The Essential Guide to Seed Sowing - Successful Seeding while Saving Time.
Spring is here and whilst we wait for the last frost date in most places in the UK, the seed sowing season is very much in full swing. Sometimes the list of seeds to sow can be daunting and we heavily rely on either our crop plans or the back of seed packets to remind us of the “how’s and when’s” to sow our seeds.
Sowing seeds fills us with hope, for the season ahead, for the food on the table and for the future of our farms, allotments or gardens. But sometimes it can be a long task getting through the lost list and so here’s our list of essential or time saving pieces of kit to help you sow seeds.
1.) Good Quality Seed Trays - One of the most frustrating things when planting out your seedlings can be trays that don’t let the little plant babies go. It can waste a lot of time prying them from the trays, and often lead to damaged trays that need replacing each year.
Have you heard of air pruning? In normal seed trays their is just a small hole at the bottom of each cell. The roots grow down towards the bottom and then end up wrapping around the cell in a circular direction which can lead to a plant becoming root bound in it’s cell if left too long.
Winstrip Trays have a strip that extends the entire bottom of the cell with a slit that reaches the corners, when the roots get to the bottom of the cell they are “air pruned”. The roots try to circle but hits the air in the corners that are open and stops, this promotes more roots to grow rather than the same ones wrapping round which in turn makes the transplant much stronger.
2.) Want Less Plastic On Your Farm? Then Soil Blocking might be for you. We have been using a Ladbrooke Soil Blocker for the last few years and love the perfect little blocks it makes. Without the need for seed trays the blocker creates compressed soil blocks to sow seeds directly in to, and the blocks provide the benefit of air pruning plus the benefit of not disturbing roots at all whilst transplanting. This ends up with significantly less transplant shock when planting out your crops.
The soil blockers come in a range of sizes for varying soil blocks and ease of use, whilst they take a bit of practice to master the “mix” (of compost and water), once you have got it down they are a dream to work with.
3.) Precise Seeder for Direct Seeding - Using a precision seeder for our direct seeded crops changed our lives and we cannot remember getting on without one. Before we started using the Jang Seeder it took us around an hour to fully seed a 30metre carrot bed by hand, now with the Jang it takes 10 minutes from getting the seeder from the tool shed filling it with seed, seeding the bed, emptying it and returning all the kit back to the shed.
Plus, the precision of the seed rollers adjustable sprockets/chain and the brush within the seeder all leads to seeds falling exactly where we need them, this removes the tedious job of pruning out the seedlings that have grown too close. Something we always dreaded with carrots for sure. The Jang Seeder is now used on our farm for carrots, parsnip, radish, spinach, turnips and lettuce mix… Plus can be used for so much more.
And if the Jang is just a bit out of reach in pricing then the new Cresco Seeder with seed plates much like the Earthway Seeder might be perfect for you.
Time Saving Tip for Transplanting or Direct Seeding: Do away with tangled string lines or rope in your garden and get yourself a gridder. These gridders from Neversink farm have different spaces and can quickly be run down a bed in one move and will quickly line out exactly where your seedlings or seeders need to go. You can go back and put the seeder across the width of the bed too and create a grid for exact spacing for transplanting. It saves a huge amount of time across a season.
We hope these seed sowing tips are helpful, and please do let us know any of yours by getting in touch on our instagram… Follow us and drop us a message here: https://www.instagram.com/reagtools/