Preparing for spring and summer planting-growing seedlings
So this week’s blog will wrap up my series on getting prepared for spring planting.
We have our seeds in hand and our beds prepared, so with just a small amount of time each week we can now start getting our plants started.
I like to spend just ½ an hour every week on either direct sowing seeds and/or producing seedlings. This is possible because the beds are pre-prepared and I have all of the seeds I require close at hand.
By planting something every week, it means I can be harvesting something every week.
If you are not confident with directly sowing seeds into your garden or growing your own seedlings check out my lesson on “Producing vegetable seedlings”.
Don’t be tempted to start madly sowing seeds and filling up the whole area you have prepared in a few weeks.
Planting a little often is the best way to replace the “feast and famine” cycle of production with consistent and even production.
Consistent and even production keeps food on the table all year, gives us a great sense of satisfaction and utilises our labour and resources for maximum benefit.
Have a look at my lesson “Getting started with your Annual Vegetable Garden” to give you some tips on working out how much of each crop to grow. Then look at the lesson “Year Round Production”.
This will give you plenty of hints on spreading your production over the whole year and most importantly tips on successive planting.
Successive planting is the key to having consistent production.
Along the east coast, the weather will be still cool enough to get another crop of quick maturing cool season plants, like spinach and a variety of Asian greens, in. Do not be tempted to grow these plants as seedling (or buy punnets of seedlings) and plant out, as they will tend to bolt due to transplanting shock. Sow directly where they are to grow ( in situ).Once they have germinated, feed regularly for quick growth.
I am still getting rocket and mesclun lettuce to germinate, so continue to successive plant these two crops to ensure you have enough mixed leaves for salads. I know it is still a bit cold to be overly enthusiastic about salads, but a small salad alongside a piece of quiche is wonderful all year and a staple lunchtime meal for me.
The soil is still too cool to plant out most of the warm season crops like tomato, capsicum, cucurbits and beans, but we can be starting seedlings inside in a nice bright warm spot, such as a north facing window sill.
Again slow and steady is the answer – don’t be tempted to plant a whole packet of tomato seed, just plant four to six seeds and once they have germinated choose the four strongest seedlings and discard the two weakest.
Then in a month’s time pop in another six seeds and so on until February. This way you should have tomatoes from December through to May.
Maintain these plants as you would any seedling and repot into a slightly larger pot until they can be put into the ground. Try and put them outside during the day, unless particularly cold, and bring them inside at night. When the soil temperate is warm enough, usually by October, pop them into your prepared beds and watch them thrive.
These methods of production can be used for most annual vegetables, so don’t hesitate, get out there today and plant something!
Happy Gardening, Kathy