Monique Ellis led an engaging Zoom session on preparing and sowing seeds for a dry season garden. Mon took us on a garden planning and planting journey. She introduced tools like seasonal sketching and photographing, organising your seeds by size or season and working backwards to work out the best time to plant.
The weather right now can be oppressive! We start looking forward to cooler times, a reprieve. This typically comes at the end of April, and into the start of May. However, be mindful that the changing climate means traditional seasons are in flux. Cooler weather is a signal to the plants, and to us, that it’s a good time to put certain seedlings into the ground.
To have seedlings ready by May, you might find these tips helpful:
- sow them in February (indoors if too hot outside)
- Use a waterproof/plastic container next to a sunny window. It provides humidity and can be used as a wicking bed to conserve water use
- Grow your seeds in individual containers or cells
- If you purchase seedlings from the nursery during the hot time, pot them into their own “cells” and nurse them inside or under protection until the weather cools
- If raising seedlings outside, shade them and cover with netting to prevent bug attacks (so many bugs this time of year!)
Other general seed raising and gardening tips:
- Use ¾ premium potting mix to ¼ river sand when making your seed raising mix, OR purchase an all in ready-made mix like seedling and cutting mix (with inbuilt slow release fertilisers)
- If making your own mix, feed your seedlings fortnightly with a fertiliser or plant tonic (such as worm juice, fish emulsion or seaweed concentrate)
- Find a watering system that works for you. Some people have great success with the brown in-line dripper pipe, overhead watering, a combination of both or setting up wicking beds.
- Sorting your seed stash by ones that can be sown directly in the beds (such as cucurbits, silverbeet and seeds that don’t like transplanting) versus ones that need to be nurtured in trays or pots
- Documenting your garden over the season using a diary or photos can be a good reference point that can help plan for future years and seasons