Growing from seed is the simplest and most straightforward way of starting your organic vegetable gardening project. After many years of gardening I have never lost the thrill of seeing seeds germinating.
Those first green shoots pushing through the soil and starting their life. However seeds need the right conditions to grow well and it’s up to you to get those conditions right from the start.
To get your organic vegetable gardening off to a good start you need to know the following. Seeds need warmth and moisture to germinate and if you do not get the combination right your seeds won’t grow properly.
Lets start with sowing outside because it needs no specialist equipment and it is probably the simplest way.
Your soil will need to be broken down and raked to level it. Hopefully you will have dug in some compost or leaf mould in the previous autumn which will benefit the soil and the seeds when you come to plant.
An obvious point to remember is not to work on the soil if it is to wet as this will ruin the structure and the soil will bind into large clumps. Also avoid sowing to early in the year, for most seeds the soil temperature should be 7 degrees c (45 deg F).
Start your organic vegetable gardening off with station sowing.
Station sowing, which is sometimes referred to as space sowing, involves sowing your seeds in a tray at the correct distance. It reduces the need for thinning out because only one or two seedlings will need to be removed.
You will need to reduce the number of seedlings in the trays or containers to allow the rest of them room to grow. The way this is down is called thinning out. This needs to be done once the seedlings have germinated and start to compete with each other for light, moisture and nutrients.
You need to thin them out so that their leaves don’t touch. The back of the seed packet should give you the details. From the pots they can be placed in rows and the soil lightly compressed around them and they will need to be watered in.
Starting your organic vegetable gardening inside.
Sowing inside can give you ahead start on growing outside and if you have a greenhouse or cold frame you can start even earlier. If you don’t have either then your window sill will do.
Containers come in all shapes and sizes and aren’t too expensive. The best to use in my opinion are the cell trays and put one seed in each compartment/cell. You will need to start with some organic seed compost or multi purpose compost.
Always use peat free and add some water before planing your seeds as this will prevent them from being pushed further down into the pot by the water in you water after planting your seeds.
Organic vegetable gardening is a joy once you see your seeds begin to grow. After a short while your seedlings will need to be moved out into bigger pots, at this stage keep them out of direct sun light until they are established.
Once established you will need to start putting them outside for a few hours and gradually increase the time that they are outside to get them ready for planting out. After a while they will have acclimatised enough and will be ready to be planted outside.
Before you do this make sure they have been watered and carefully remove from the pots as is and put them in the ground again making sure you give them some water.
With organic vegetable gardening it’s a lot better to find out what you need to know and have a go, the rewards are worth the effort!