Sowing Seeds In Modules Or Trays Is Quick & Easy If You Follow These Simple Tips. Check Out The Photos & Written Advice.
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Over the years, as a market gardener I sowed many millions of seeds, from minuscule celery seed to pumpkins and courgettes. But the one I’ve sown most of is lettuce, as each year I grew half a million for myself plus a “few” for customers.
In the main I grew in soil blocks, but today, now I’m retired, I use modules for sowing as I don’t have the machinery I used commercially.
Here Are My Simple Seed Sowing In Modules Tips
The most cost effective modules I know are the solid plastic ones that are strong enough to stand on. They aren’t cheap but they last for decades, I have had some over 25 years. they ar much better value than the very thin ones that are single use.
The right compost is essential. I’ve written elsewhere about the poor quality compost sold by far to many businesses these days and the need for a quality standard. And as much as I hater the rubbish often sold I don’t go along with the need for the compost to be absolutely fibre free. good compost needs a bit of texture in it to allow air and water percolation. And you’ll see from the photos my compost would be rejected by some people. But it produces very good quality seedlings if used correctly.
Once filled with loose damp compost I give the trays a good sideways shake to allow surplus compost to flow off the trays.
Then I take another tray and lay it above the filled one. This is then pushed down on to the filled tray to gently compress the compost into the cell. It’s quick and easy to do and saves me loads of time.
As you can see from this photo the compost is now pushed into the modules and there is a simple crude depression into which I can drop the seeds. I’ll be the first to admit the depressions look rough and ready, but I’m not after prizes for being pretty. I’m after good quality well grown plants that I can produce as fast as possible.
The next photo shows a few modules multi-sown with coriander seed.
Once the seed is added I sprinkle a thin layer of compost over the top of them. Just a millimetre or two .. enough to cover the seed to the depth that’s equal to its size. For example, coriander is say 5mm in diameter so I cover with 5 mm of loose compost. Lettuce seed is smaller so gets less compost covering it.
Dont bury seed too deep or they struggle to reach the surface. Commercially I used to use natural seed (not pelleted seed) and leave it on the surface of soil blocks with no cover at all. It was fast and very effective provided I don’t let them dry out in the first few days. Once they get the root into the compost they are more tolerant. this goes against everything you’ll get told in books or on TV. But it worked half a million times a year for me!
The lettuce seedlings in the next couple of photos were sown January 6th and these phots were taken on January 12th. They’ve been sat on the floor of my lounge which has underfloor heating (though it’s only one for a few hours each day), and have taken six days to germinate. Commercially, in good conditions I expected them to reach this stage in 3-4 days depending on light levels.
Watering Newly Sown Seed in Modules
In the first few days I check the modules once or twice a day .. attention to detail helps when growing small seeds! I then gently water as needed. Just enough to keep the compost moist, but not drenched.
Here’s and example of the quality of seedling I expect buy this “rough and ready” method. These are multisided coriander, something I sow every month of the year.
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