Two days before you plan to plant your seeds,
get some planter box mix for bedding plants, and some small peat pots. Wet
the mix before filling peat to half an inch from the top. Put your peat
pots about two inches below fluorescent light bulbs. Put a timer on the
light with an 18 hour on / 6 hour off cycle. This will pre-warm the soil
for the seeds.
To germinate seeds, take a clean coffee cup and
add half a cup of tap water that has been boiled. Let it sit for a couple
of hours until cool (20-25 degrees Celsius), as hot tap water is not good
for plants or seedlings! Add seeds and put in warm place (top of fridge or
in a waterbed drawer, etc.) for 24 hours.
If you have good seeds, about half will have
sprouted a small root tip. Dump seeds onto a paper towel or clean face
cloth. Take your pre-warmed peat pots, use a pencil or your finger to make
a 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep hole in the centre of the pot. Put in one seed, root
tip pointing up, and cover very gently.
Use a spray bottle, set for fine mist and mist
gently (without disturbing the seeds) until soil is saturated. Check
seedlings every few hours so that you can judge when to gently mist. The
surface should not be dry. Peat shrinks when it dries, so if the edges of
the soil look dry, give moisture as needed. When sprouts come up, move them
to within six inches below light.
Transplant when all seedlings have two or three
sets of leaves.
Use one gallon nursery pots and Sunshine Mix #4
(or equal quality product). A four cubic foot amount will fill 52 one
gallon pots. Before you wet the mix, get a dust mask, fine dolomite lime, a
box of bat guano, and one litre of earthworm castings, all for each
one gallon pot. A clean (or new) garbage can or large plastic tub will be
needed to mix your dry ingredients.
To each cubic foot of sunshine mix, add:
1.25 cups of fine dolomite lime
2.5 cups of bat guano
12 litres of earthworm castings
Mix very well (using a dust mask, please). Wet
until just moist, and then fill pots to two inches from top.
Make a small hole in the mix, and pop in the
peat pots just as they are. Stake seedlings now so you won’t disturb any
roots in the new soils.
You should now water your plants, using trays
to catch any excess water. Do not use fertilizers during the first week,
and you shouldn’t need to fertilize at all. Only fertilize if your plants
are pale green or yellow.
If you do fertilize, use fish fertilizer at
half strength first, then two waterings with plain water. Water each plant
only when the pot is in light. A wet/dry cycle is better. A waterlogged
plant grows slow, and is vulnerable to disease and insects.
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