The Art of Sowing, Transplanting, and Planting Your Garden
I am certain many of us out there are quite capable of saying, why ever would an experienced gardener want to write a book on sowing, transplanting, and planting a garden. Everybody who knows a bit about gardening knows exactly how to do the sowing of seeds, transplanting plants, and even planting the seedlings.
Ah, but then they do not know that there is a precise art to all these activities, which have been in use for millenniums, so that you can get a bountiful crop, instead of seedlings which are just wilting away or seeds that failed to germinate.
This book is going to give you a lot of tips and techniques, on how you can do the sowing, planting, and transplanting of your plants, as well as the necessary thinning when required. Naturally, the first priority of a gardener, whether he is an experienced gardener or a newbie is to find where he can get the best available seed.
Choosing the Best Seeds
So, the first commonsense tip is that you are going to buy the seed, which is native to your own particular area, and which has been growing in that area. For millenniums. You find it rather difficult to grow exotic plants, in the initial stages, especially when you are living in a cold zone, and those plants are hothouse tropical raced dainty “darlinks.” That is why you are going to take the advice of an experience nursery man to tell you which seed to plant when and where.
Apart from seeds, your favorite nursery is also going to give you a large number of plants which you can replant in your garden.
When you are choosing your nursery man, make sure that he does not have a variety in his catalog, telling you that the seed is a giant hybrid, – supposedly rare and thus expensive to boot – and what you are going to get is a mixture of seeds from every single plant and bulb produced in his nursery, regardless of whether it is a large variety, or a small variety.
On the other hand, if you find a nursery man who is really methodical about taking the utmost care when saving the seeds of a variety of onions, he is marketing to you, within a few years; you are going to see that he is going to get more customers than the previous nursery man.
So remember that it is possible to have a variety of any vegetable you like and for one firm to be very careful about selection and for another firm to be very careless about the seeds being sold to you. In one case, you are going to get less seed, even though they are going to be seeds of a better strain in the other case, you are going to get more seeds, but they are not going to be of a good strain.
Things Not to Do
First of all, here is one commonsense rule. Do not sow old seeds. However, there are exceptions to the rule, like in the case of celery. But as far as possible, you would want fresh seeds. That is because you do not want disappointments when you are keeping seeds of one sort and another from year-to-year. So remember to sow good new seed, which have been bought this season.
It is also not going to pay, either to save your own seed. Even though I know plenty of gardeners who do exactly that. The thing is that you are not giving yourself a chance to let other plant varieties grow in your garden, because you have one particular plant producing plenty of seeds. However, once again here also. You have exceptions to every rule. For example, runner beans seeds when picked from your own plants in your own garden are going to give you a bountiful harvest. However, the strain of that particular variety of runner beans, which you are sowing continuously year after year from your own home saved seeds is going to deteriorate with the passing of time.
So leave the saving of the seeds to professional firms that know, and specialize in particular crops.
Sowing of Seeds
Ask any traditional gardener, who has been using the time-tested methods of sowing seeds of how he does that in his garden, and he is going to tell you all about the old-fashioned way. This is by getting out a drill of the right depth. After that, the seeds are going to be sprinkled along this drill thinly.
To make certain that the seed sowing is done thinly enough, some gardeners may mix their seed quantities with powdered peat, sand, dry earth, and similar carrier material, especially if the seed is very small.
The seed is then going to be taken in one hand and sown as seen in the picture.
Sowing in Stations
One of the most time wasting activities of which I can think is to sow seeds in rows, and then spending lots of time and energy in thinning them out afterwards. Also, during the thinning operation, your plants are going to be disturbed. This is not going to do them any good at all in the long run. For example, carrots and onions, are so delicate, that the moment the little seedlings are disturbed and some sort of damage done to them, they are going to let out a particular aroma, which is going to attract a number of pests, including carrot flies and onion flies.
Transplanting and Planting
In the case of the cabbage family, it is usual for the gardener to raise the plants in what you call a seedbed. After that you are going to remove the seedlings and plant them out where they have to grow. In the same way, you are also going to raise leeks in the seed beds. Celery plants are grown in boxes or in frames, along with cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweetcorn.
The great thing about planting and transplanting, and in many cases it is often both, your top priority is to disturb the roots as little as possible. Some cabbage plants. For example, Savoys are quite hardy and are going to put up with a good deal of “rough handling”. On the other hand, plants like Cauliflowers are complete prima donnas, and you have to treat them with the utmost care. Apart from this, cauliflower always has to be planted at shallow depths, otherwise they are not going to give you large heads or “curds” as they are often called in gardening terms.
This book has given you plenty of information on how you can make sure that your plans germinate with a high success rate. Actually, I prefer organic fertilizer and compost, and sometimes, when it is not readily available or you do not have the time to make it in your garden, you are going to make do with the globally known John Innes compost, which also gives you potting compost.
Here is the traditional composition of John Innes compost, for a DIY person.
John Innes Compost – Potting and Seed Compost
Seed compost is made up of one part of sedge peat by bulk, and one part by bulk course sand mixed with 2 parts by bulk medium loam. For each bushel of this mixture, after mixing with the sand, you are going to add ¾ ounces of ground chalk or limestone. John Innes compost mixtures have one and a half ounces of super phosphate in it, that is why I do not like this particular, though very popular, chemical-based fertilizer.
Potting compost is going to consist of 3 parts by bulk of sedge peat, 2 parts by bulk of course sand and 7 parts by bulk of medium loam. To each bushel of the above mixture after you have mixed in the sand, you are going to add ¾ ounces of limestone or ground chalk, one and a half ounces of hoof and horn mixture [1/8 grist], 3/4 ounces of potassium sulfate, and one and a half ounces of super phosphate.
So watch your garden grow,
Live Long and Prosper!