Where we live, it's the last chance to plant our seedlings for our future summer harvest. In all of our spare moments, we are getting our seedlings in the ground. Which at the moment feels like a race, with the hot weather coming early this year.
But, wherever you are in the world, this is written for you. Because we have written this guide, to go hand in hand with our planting seeds guide, so that the theory behind the guides are applicable to anyone, planting anywhere in the world, whether planting flowers, vegetables, herbs or trees or for summer, autumn, winter or spring harvest.
**We first wrote this guide a few weeks ago for an a little Melbourne company called Homecamp - a company run by Stephanie and Doron Francis who are all about getting outdoors. They are suppliers of high quality outdoor goods, focussed on delivering enduring, comfortable and beautiful products and experiences in the outdoors.
We want to enable and empower you to successfully grow and give your plants a strong start to their life. And the stronger your plants, the higher they will yield for you!
We really hope that these guides might take some of the confusion out of gardening. And that it leads you to successful growing - or even inspire you to plant your first little plant.
We have had so many emails asking us for planting advice and people asking us where to start - so we really hope that this answers some of your questions and gives you that place to start. Let us know.
When it comes to planting out seedlings care needs to be taken to not damage the delicate roots that have grown. Always plant with your hands (not with tools), always plant into moist soil and always water your newly planted seedlings straight away to ‘settle them in’.
- Clear the space in your garden where you will plant.
- Using a hand or garden fork, loosen an area of soil 20 cm by 20 cm by 20 cm.
- If your soil is dry, water it now so that it is moist. Also water the tray of seedlings you are working with to help protect the seedlings roots that are about to get exposed to the air.
- Put down your tools and carefully remove your seedling from the tray by grasping a small handful of soil around its roots. You want to disturb the roots as little as possible and take as much of the root system as you can with the seedling. Use soft hands. Be gentle. Do not squeeze the handful of soil as this will compress and damage the roots.
- Using your free hand, pull back a handful of soil about 15 cm deep from your loosened spot while with the other you gently place the seedling in place. Then let the soil fall gently back in place all around the stem of the seedling. The root ball of the seedling should now be at least 10cm below the surface of the soil with soil piled up around the base of its stem.
- Support the stem of the seedling with the soil around it by layering your thumbs on top of each other, touching the tips of your pointer fingers around the stem and gently but firmly pressing down. You want to create a shallow well around the newly planted seedling. This will help capture water when it is irrigated or it rains.
- Gently but deeply water your newly planted seedling immediately with a watering can or similar hose nozzle. 'Watering in' ensures that all the disturbed soil settles completely around the seedlings delicate roots. Roots die immediately if they dry out and good moist soil-root contact prevents this from happening.
- Tend to your newly planted seedling every day, keeping the soil around it moist but not wet. After some days you will know it has established new roots when its leaves deepen in colour. It is now feeding off your soil!
- Mulch around your seedlings with straw only after they are established and at least 20 cm above the soil to avoid suffocating them. Happy growing.
P.S. A few weeks ago we received an award at the Banksia Sustainability Awards - we received the Sustainable Communities Award. Some of the judges comments were:
"...They’ve created a vibrant, multi layered approach with huge passion and scope. The judges felt the love and this will inspire others to be bold...... The judges believe that Grown and Gathered will have a huge influence on farmers and will have a huge uptake in the years to come, this is only the beginning."
It's makes us feel so humbled and so happy to think that we are making a real difference. So thank you all for being amazing and supporting what we do. xx