Monday, 7 May 2012

Biodegradable pots ideal for starting seedlings

handy pots but roots grow through fast
Last weekend I was under pressure to squeeze as many seeds as possible onto the propagator. It was a fruit day so I had cucumbers, pumpkins, courgettes, melons and squash to set. Rooting around in a gardening box I keep in the utility(looking for labels-what else?) I found brown square modules made from biodegradable cardboard that I bought and forgot about a few years ago. These were the perfect solution for the lack of space and the quantity of seeds! There are a few things to know about using them though.

  1. First give them a good soaking in the sink. The news papery/cardboardy substance they are made of means they will dry out really quickly and absolutely suck water from your seedlings. If they are wet to begin with this really helps.
  2.  Second once on the propagator a nice white mould will coat every surface within a day or two DON'T PANIC this is par for the course, it wont stop seedlings germinating so don't fight it.
  3.  Once the seedlings clear the surface you might have to transplant them immediately, especially if they are large seeds like pumpkins and courgettes. These bio-degradable pots are designed to allow the roots to grow through them easily. If the roots grow through and out to fresh air they can die. Check out the photo to see what I mean.
I grew different varieties in each cell, tearing each cell apart as each seedling appeared, and transplanting them on into small plastic pots, biodegradable cell and all. Later on when the seedlings are bigger I will separate out multiples sown together, (the melons and the cucumbers) but for now they can grow away in the same pot. Cells still in the propagator had to be watered a little more as they will dry out with more air around them. Watch that the last ones to germinate don't dry out completely if they are left in the propagator by themselves for a few more days.

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