Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nursery Work

I took some time recently to go to the nursery to pot up some seeds that Masa and I had got from the local seed museum in Kawaguchicko. We were able to source some rue, borage, marigold, rocket, parsley, spring onion, tansy. A lot of these are good composting plants as they are activators in the composting process. Most can also be eaten and are also good pest repellents also. One Permaculture principle covered here. An element with at least 3 functions to offer the system.

It pays to have everything need at hand when seeding in the nursery. Having a good potting mix in a wheel barrow ready and some seed trays and small pots is essential. As well, have a permanent marking pen handy for writing on the name tags.

The trays and pots can be filled prior to seeding to save time. Most big seeds can be put in single. Some smaller seeds can be put in a couple at a time. If more than one are seeded together they can always be split up when putting into the ground or potting up.

Always read the seed packet to see how deep the seed needs to be for good germination and for any other information that may be useful.

It also pays to label each different tray with the name of the seed, the variety, the date it was propagated and your name. This stops any confusion for others knowing what is in the trays, as I first found when working in the nursery here. Lots of trays hade been seeded but no way to tell what they were or when they were done. I promptly showed everyone a way to record the system and now it is working well.

A way to record is using old water bottles cut into strips and written on. This recycles a waste product and is very durable. Other plastics or cardboard can be used, but plastic is best and won’t end up in land fill as it can be used again and again.

If continual planting is required to have constant food available for the kitchen, propagation must be carried out regularly. Normally when seeds have sprouted is a good time to germinate the next batch. This will also depend on the type of seed also.Corn may take up to 2 weeks to sprout, whereas spinich or bok choy may take 4 days. Always seed more than you need in case some don't sprout, or in the case of legumes, they can always be cut down when they flower to add nitrogen to the soil and also as mulch.

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