Planting Seeds or Trans – Planting Seedlings
When we say we are going to “plant a garden”, we sometime mean planting seeds and sometimes mean planting or transplanting seedlings. We, as humans, are more likely to continue a good hobby or healthy habit if we have early successes, so we have created some premixed soils so that you do not need to buy, mix and store each ingredient. Just pour a good soil mix into a pot or planter box and plant. Similarly with our soil amendment packages, just add a little throughout the season. We will want to use good seeds, good soils and good processes for each step to give ourselves the best chance of success.
Buying seeds is one of the early tasks in a list of steps toward growing a nice small space garden. There are many options for buying seeds, from the local garden store to online catalogs with lots of heirloom varieties. In the beginning, you may want to make a couple of conservative selections and then experiment with something new and different to keep things interesting. For example, if you have room for three tomato plants then maybe try one well known variety, one heirloom and one just for fun, like a bite sized pear shaped yellow. Similarly, maybe try a regular green bell pepper, but then also plant one that changes color from yellow or red to purple! And don’t forget to try one with a little heat to it.
Planting Seeds; Simple, Basic, Low Fuss Approach
If we start with a simple and basic model then we could pour a bag of Organic Potting Soil Mix into the pot or planter box, plant and water the seeds, and then add more nutrients as the plants mature. Seriously, this approach works and might be a good options for your circumstances. Planting in the pots can be improved by adding a handful of Seed Starting Mix right where you are going to put the seeds. This will give you the advantages of both types of soil without the transplanting step.
However, if you have the time, energy and interest, then you could have more planting space with the addition of planting walls, trellises or raised planter boxes. With the added space you could have a wider variety of plants (seeds) and hopefully enjoy the process more when you have good more fun when you have good tools, seeds, soils and furniture.
If you want to start the seeds earlier or inside and then transplant them, it will be better to plant the seeds into Seed Starter Mix or the Soil Block Mix which retains moisture for good germination and stays around the roots better during the transplanting process. Then transplant into the pots or planter boxes of Potting Soil Mix when they are larger and the weather is better.
Side note on TRANSPLANTING
Some people think it is necessary to take a knife and cut an “X” into the bottom of the soil ball or cube before transplanting in a larger pot or planter box. This practice might be beneficial if the plant is root bound. However, most of the time we will actually want to keep the roots of the young plant in undisturbed and close contact with the soil to minimize transplant shock. Once again the soil blocks make this a very natural transition. This is especially true when transplanting a small soil block into a customized hole in the next larger sized soil block.
When we use the term good soil most people think of garden soil with good fertilizer, amendments, and compost. However, there are numerous other soil characteristics to take into consideration in the early growing process. For example, we want the plant to have a normal healthy progression from seed germination all the way through to maturity, flower or fruit production. So let’s expand our view of a good soil to include the need for it to serve the primary purpose at each stage of growth. For sprouting seeds the focus is on one that maintains high moisture content. Organic compost, sphagnum peat moss, pumice, and coco coir are really good for supporting germination, early root growth and moisture retention. If we are going to transplant the seedlings then we do not want the soil to fall off the roots and expose the fine hair like roots to dryness and or transplant shock. A good Seed Starting Mix has the right balance of organic material so the seedlings get the moisture and nutrients they need very early and leads to easy transplanting a little later.
In the past two blog posts we discussed Planning for a Small Space Garden and More ways to expand your Small Space Gardening experience. Next we will discuss Potting Soils.
As always, we encourage you to upgrade your gardening game where you can and then try something new just for healthy fun.