Growing vegies and herbs from seed can be so rewarding and offers many advantages. It is certainly the most cost effective way to grow food vs buying seedlings, and offers more choice of seed varieties when compared to the limited seedling ranges. If you save some of your own seed as well, you're on the road to self sufficiency too.
At Urban Revolution we recommend open-pollinated heirloom seeds because they are of the highest quality and viability grown or sourced locally within WA. The definition of an heirloom seed is a seed that has been grown and passed down over many generations. Since agriculture began, people have been choosing the qualities they like in a plant and saved those seeds to grow year after year. This plant selection can only be done with open pollinated seed. Open pollination means the flowers are fertilised by bees, moths, bats, birds and even the wind or rain. The seed that forms produces the same plant next year.
Here are our top 10 tips for successfully growing from seed:
1. Choose varieties to grow that you like to eat.
2. Plant the right seeds for the season and your location. Planting patterns will be different for Perth vs Hobart for example.
3. Starting seeds in seedling flats or pots is a good way to keep a close eye on the conditions and give them a bit of extra TLC if required.
4. Re use punnets, yoghurt pots or even plastic meat trays to plant your seeds - rinse them first with hot water and a weak bleach solution to eliminate any bacteria.
5. Standard potting mix is too dense and heavy for seed raising. Seeds need a light and friable mix to aid germination - we love the Green Life Soil Company's Seed Raising Mix which contains cocopeat and vermiculite. Ensure the seed raising mix is damp before adding the seeds.
6. Don't bury seeds too deep - a depth equal to twice the width of the seeds is optimal.
7. Scatter seeds evenly and leave them enough space to grow.
8. Some root crops like carrots and onions are best sewn direct to minimise root disturbance. If you prefer to start in pots or punnets then use biodegradable propagation pots which can be directly transplanted into your garden bed when the seedlings are stronger.
9. Label your seeds. Adding the date they were planted is also useful too.
10. Lightly mist with water - a bottle top sprinkler is a great tool for this. Consistent moisture is the key to germination so ensure the seeds are kept moist but not waterlogged.
Some seeds will take longer than others to germinate - the average is 1-2 weeks, but don't give up hope if your seeds are taking their time as they may be waiting for optimal climate conditions including temperature and humidity.
We'd love to know what seeds you are growing and how they are going. What are your top tips for successfully growing from seed?