August is the month for sowing a lot of herbs and veggies in Sydney (it doesn’t seem to matter whether you classify this as a temperate or sub-tropical zone), though the first of August might be a bit over-keen because the nights still drop to single digit temperatures. My earlier failed attempts at starting spring plants in winter have given me pause to rethink my approach so I’m trying a seed tray in the house where the plants will get sun and hopefully be a bit warmer. I’m not yet resorting to putting a cover over them (like a plastic bag) though maybe I should. It’s just that’s quite a bit messier and it was pretty much a failure with my basil.
Anyway, I took an old egg carton (saved from being composted which would be its normal fate) and filled it with fresh compost. Then I put 2 seeds in each cup. I have a strong hunch that the cup isn’t deep enough but I’m trying to find a way to avoid the root damage that comes from transplanting seedlings that are sown in clumps.
I sowed a different type of seed in each pair of cups as follows (left to right):
- Capsicum seeds harvested from the capsicum we grew.
- Capsicum seeds harvested from a capsicum purchased at the store.
- Russian Chamomile seeds (a lot more than 2 per cup) harvested at my Organic Gardening class.
- Eggplant seeds purchased from the shops.
- Roma Tomato seeds purchased from the shops.
- Cherry Tomato seeds purchased from the shops.
I sowed the seeds maybe 1/4 inch deep except for the chamomile which is just under the surface. I placed the “seed tray” on a serving platter and set it on a table that holds a bunch of my indoor plants. Nothing left to do but observe nature in action.
Update: 3 Sept. This experiment is officially a failure. Much of what I planted did sprout (I had to keep it wet enough to where the carton cup itself stayed damp) but didn’t grow. Today I moved all the dirt out (including 2 tiny and probably confused worms) into larger seedling trays. When moving the plants I found the larger ones (only 1 1/2 inches high) had pushed their roots through the bottom of the egg carton. The cups clearly aren’t big enough for seedlings and I think they dry out too easily and really just aren’t fit for purpose.
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