Category Archives: Garden Journal

How to raise seeds

30 second executive summary

  1. Soil
  2. Moisture
  3. Warmth

 30 minute summary (Now with decreased mortality!)

Firstly, read the instructions.


Fungal diseases may attack, particularly if the soil mix is too wet or heavy, soil needs to be aerated to avoid this.

Sowing in the ground v.s. in trays

Direct into ground

This is generally simpler, since it doesn’t require any further transplanting, and is suitable for larger, robust  plants and root crops that are hard to transplant.

Preparing the soil

Use a garden fork to slightly lift sections of earth, without turning over completely. Don’t do this when it is wet .

Compost or lime can be added and forked through, though this should be done several weeks apart.

Planting depth

Generally this is proportional to the size of the seeds – twice the diameter of the seed. So for extra fine seeds, they can be placed on the surface, pressed in or covered with a fine layer of sifted soil.


Don’t cover the seeds with mulch, but do mulch between the rows/plants to prevent weeds from competing with your plants. You can cover your seed with an upturned pot, apply the mulch and then remove the pot.

Mulching is essential to avoid the soil drying our and becoming hydrophobic (unable to absorb water). Aim for 10cm of mulch.

Sowing in trays

Useful for:

    • Tiny seeds
    • Precious seeds
    • Seeds that require warmer temperatures, and hence need to be grown indoors

You have a heap of different options…

    • Plastic punnets, you can track these down from a garden center
    • Used milk bottles/cartons or yogurt cups , cut off with drain holes.
    • Commercial solutions
    • Styrofoam boxes with a sheet of glass or plastic on top:
      This forms an insulated, mini glass house. Energy enters the box through the glass, as it hits the soil the wavelength changes and can no longer leave through the glass, building the heat in the box. If you have a smooth topped box, then there is no room for slugs or snails to enter the box! I used mum’s light n easy boxes, but these boxes are everywhere.

This guide is a work in progress, so if you have any pointers or questions please leave them below.

February’s seeds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust thought I would share my progress on the first month’s seeds.

The tray seeds are alive and sprouting, but not particularly big. We bought crap seed-mix after hours from a shop I  normally wouldn’t buy anything from, so maybe that’s why they’re a bit stunted. You can see in the picture that the soil has large bark-like particles which I can’t imaging being good for seeds… they prefer fine soil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWorse progress on the directly planted seeds. They look a bit lost in the garden and the weeds are prolific. The soil also looks a bit dry… serves me right for not mulching. Better luck this month.