Here is the original post by Anne-Marie from June 2011. We miss you. Hope you are having a wow of a time in your mobile home.
Let’s get seed-raising for our First Birthday Spring Fair celebration so we can have spectacular flowers, vegetables and herbs growing throughout the garden.
Here’s how to start your seeds growing in winter, for spring planting, by making up a seed protection box using one of those foam boxes you can pick for free from a green grocery shop/fruit market (they usually throw them out so just make sure the boxes are without holes in the bottom or sides).
What you need to get the seeds growing:
- 1 protection foam box
- Either single cell punnets or multi cell punnets (clean with warm soapy water and dry before adding growing mixture
- Seeds (one variety per punnet; if you have enough seed then one variety per box)
- Seed growing mix
- Masking tape
- Permanent marker
- Plastic spray bottle filled with water
- Clear plastic (enough to cover top of box to keep seeds & young seedlings warm)
- 4 sticks for box (sticks should be the height of box plus 6”)
- A couple of bricks or something to hold the 4th side down
What to do:
- Cut the foam box down to 2” above height of seed punnets.
- Use the masking tape to tape a stick to each inside corner of the foam box
- Label each punnet using masking tape (or paddle pop sticks). If you have the same seeds for the whole box just write the name of the seed etc on the outside of the box.
- Add a very thin layer of water to bottom of foam box.
- Fill punnets with prepared plant raising mix
- If the seeds are very small put about 2 to 3 seeds per cell for multi-cell punnets. Larger seeds put 2 in each cell.
- Very lightly spray the punnets with water using the plastic spray bottle.
- Use the clear plastic to cover the box. Take it over the top of the sticks and down over the 4th side of the box. Tape plastic to 3 sides on the box but leave the 4th side loose. Don’t tape this side down as you need to be able to water the seeds with the spray bottle. Just tuck the plastic under a couple of bricks to hold it down over the box and to keep the seeds from the weather.
- Put the box in a sheltered place but with plenty of light. Once the seedlings are up you can gradually bring them out into the sun and when there are stronger you can take the plastic off and they should be ready for transplanting into the community garden.
- Make sure that the seeds do not dry out but also make sure that you don’t have them swimming in water. When the seeds come up watere regularly and don’t let them dry out.
- Once the seedlings are growing strongly we can start planting them.
Here’s a list of plants that will grow well at the community garden:
- Johnny-Jump-ups Viola tricolor
- Small Snapdragons Antirrhinum majus
- Yellow gem marigolds
- Cornflowers Centaurea cynaus
- Sundews Portulacas (these can also be grown from small plant cuttings)
- Carnations Dianthus caryophyllus
- Pinks Dianthus
- Impatiens Impatiens wallerana
- Native Violets & Violets
Salad greens :
- Migunette lettuce (Red and green)
- Butter lettuce
- Rainbow Chard
- English Spinach & Spinach
- Coriander or Cilantro
- Bee Balm Monarda didyma
- French Lavender
- Angelica Angelica archangelica
- Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum
- Borage Borago officinalis
- Burnet Sanquisorba minor
- Marjoram (will grow by cuttings)
- Sage (any different species would be great) we already have the common Sage and Pineapple Sage (will grow by cuttings)
- Ground cover rosemary (will also grow by cutting)
- Lemon thyme
- Ground cover thyme
- Common thyme
- Chives and garlic chives
- French Tarragon
If you have any other herbs to spare that would be great as we will start up a herb garden
Another homemade small greenhouse can be made using a large plastic soft drink bottle.
- Take the lid off and keep for use after you have completed your greenhouse
- Cut the plastic bottle in half (lengthways) using a knife
- Put growing soil in one half of the container and sow tomato seeds in this
- Spray with water
- Use masking tape to seal up the two sides of the bottle
- You can put the lid back on
- Water through the lid as needed (keep the soil moist but not wet
- Put near a window but not too close (keep it warm but not hot)
- Watch your seeds grow and when they are near the top of the little greenhouse then they are ready to plant.
Some other plant growing containers
You can also use a foam box (this time with holes) and plant tomato seeds in there (use a good soil mix with plenty of old manure for this one)
Use a very large clear plastic bag over the whole box and water as necessary (again keep the soil moist but not wet). You should get a lot of seeds come up this way.
The same method can be used with an ordinary pot to grow cuttings or seeds. Use a small pot for seeds and larger one for cuttings.
You also need some sticks to hold the plastic bag up and masking tape to hold the bag down around the pot. Same deal water as needed.
MVCG’s Roving Gardener