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raising seedlings equipment questions
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sandra17



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 17
Location: Gants Hill, Essex
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 8:31 am    Post subject: raising seedlings equipment questions  Reply with quote    

Hi I'm Sandra and i joined downsizer last week. It's a great site I think.
We are clearing the neglected garden in our rented terrace house and planning to plant some veges. I've bought some seeds and am ready to plant some indoors but am really lost on the various products available.

I looked at B and Q yesterday and they had seed raising mix but as it was only sold in 75 litre bags, that won't fit on top of the pushchair and go home on the bus! So then I looked at the HDRA site, where I bought the seeds from, and they have coir bricks - how do they work?

Also, can I plant onion sets now?

Many thanks, Sandra

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Seeds can grow in a medium with no nutrient until the seed's own food store is exhausted (I think it means when the first true leaves apear). For one idea on growing seedlings check this thread
http://forum.downsizer.net/about2151.html

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Sandra and welcome. I have used the coir bricks in the past - they are certainly useful if carrying weight is an issue to you. You just put the bricks into a bucket, add some water and then mix it around a bit. It swells up at an incredible rate and you then just use it like any other soil or compost.

They are fine for sowing seeds, but as Judy says you will have to pot on quite quickly as the nutrient content is quickly used up. (You will know when this point is reached because the seedlings will start to turn a bit yellowy and not grow so vigorously). And at that point you will need a general-purpose or potting compost to rehouse them.
My main objections to using coir for sowing seeds are the cost and the fact that it dries out very easily. But if you are better watering than me, it is a good solution if you are shopping on foot with a pushchair.

I confess that rather than buying lots of different types of compost I just buy a bag of multipurpose compost and use that for everything!

Edited to say that this is a good time to plant your onion sets!

Snowball
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6190
Location: swindon
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Sandra, welcome on board.
I tend to use multi purpose compost for sewing seeds, and growing them on.
What are you planning on growing?

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hello Sandra

welcome to the site

I also tend to use multipurpose for seedlings, plants and all (sometimes with grit or garden soil mixed in depending on what I'm planting, how much I have left, etc).

I've never used coir blocks so can't help there!

Do have a look around and see whether you can get someone to deliver to you. B&Q may have a minimum order but a local garden centre may have regular rounds and not be much more expensive than B&Q.

Alternatively, try a mail order company. NA Kays tends to be very cheap for a lot of garden equipment and I imagine they'd have various coir items; I also think they might deliver compost, which is odd considering the weight!

If it's just for starting off a few seeds, and because you want to get going soon, if you have a Wilkonsons in reach they used to seel smaller bags of compost that you can fit in a rucksack or perhaps on the carrier of your pushchair.

Hope some of this helps - if you do try the coir blocks we'll want to know how you got on

joker



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 188
Location: hiding
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have allways just used grow bags mainley due to the price when they put them on special offer ( normally 99p ) Also most B&Q stores will deliver not sure if there is a charge but if there is its bound to be cheaper than buying coir

Tristan



Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 392
Location: North Gloucestershire
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Sandra

I think Crocus and Gonegardening deliver composts, not sure about the cost.

If you can, go for a peat free compost like Gem or J Arthur Bowers New Horizons.

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Woolworth also sell small bags of compost. If you sprinkle a thin layer of perlite as described in the other thread, you can use potting compost underneath. The seed germinates in the loose textured, no nutrient, sterile perlite, and the root then finds its way into the soil below giving it nurishment, when its needed. The film case method uses a very small amount of perlite, and with only about 1/4" - 1/2" depth, a small bag (from most garden centres) will go a very long way. It also waighs next to nothing when carrying it. You might want to add a little bit of sand to the perlite, unless it is very fine, as I find the airgaps sometimes a bit too big for seeds to have adequate contact. Some people use perlite throughout, but the above method has all the advantages, plus it requires far less, and gives the plant food when required, so potting up is not as urgent as in the other method.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 1:24 pm    Post subject: Re: raising seedlings equipment questions Reply with quote    

sandra17 wrote:
coir bricks - how do they work?


I've just come across these on the Organic Gardening Catalogue site when I was looking for peat free compost.

They sell an 8 litre brick which is enough for two seed trays (not much - I've got two seed trays and 16 pots on the go already and I haven't even *started* yet!); you can buy larger quantities too.

As far as I can see you wet it or soak it and it expands to produce a light medium rather like peat/compost. I don't think it would be any good for growing on though?

And it was about 2.50 for the two-seed trays worth.

judyofthewoods



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 804
Location: Pembrokeshire
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

As you will have to pot up at some time, and use a lot more compost, in the long run it is probably still cheaper to get a big (or couple of) bag, even if you pay delivery. The price difference between a small one and a large one is not that great. If you keep buying lots of small ones, it'll end up more than the extra for delivery. If you use coire, you will have to mix it with compost, or treat it as you would hydroponics, i.e. feed it constantly, as it has next to nothing in it.

Tristan



Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 392
Location: North Gloucestershire
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It must be my day for being awkward!

Perlite and vermiculite are produced by heating minerals extracted from the earth's surface to temperatures in excess of 1000 deg C.
They are produced mainly in China, South Africa and Brazil.

Useful, yes, environmentally friendly, hardly.

sandra17



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 17
Location: Gants Hill, Essex
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thank for all your replies.
I'll have a look for delivery prices.
I've bought seeds to have a go at quite a few things, probably too ambitious but it will be fun I hope and I'm looking forward to my 2 year old son watching peas grow and picking them as well.
I've already planted garlic and shallots. I've got some onion sets to plant. Also some parsely, mint, thyme (though I cheated on thyme and Rosmary and bought plants yesterday). I've got some lovage seeds which are supposed to be a good substitute for celery - it is so annoying to have to buy a bunch of celery when I only ever use 1-2 sticks of it. Peas, pumpkin and a salad greens mix also.
I bought some nasturtium and poppies as well. Also planted some daffodils and their are daffs already there as well. It's the first time I've had a garden in nine years and so I'm pretty excited. Lots to learn as I was gardening in my native New Zealand last time round.
Sandra

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sandra17 wrote:
Lots to learn as I was gardening in my native New Zealand last time round.
Sandra


Here's me thinking we've got another Essex lass on board

Whereabouts in NZ? Bet you're glad you came to Gants Hill eh?

sandra17



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 17
Location: Gants Hill, Essex
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Grew up in Nelson, where my Dad taught me to garden from quite a young age and I helped my Grandma in her garden as well. Also lived in Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland.

We were in Barking in a tiny flat for nearly 4 years before coming to Gants Hill - GH is heaven by comparison! We will be heading back to NZ by the end of next year though.
Sandra

ps I can say 'innit' so I'm getting pretty Essex-ified!

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 05 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sandra17 wrote:
GH is heaven by comparison!


Oi! don't say that my missus is from Barking, as well as Rugby World Cup Winner 2003 Jason Leonard and Mr Billy Bragg.

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