Enough about the COVID-19 virus. We are all sitting at home and looking for things to do to keep us entertained. Gardening is relaxing and growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding. A great thing to do with your little ones as well. Maybe you have never given yourself time to do some gardening, well you have enough time now. So roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
We have just entered Autumn but you can still start growing your winter veges. Typical vegetables to grow during this time of the year are spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beetroot, silverbeet, winter lettuce, brussel sprout, leeks and carrots. There are also winter herbs you can sow now like oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary.
Most seeds can be sowed outside directly in the garden bed or if you would like a quicker germination sow them in punnets inside.
Sowing seeds directly in your garden bed
The first thing to do is to dig enough compost and general fertilizer into your soil to make sure your seedlings will have enough food to grow. Water the area well and flatten it with your hands. Most people prefer to sow their seeds in rows as it looks tidy and you can easily mark your vegetables. On most seeds packets you will find instructions how far apart you sow your seeds, as it differs per vegetable. But in general when seeds are very small like carrots seeds just sprinkle them in rows along your garden bed. You can mix the seeds with a bit of sand to prevent sowing too close. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
Bigger seeds like cabbage are easier to space out and can be sowed roughly a hand size apart. Sow them a centimeter deep and cover with soil. Basically make a little hole with your finger, place the seed and close the hole again. Keep the soil moist and don’t let it dry out. Better to use a water spray in the beginning to prevent the seeds from washing away.
Sowing your seeds in punnets
To keep better control on your seed germination you can also sow your seeds indoors. You can use your old plastic punnets you might have stored in your garage or make little punnet from toilet rolls or fold a pot from newspaper (https://treadingmyownpath.com/2017/04/13/zero-waste-diy-newspaper-pots/ ).
Fill your pots or punnets with soil and water well. The ideal situation is to use seedling mix as it is sterile and all big bark pieces are taken out. But your might not have this handy. You can also use normal potting mix and take out the big bark pieces by sieving with your kitchen sieve or colander.
Again sprinkle the seeds over the soil and cover it lightly with the potting mix or seedling mix. Water again. To cover seed in punnets I use vermiculite as it keep you soil moist for a longer period.
Bigger seeds can be pressed in the soil and covered up. You might use one little pot per seed. Keep watered untill seed have germinated.
During this time of isolation you won’t be able to have a trip to you local garden center and buy all you need. So we need a bit of kiwi engineering to make things possible. You might have bought some seeds before the lock down. I have seen that Kingsseeds is still able to deliver online orders during lock down so you can always buy your seeds there (kingsseeds.co.nz).
If you have any question you can always send me an email and I might be able to help you out. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Enjoy and have fun!