Introduction: Need for Seed

It's that time of year again, spring has sprung, time to start the garden growing.
I've got the propagators, got the seeds, got the seed compost.
Lets get started.

Step 1: The Mix

I have used a good seeding compost and added about 20% Perlite.
This will retain moisture and make the mix free draining, with the added advantage of air eating the compost.
All seeds want to grow, you give them heat, light, compost and moisture, you'll have a plant in no time.

If you are using Perlite be careful when you open the bag, 
the white dust cloud can cause irritation to your eyes and breathing.
The fine powder cloud will try to absorb any moisture in your eyes nose and throat.

Step 2: Fill Em Up

Break up any lumps in the compost, discard any hard bits.
when you are happy with the texture, add it to the modules.

Strike off the excess compost,
i,e, draw a straight edge down the tray to level it off.
Now lift the tray about 3 inches off the bench and drop it a couple of times.
This will settle the compost.
Don't compress the compost, light and loose give the seed a better chance to get established.

Step 3: Seed the Tray

Care should be taken at this stage.
Most seeds are tiny,
you don't have to bury the seed in compost.
Drop a couple of seed onto the surface of each module.
You can sift very fine compost over the seed, or even fine Vermiculite.

I am studying Horticulture at college,
I have visited various commercial growers, country park head gardeners and urban collectives.
They all have their own way of doing this.

Step 4: Watering

I have noticed people soaking their seed trays with a watering can....DON,T DO THIS
As we have said before, the seeds are very often tiny.
They could be washed away doing this.

Using the base tray, pour about an inch of water into the tray,
now place the seed module tray into the base, the water will be taken up by
capillary action.
If you feel it needs it, you can spray a fine mist over the top of the seeds.

Step 5: Label Up and Cover

Lift the module tray into a fresh base tray.
You will feel the weight difference as the water has been taken up.

REMEMBER to label what is in each row.

Cover the tray to keep the moisture in.

Step 6: Need More Labels

I ran out of labels, if you need more.
Get a milk carton, clean it and cut into strips,
dry them off and write what you need.
You can also use plastic yogurt pots, egg trays and cake trays for seeding.

Step 7: Take Care

Make sure the trays don't dry out.
Keep an eye on the growing crop.
Make sure they don't get too "leggy" to support them selves.
If this happens move them out of the light to retard the growth.
If you have it, put them in a cold frame, before the get too leggy.
Once the seedlings are established, remove the cover.
This will stop damping off,"wet rot" and mold.

Be very very careful that your new crop never gets exposed to frost.

When ready, prick out and pot on the young plants.

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