Saturday, November 7, 2015

Second step in gardening - preplanting

Once we had the seeds all labelled, the kids and I planted the seeds. More than my planned amount with aim of reaching the targets in successful germination. I raided the craft box for popsicle sticks to label our seeds.
We are trialling a couple of different seed growing trays.

We have cutdown toilet rolls in an eggbox (free and recycling), - the eggroll design. We planted the pumpkins, zucchinis and crookneck squash seeds in these. Zucchinis all grew and fast. The squashes and pumpkins not so fast and also not such a high germination rate. The crooknecks were the slowest seeds to germinate - from the kids' perspective the seeds were all in a race and the crooknecks lost badly. We learnt after the first planting that the seeds need to be planted vertical with the narrow end facing down. The kids had planted these but when they weren't germinating, I planted some more in the correct orientation. Now they are germinating happily.

Option two was a Mitre 10, 40 seedling box with a lid (approximately $13). This what we planted with capiscums (a mixed seed pack) and brandywine seeds. The brandywines raced ahead in the germination race but since then won't stand up. My attempt to help them stand with toothpicks has about a two plant success rate. I hope when their stems strengthen and as they grow bigger, I will be able to stake them on replanting.

Option three is a plastic tray for bbq meat and a rectangle seedling tray (approximately $7). In this I planted the mortgage lifter tomatoes. These are very sturdy plants and great success rate with germination. The other half of the tray is the crystal apple cucumbers. These started well but have started lying down. The number of healthy plants is dwindling. I keep giving them more water because I think that is the problem.

We used the same potting mix in all of them.
All three solutions seem to be working well. The box from Mitre 10 is the tidiest and easiest to protect the plants because it has a lid. Option 3 the tray on a tray, is the easiest to move around - from inside to outside. The toilet rolls look the less tidy but are working well for the bigger plants of the zucchinis, squashes and pumpkins. I should be able to plant these directly into the ground.
Now the plants are getting bigger, I put them outside each day and bring them in every night. The problem with caring for my plant babies and watering them attentively is while I wanted to not be bothered if this year's gardening amounts to nothing and not expecting self sufficiency in vegetables. I now have a spreadsheet with a column for yield and I don't want to write pitiful.

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.