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Seed Sowing 101 & A bit about cool Flowers...

Its almost autumn! (I know! Where did the time go?) Now is a great time to sow selected seeds for spring. "What? Why are you starting them now that's crazy!" Well..."Spring starts in autumn"

Some flowers actually prefer a cool start!

In regards to flower growing we want nice long stems and happy flowers. There are heaps of plants that love having a cool period in order to grow nice and strong so we start them in autumn. Here's a list of some 'cool flowers': Scabious (which we are growing in our grow-along) statice, snap dragon, strawflower, poppies, sweet william, larkspur and stock to name a few.

How do they survive over winter? Well, they're called hardy annuals and this means they can survive the cold. Its a win win. You start now and are rewarded with flowers sooner in spring. Note: Hardy annuals tolerate cold NOT a hard frost After they have germinated we will prick them out and grow them on further, then we will plant them out before the risk of frost and let them settle in. Remember: These will need to grow in the garden or in a pot over winter (protected from hard frosts)

Jo Moore Photography

Grow-Along with me! If you fancy giving it a go we can do it together, the world certainly needs more flowers so lets grow! The flower we will grow is scabious (pin cushion flower) and after germination test my seed is ready to go. Collect a packet from me here in Kapiti and grab the following materials: SEED STARTING 101:A GUIDE FOR SOWING ANY SEED You will need: - Seed raising mix (fresh is best) - A tray or pot to hold your soil and seedlings. Plastic punnets from cherry tomatoes are also awesome just make sure there's a lid and it has drainage holes. - You can also use a 3L or 2L translucent milk bottle which acts as a mini greenhouse (I highly recommend this method for new growers (more on this below)


Step 1: Fill your seed tray with the seed mix (Do this in a well ventilated area, wear a mask and gloves) Step 2: Water the mix so it is damp but not soggy, avoid watering afterwards as it will dislodge your seeds Step 3: Place your seeds on top of the mix TOP TIP - Research what conditions your seeds prefer to germinate - some prefer darkness! - Scabious seeds for example need light to germinate so don't bury them. If in doubt google it

Step 4: You can cover lightly with vermiculite/very fine grit OR use a sprinkle of seed mix. Grow-along followers - we want the seeds to sit on the surface with a very light covering. We want the seeds to make contact with the soil basically. Step 5: If you have a lid to your seed tray or punnet place that on now, OR use a plastic see-through bag, this helps keep the moisture and warmth in making it nice and cozy for germination. Place somewhere warm and light and don't let them dry out. Use a saucer or lid to catch any excess water. Water from below.

Step 6: Check on them at least 15 times a day (just me then?) You should start to see signs of life aka little green shoots at 5-7 days it may take longer. DONT WORRY if you don't see anything at first! Seeds germinate at different rates. Need help or have questions - just message me! Here's the video for a visual of how I do it

MILK BOTTLE GREENHOUSES This is the method that I find the best for growers who are new at starting off seeds. Its cheap and easy to set up plus they are reusable and widely available. I'm using a 2L translucent milk bottle here but it works with any size.

The beauty of these is that the milk bottle creates the perfect environment for the seeds to start off, it controls the moisture and the light for you.

You will need: Milk Bottle - Craft knife or scissors - Marker Pen - Something to make drainage holes - Seed raising mix, seeds and a saucer or tray to catch drips

Step 1: Clean out your milk bottle and make drainage holes on the base Step 2: Mark a line all the way around with a marker (or you can use tape) at one third from the bottom of the bottle Step 3: Cut along the line so you have two separate pieces

Step 4: Fill the bottom piece with your damp seed mix Step 5: Add your seeds (remember to research if they need to be covered or not) cover if necessary Step 6: Replace the lid of the milk bottle so it over laps and sits securely onto the base. Label including the date Place the milk bottle somewhere light such as a window sill (not in direct sunlight as this will cook your seeds and dry out the mix!) Keep an eye on moisture levels. Check 15 times a day ;) Heres the video of how I make them...

And finally... Starting seeds can be really intimidating! remember that given the right environment they will grow when they have everything they need to do so. Sometimes it works well, others not so much, I'm not an expert I just keep doing it over and over and I've learnt what works for me - hence me sharing with you. I would LOVE to see your progress!! Message me, send me pics and remember I'm here for any questions at all. Best advice - GO FOR IT!!

Jo Moore Photography

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