Well its the great debate - seed vs seedlings!
Some people have had lots of problems getting seeds growing & only buy seedlings. Others have this natural knack of getting each & every seed in the packet to grow into productive plants.
I found an old seedbox that my Grandfather made for a school project for me back in school - & it still had seeds in it! Well I naively thought - "Bonus - seeds!" Needless to say they were all abismal failures & I never tried seeds since that episode a few years ago.
Learning Moment: Seeds do actually expire!
But being self sufficient for me personally also means being cost effective. Even though seedlings aren't that expensive to buy - in fact the cell packs you buy (6 seedlings) are around the same as one pack of seeds. There is really no comparison though when you get a pack of 20-100 seeds compared with 6 plants. This means you can have enough to replace 'failures' & plenty for next year! (just watch those expiry dates! haha). So, its seeds for me!
I went through www.egmontseeds.co.nz to get my seeds. They have the exotic as well as the common ones. I've heard www.kingsseeds.co.nz is another good place to go.
There are a few things that I'm not going to get seeds for - and thats some herbs that I'd like to try out before growing them in masses. I'll do the run of the mill - coriander, parsley & basil by seed. Borage & maybe some medicinal herbs would be nice. But that's going to be secondary to getting the veges growing this year! Who can resist the lovely sound of 'pineapple sage' or 'lemon balm' - but realistically - who knows whether they taste more like catnip! ;)
So - I've got a few of those professional looking seed trays - but mostly I've filled up whatever I had with seed raising mix. I used a few small seedling pots hanging around, a polystyrene tray with a few screwdriver holes in the bottom & filled some pots shallowly on the bottom.
A few weeks back I planted some cabbages - red & green, onions, tomatoes, beetroot, capsicum & globe artichokes. Last week I added some spinach, spring onions, carrots, cucumber, zuchinni & lettuce. I'm following the garden calender recommended by www.gardenate.com but there are plenty around to try!
Its such a good feeling when you go to visit your seeds & see little bursts of life that have suddenly 'appeared'! The only seeds that haven't sprouted something are my capsicums. Reading a bit more about them they need a constant warm temperature - not sure if they've had that being in Auckland with our crazy weather! But I'll keep my hopes up before I try again & plant some more! I'll have to do a bit of research on how long you just leave them be - Surely in nature when a seed drops to the ground it has some sort of dormancy that occurs until that perfect time, under the perfect conditions?
If you have any suggestions - or want to comment on whats worked for you - there is a comment button below this post :) Whats the strangest herb you've ever successfully grown?
Until next time!