Propagation made easy with Bell Plantation!

As Spring gets closer it is time to start thinking about growing your own vegetables, fruit and plants!

So where to start?

Whilst growing your own might seem a daunting task at first, it doesn’t have to be. You can grow from seed in a small windowsill or you could go all out and use a greenhouse – it is completely dependant on the space and time you have available.

What do I need?

  • Seeds of your choice
  • Seed compost
  • Seed tray / propagator
  • Small Watering Can / Spray Bottle

Start propagating…

Why use Seed compost?

  • This compost has the right formulation of nutrients to nurture the plant at this stage in its life cycle and encourage strong root growth. It’s finer and less lumpy, light and well drained. However, it doesn’t have enough nutrients for older plants
  • Multi-purpose compost can also be suitable for seeds and seedlings

Why propagate?

  • Growing from seed is a less expensive way to stock your garden
  • Plants produced from seed are hardy and have a strong root system
  • Starting the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the average date of the last frost (depending on variety and where you live, check the seed label) can extend the blooming or production time
  • For things like herbs, you can grow more varieties than you can buy as plants in the supermarket

Sowing

1. Ensure your seed trays are new, or clean and sterilised

2. Almost fill trays with seed compost and then water the compost with a watering can with a fine rose before planting the seeds to avoid disturbing the seed once planted. Use tap water rather than from a water butt so as not to introduce infection

3. Sow seeds sparingly to make pricking out easier later (separating the seedlings to pot on)

4. The packet will tell you how deep the seeds need to be sown, but generally seeds need to be planted 1½ times deep as they are in size

5. Cover lightly with compost

6. Write labels with variety and date planted

7. Cover tray with piece of glass, sheet of newspaper or purpose transparent lid until seeds start to germinate

8. Ongoing watering: Water from above (with a watering can with fine rose), trying to avoid wetting the seedlings, or water from below (stand pots in a tray and pour water in to the tray for the soil to soak up)

The progress so far…

1 week on and they have sprouted, although possibly too quickly due to the warmth in our office!

3 weeks later – Our Cabbage seeds are still growing. We have relocated them to a cooler area to ensure there is better root growth, rather than all above the soil!

More information on Propagation:

Hardening off

  • Gradually acclimatise seedlings to being outdoors over the course of around 10 days
  • Put trays/pots in a protected position (sheltered from wind and direct sunlight) for a couple of hours during daylight. If possible, lower the temperature of the greenhouse/propagator for rest of day
  • Gradually increase the amount of time spent outside so that by time of last frost they are used to being outside
  • Cold frames are excellent for hardening off seedlings

Common mistakes when growing from seed

  • Not enough light
  • Too much or too little water
  • Starting seeds to early
  • Planting too deep
  • Temperature too low
  • Bringing them outdoors too soon

Pricking out / potting on

  • Once seedlings have produced their second set of leaves (on average, 4-6 weeks after sowing) they should be large enough to pot on to give them more space to develop
  • Have the new pot ready to transplant in to
  • Hold on to one of the lower leaves (never handle by the stems as they bruise easily) and gently work the roots out so as not to damage them
  • Use a dibber or finger to make a hole in the compost in the new pot and tuck the roots down in to the hole, then gently press the soil in around it
  • Don’t forget to water them

If you need any help or advice please get in touch with us today!

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