot in seed

Carrot and lettuce in seed for saving.

Autumn is my favourite time in the garden, I can stay outside all day on the weekends digging,weeding, planning and planting, still with a hat on but I don’t have to worry about getting sun-burnt even with sunscreen on!

What I am harvesting from the garden in March:

  • still getting a few roma tomatoes
  • cucumbers, my favourite is the mini muncher
  • bush beans
  • capsicums
  • eggplant – it has just started producing
  • rhubarb
  • beetroot
  • herbs – basil sweet & thai, oregano,thyme,rosemary,mint
  • chillies

Seeds I have planted:

  • Broccoli –  red spouting, De Cicco
  • Mini cabbage
  • Lettuce – freckles & heirloom mix & cos
  • Peas – purple podded dutch pea
  • spinach – bloomsdale
  • carrots
  • Pak choy
  • Poppies
  • Primula
  • beans – sun baby, sex without strings – description from an old seed catalogue reads

“sensuous and tender, the golden curves of this dwarf butter bean are available to all –  with no strings attached.”

To do this month:

  • Remove some Kikuyu from 2 beds for autumn planting
  • Add compost to the beds
  • Add some lime to the beds for the brassicas
  • Do a summer/autumn prune of the fruit trees
carrot in seed

Beds for de-grassing

Perfect time for carrots!

Carrots sown now make good growth and slow down in winter so they can be harvested a few at a time.  Two things to remember about carrots:

  • They love light sandy soils
  • Spread Complete ‘D’ in shallow holes 5cm away from where you have planted them about four weeks after seedlings appear, not at sowing time as high nutrients at germination causes the roots to fork.

Thanks to Malcolm Campbell from 891 talk back gardening Sunday morning for that tip!

I hope that you have had an amazing Summer in the garden and are ready to welcome Autumn. How is your garden going this month?

Seeds or Seedlings…. that is the question

I love seeds, when you see that first show of life, a little green head poking out, for me it is one of the most exciting things!

This time of year in both hemispheres of the world fellow gardeners and bloggers are getting their seed fixes.  I have seen magnificent seed charts, read a great story about obsessive seed disorder (O-Seed-D) and spent hours deciding what seeds to plant myself. All that time I have spent deciding and looking has made me late in planting the seeds I need for my autumn/winter harvest.

Hello seedlings!  The saviors of my garden for those many times when:

  • I have been late in planting seeds
  • Or when I have neglected my seeds and they have dried out
  • Not many have germinated
  • I just need 1 or 2 more for that spot
  • They have been reduced!  I can almost never refuse a seedling in need of a loving home…

So in my garden both seed and seedling have a place, how about in yours?