Ways to Otain Your Seedlings For Your Salad Table
Growing your own seedlings can often create a few tense moments when first starting out, but once you have "cracked the code" you will have this skill for ever. It is an amazing feeling to see your seeds germinate and then only a few weeks later indulge in a nutritious meal that has cost you very little and you know exactly where your food came from.
Watch this video where I show you how to use our Grow Cubes for the easiest and cheapest way to grow seedlings. See option 3 below, it's our most preferred.
This being said, not everyone has the time or patience in todays very busy world to be able to grow their own seedlings from scratch. I have created a list to make it a little easier to either grow your own or acquire Salad Table ready seedlings from other sources and how to prepare them for the best chance of success.
- Buy your seedlings in punnets from your local hardware, nursery or better still, farmers markets.This is a very easy option and although a little more expensive in the long run, it will still be much cheaper than buying herbs and vegetables from the supermarket. There are normally two options when it comes to choice of punetts. The first being individual cells of usually 4, 6 or 8 that contain separate seedlings. These punnet types are the better option due to the ease of being able to separate the plants without disturbing or damaging the root ball. It is very important that when removed to gently wash away the dirt to reveal the clean roots. You can now simply place the "naked" plant directly in to the Salad Table. Be sure that the water flow isn't too fast as the plant may wash down the channel. Tip - let it grow for another week or 2 in the punnet whilst watering with your Salad Table nutrient to reduce the risk of being washed down). You may also need to protect the plant from extreme temperatures so that it doesn't go into shock and die. The other punnet type contains 1 larger cell with several plants growing together. This is is a little more difficult to separate the plants but should still work fine with a little tender loving care during separation. Once again, when separated simply place each plant in to the holes and watch them grow. Be sure to keep your empty punnets to use for the next seedling option.
- Start your own seeds in a mix of vermiculite, perlite and peat. These are available from most nurseries and larger hardware stores. Use your old punnets or purpose built seedling trays and fill with the following mix - 2 parts vermiculite, 1 part perlite and 1 part peat. Ensure all 3 ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Compact the mix in to the punnet with your thumb then add your seed (or seeds) of choice. Sprinkle a little more of the mix over the top (only a mm or 2) and then water thoroughly. Its fine to use just water for the first few days but you will need to add nutrient as soon as the first 2 seed leaves begin to form. Nutrient directly from your nutrient tank is recommended. Sit in a semi sunny, protected place such as a window sill for best results. Keep an eye out to ensure they don't dry out too much whilst at the same time ensuring they aren't too wet. After a few weeks check to see if they are ready by attempting to lift very gently from the punnet. Ensure they come out with the roots and mix intact and if in any doubt let them grow a little longer. When ready, pop them straight in to The Salad Table. Another Note - ensure to regularly clean your pump as this method increases the amount of debri in the nutrient tank.
- Grow your seedlings using our Grow Cubes. I prefer this method due to the high germination rates, ease of transplanting and lower cost. In fact this is the method we mainly use on our farm. Break off the required number of grow cubes, preferably in a single block, for example, if you want 9 plants break off or cut a 3 x 3 square and place on a plastic plate or similar. By leaving intact this will increase your success rate and will require less watering. Simply place your seeds of choice directly into the predrilled holes. Thoroughly wet down the grow cubes and drain the excess water from the plate or dish underneath. It is important not to let your grow cubes sit in a pool of water as the seeds will probably rot resulting in zero germination. Let them almost dry out before watering again with you nutrient from your Salad Table nutrient tank. Once again place them in an indoor semi sunny position of at least a couple of hours a day and away from extreme heat or cold. Once ready simply break off each plant and place into The Salad Table. It really is that simple... Watch our video to see how quick and easy it is.
Perseverance is the key to growing seedlings so if you find you aren't getting the results you would like, try something different such as a new position with more sun, less water or change seed varieties.
When you receive your Salad Table you also get Grow Cubes, Nutrient and an assortment of seeds to get growing right away.
Growing your own seedlings is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Enjoy...
Denis is a QLD farmer and Founder of The Salad Table
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