Hello to all. While greeting guests in my vegetable garden I was asked at the garden tour “just how do you propagate your seedlings?” So I thought I would share the way that’s successful for me.
Most of the items in my “seedling” kit can be purchased at the grocery store. Another place to get rubber gloves, hoses, tarps and quite a few other garden items very inexpensively is Harbor Freight Tools. What you need: 1) plastic cups (yep, the red solo cups work for me: 2) paper towels 3) rubbing alcohol and 4) rubber gloves.
First wash your hands, alcohol wipe your work space, alcohol wipe your hands and put on your gloves. I lay out a dry paper towel to put my cups on . I use a sharpie pen to label the side of each cup so I can keep track of which seeds are which.
Fill the cups up with tap water and let the water sit for 15-20 minutes so that it burns off the chlorine. Put your seeds in the water and leave them 2-3 days. Some little guys float and some little guys sink. The sink test can be used to see if seeds are still viable (sometimes when certain seeds float it means they are not viable – but this is not always the case depending on the seed type and size).
Now I make a little pocket out of paper towels – fold four paper towels in quarters and soak them in your non-chlorinated water. Next I put the seeds inside the wet pocket and put them in a warm place. I put a piece of wax paper on my computer tower and put the little pockets on there.
Now to plant them. I get a bucket and mix 25% worm castings, 25% potting soil, 25% vermiculite and 25% my own mulch. I take some more of my red solo cups and a pair of scissors to snip right at the corner at the bottom of the cups – like slits all around the bottom circle. I put an inch of pea gravel in the bottom of the cup and put the soil mixture on top. I take my pinky and press it into the soil up to my first knuckle. Then I drop in the seed, tail down. Cover him up. I use chlorine free water the first time I water the little guys.
After this process they come up pretty fast – often in two days. Be sure to keep them moist and don’t let them dry up at all for the first week. Afterwards just water like you normally do. Always watch for root rot.
I wish you luck and lots of little green seedlings! God Bless.
Contributed by Steve McInteer
Steve is the junior gardener at Flounderdean Cottage, Garden #18 on this years tour.