At one point I was growing all my vegetables from seed in a little greenhouse thing I bought. Time constraints got the better of me though and I started buying seedlings. It is time to be inspired to grow my own seedlings again.
Recently I found the most amazing You Tube channel; it’s called ‘Under the Choko Tree’ the name drove me nuts at first because as we all know…choko is a climbing vine not a tree. Aside from the name, the channel offers some great tutorials for making seed raising mix, planting seedlings, making paper pots and making a self watering system for seedlings. The star of the show is Nevin Sweeney, I have been reading his articles in Grass Roots magazine for years and have read his blog for a while too (http://www.underthechokotree.com/).
Nevin’s video tutorial makes it all sound so simple, how could I not give it a go?
Check out his how to make seed raising mix tutorial Here
I used a hummus container (empty obviously) as my measure as the tutorial uses ‘parts’ as its measurement, one hummus container full equals one part. I collected sand from a causeway crossing beside the road, the compost was sieved from the chook pen floor and the coir bulking agent I bought from my local Rural Agent store.
Now I had all the ingredients it was time to get mixing;
The recipe is as simple as 1 part sand, 2 parts compost and 3 parts coir. That’s it, just mix the lot together into a gorgeous looking seed raising mixture and start potting your seeds.
The Choko Tree has a tutorial with advice about planting seeds in punnets too; view it here.
I decided to give Nevin’s advice about planting only a few of each type of plant in each punnet a go. As you can see in the photo, my test punnet has chilli, rockmelon and capsicum in it (two of each). I like this idea as it allows me to plant only a few of the seedlings I don’t need many of (like chilli) and a lot of the ones I need more of (like tomato). It will also let me succession plant seedlings for a more sustained harvest (things like cabbage and lettuce) if I can plant new seeds every two weeks or so I can keep the harvest going for the whole season, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this myself.
Next I built myself a self watering system for the punnets; the tutorial for that one is here.
The basic concept is that water will seep upwards into the punnets from wet sand beneath (as anyone who has ever sat down on a damp beach wearing jeans can attest…capillary action works). I filled my tubs, made from old oil drums sawn in half length-ways, with sand and plunked in a little pot at the end to be used as a holder for the water reservoir (an old juice bottle in my case). My newly planted punnets were just plunked onto the surface of the sand and water was added to the tub and reservoir.
Now to wait until they come up.
While I am waiting I made some colourful stone markers for the seeds I planted directly into the garden. I love these markers and have made them at every school I go to over the last few weeks. For mine at home I went for slightly larger rocks so they won’t get lost in the bushy garden. They don’t need a tutorial; I just used acrylic paint and wrote the names on with a permanent marker once the paint had dried. I did coat them all with clear paint when they were dry though, hoping it will extend the life of the colours.
What do you think?
2 thoughts on “Seedling starting with a self watering system”
Ohhh I like! I’ve tried a few this year and so far the capsicums are working and the cabbage and/or broccoli (i forgot to name them *groan*) … I like this seed mix thing though (going to watch the vid later and give it a go 🙂 ); I’ve got a tonne of silverbeet seeds I want to plant … fingers crossed.
Good luck with your seedlings 🙂
Thanks, I will need luck. I’m so ditzy in the garden; I do so much work then get distracted by another project and the garden slips backwards again. I do love the self watering thing though, maybe this time they will survive.
Congratulations on your capsicum and cabbage (or broccoli), at least you have something on the go.