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Seed sowing

I DON'T have a very good success rate when it comes to germinating seed in punnets. What is a good home-made potting mix to make? Also, what is the best green crop you can use in the north?


FOR seed sowing, you are best to buy a ready-made seed raising mix like Yates Black Magic. It has a fungicide added to stop problems such as damping off, which will kill your seedlings. It has also been sterilised.

If you make your own seed raising mix, you run the risks of introducing a raft of fungal problems, and you may not get the consistency of the mix right either - it needs to be light and fine enough for the seedlings to emerge through.

When sowing seeds, stick to varieties that are easy to germinate, not too fine and fiddly, and will give good rewards. Don't baby them too much, just let them do their thing. If the packet says up in seven to ten days, expect some to still be germinating after 15 days. If the conditions are not right, the seeds will come up when they're ready.

It sometimes helps to place a sheet of newspaper and glass over the top of the seed tray. Keep the tray moist, not wet or too damp, and place it in the hot water cupboard or in a sunny place if you do not have a glasshouse.

As for green crops, it is certainly that time of year again. The two most common green crops are mustard and lupins. You should be fine to sow either of these in Whangarei. Try to get your seed in before it gets too wet to walk on the ground. Dig or rotary hoe the green crop back into the soil when it's about 40cm tall. If it gets too tall, it will become too hard to dig in.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 100, 2002, Page 20

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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