Making your own seedling mix and some general gardening tips

Today’s post is on how to make your own seedling mix as well as some general gardening tips.

Making your own seedling mix if you have the opportunity to will obviously save you some money as a seedling mix can be quite pricey.
Seedlings require a rich but well-drained mixture to be able to grow strong enough to eventually plant out.

Below are two recipe’s for making your own seedling mix: (This is a general recipe and can be amended to your ‘plants’ needs)

Recipe 1:

1 part well-rotted compost (Fine compost). 1 part coarse sand (Malmesbury). 1 part Vermicompost (Homemade or bought).

Recipe 2:

1 part well-rotted compost. 1 part good garden soil (Loam). 1 part coarse sand (Malmesbury).

The compost absorbs and holds moisture. Sand provides drainage and will also prevent crusting on the surface. Vermicompost contains nutrients and also increases water holding capacity.
Please note when making a seedling mix that vermiculite and cocopeat can also be added to the mix in small amounts to increase water holding capacity, but do not add too much as it can affect drainage and cause seeds to rot rather than to germinate and grow.

The last step to making a seedling mix is to make sure that it is weed free (kill weed seeds), free of fungal spores, insect larvae and eggs. This is done by pouring boiling water over the filled seed trays, soaking them before sowing seeds. Make sure that the trays are on a level surface when doing this to make sure the water runs straight out of the bottom.

General gardening tips:

*Insect identifying trick:
If you are having insect problems in your garden and are struggling to identify what the problem insects are then creating traps in order to help you identify the insects. Make large, yellow cardboard squares, cover them with petroleum jelly and hang near problem plants. Insects are very attracted to the colour yellow and will be caught in the jelly. Once you have your identification board try and do your own homework to identify pests, but if you are struggling you could take it to your local nursery or if you can take good quality pictures you could even send them to us for identification.

We have spoken a lot about using crushed eggshells in the garden but here are some added facts. Egg shells are composed of 96% calcium. Calcium is extremely beneficial to veggies like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, and a lack of calcium actually leads to blossom end rot. Increased calcium levels in the soil is also said to deter cutworm which means you will lose less seedlings.

*Tomato problems solution:
If you have grown tomatoes before and have had problems or even if you are a novice tomato grower here is a handy tip for tomatoes healthy. Aspirin’s active ingredient is salicylic acid. It is very similar to the hormone that tomatoes use to trigger their defence process. The problem is that the natural hormone which the tomato plant uses is only created once the plant is sick which is usually too late. By using the aspirin one triggers the hormone before the plant is even sick preventing diseases like blight and wilt which can be fatal. The way to use this is to place some (2-3+-) tablets into the planting hole and also keep up plants defences by spraying the plant every 2-3 months with 500mg aspirin dissolved in 5L water.

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