I have always been ashamed of my performances at growing plants from seeds. Until one day I decided not to read any more books and articles. I did it my way and like good old Franky was singing my dreams came true, plants grew, however New York still isn't mine.
To succeed you will need :
-Seed raising mix (NOT potting mix),
-Toilet paper roll cut in half width wise,
-Plastic tray/old baking dish/ something with holes down the bottom,
-Perlite or vermiculite.
Now, open your eyes as this is getting rather high tech and make your self a cup of tea since it will be a long read!!!
1-Lay your tray with two or three layers of newspaper,
2-Place your cut toilet paper rolls packed tightly in the tray,
3-Fill the rolls 3/4 up with seed raising mix up,
5-Sow your seeds at the desired depth, which should be written on the pack,
6-Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite or perlite (around 1 to 2mm),
7-Water well and keep in a well lit room, but not in direct sunlight.
That's it, THE END!!!!
A little word of advice, wait for you seedlings to have formed their second pair of leaves before you transplant them out and, weather permitting, just pick the whole cell and plant as it is. Refer to picture below.
Now, for those of you who could do with a little more information. The 3 main reasons for the failure of seed embryos developing are; seed raising mix drying out at the surface or the seed being trapped in a waterlogged growing media, bacterial or fungal infection due to lack of hygiene and colder temperatures than those required by the seed to germinate.
Seed raising mix offers perfect drainage, whilst maintaining the appropriate amount of water necessary for seed germination. It also contains less pathogens than commercial or home made potting mix.
Vermiculite and perlite are sterile and will help preserve moisture on the mix surface.
At last, by keeping your tray indoor you will increase your chance of seeds with warmer requirement to sprout and prevent damage from late frosty nights (capsicum being one example). Furthermore, slugs just have no chance of getting a taste of your precious darlings before you do!!!!
Once your seedlings have emerged place the tray outdoor in partial shade during the day and bring it in before it gets dark. Once your seedling have hardened off, you can leave your tray in direct sunlight for longer until they are finally ready to be planted out.
Hardening off means helping your plants to go from a sheltered environment to the real outdoor world. Taking your young plants shopping to your nearest mall is not going to achieve this. Bear in mind that it is the same with kids!!!!
We wish you a Merry Raising Time,