Sow! Sow! And Sow! Preparing to anyway...
I always seem to have trouble sowing my seedlings or even seeds using the correct spacing and usually end up with my plants or seed too close together. Having your plants growing too close together often ends up with them being unable to 'breath' properly thus encouraging fungal or rust type issues. We have made a start on our winter garden with DH planting the first of the cabbage seedlings. The remaining beds are not quite ready though it is hoped that we will complete another come the weekend.
What to do about the spacing issues has been going around in my mind like a broken turn table, does anyone else remember the time of records? The fact that I do would indicate I am from the stone ages as my kids often tell me.
Well I searched high and low for a wooden ruler and finally found one at a little hardware store that I thought would do the trick. I don't know what it is used for although I assume it is used in the building industry for something? The chap taking my money told me that they don’t use them so much any more as they now have some digital thing-me-jig? with a laser. No wonder the box they were in was so dusty.
Anyway to cut a long story short, a few days later I had DH drill some homes along the ruler every 10 cm. He used a small drill bit first then changed to a larger drill bit to make the size hole I wanted and did this so the wooden ruler wouldn't splinter or crack and break (thank goodness he did it as I would have just used the size bit for the hole I was after). As some plants or seeds are planted at half measures say 5cm for example, he used the smallest bit to make an indent at the 5cm spacing all the way along and I have now painted this with a coloured nail polish to mark the measure permanently and make it easier for me to see. The holes at 10cm are about the size of a pencil. Yesterday as DH was varnishing an outdoor table for me he also varnished the top of the ruler so hopefully the markings wont wear off so quickly. I am very excited at this new measuring tool and hope that the fungal problems I had last year from planting too close together doesn't repeat itself now I have something more accurate to space them with and sowing my seedlings or even some of my seeds will hopefully be so much easier for me now I have a measuring stick but there are some seeds that are just too small and fiddly planting individually so I hope this tip I read and tried last year helps you as much as it did me.
Another handy tip that I came across recently relates to seed tape -
You can buy seedlings already spaced using seed tape but I find that these are too expensive for me and thus have refrained from buying them, so when I read a readers tip in one of the gardening magazines I was intrigued with the idea of making my own seed strips. The tip was to take a page of the newspaper and cut it into long strips (no coloured paper) and put this aside while you make a paste of flour & water, (you want the paste thick enough to paint with) then paint this paste along the length of the newspaper strips. After doing this place your seeds at the required spacing then lay what is now your home made seed tape along the spaced rows in your garden bed. I found the parsnip seeds to be easy to lay out given they are that little bit larger than those tiny carrot ones however I did manage to place the carrots eventually. Gosh the carrots were fiddly. Once I had laid my seeded strips in their rows I covered them with compost which I shaked over them using a large holed sifter, don't know what this is called but it is something my father used on the farm years ago when cropping and I have found it to be very useful for a variety of needs I think this is an ideal project for children to do actually as a means of not only encouraging them to help in the garden but also as a teaching tool.
How satisfying it is to have a little more of the garden planted out, in succession. If you have any tips for the garden then please do share them.
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon