Organic Gardening – Seeds and Seedlings

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,120
    Nature expert Tim MacWelch demonstrates organic gardening basics and talks about seeds and seedlings.

    Tim MacWelch: Hi, I am Tim MacWelch of Earth Connection School of Wilderness Survival and Ancient Skills in Fredricksburg Virginia. This is our video clip series on Organic Gardening. In this clip we are going to talk about seeds and seedlings. I spend most of my winter annoying my wife poring through many different seed catalogs to try to figure out what I want to plant for the coming season in my garden. Two of my favorite catalogs have a lot of good stuff for you. Every single seed they sell from every different type of plant has gone through a certification process where it is safety use for organic agriculture and these seeds are true to type, that means if you grow a plant and let it go to seed and make it's own seed you can save those seed and plant them next year and get exactly the same plant.

    Most plants we buy at our home improvements stores are hybrids and if we allow those seeds to be used next year we don't know what we are going to get. So now we have picked out which seeds we want, we need to get them started. We don't want to have recycled potting soil for our seedlings because recycled soil can harbor different types of fungus, which would attack and kill the little seedlings as they are trying to develop. So we have got nice fresh potting soil, it's in a water proof tray with these little individual cell packs. Each of these little packs can be broken loose and each one holds six plants. So very simply to sow our seeds we poke some little holes in our little trays and you can make a little device with little pegs on it to help you do this, but it's usually faster just to use your fingers, they don't have to be perfectly in the middle, just as long as there is a hole in each little tray. We have got some nice organic zucchini squash, this variety is called black beauty. There are so many different varieties of each type of vegetable, all you have to do is start trying different ones and see which ones you like and see which ones you didn't like and see which ones do well in your climate and then you can get those again next year. Make a note of what you are planting. I have got some little tags here, I write who made that seed, what type of plant it is and what the variety is and this information helps me get that again if I like it. Now larger seeds like zucchini, pumpkin, squash, beans all these different types of large seeds are pretty easy to plant. Any flat seeds like a squash or pumpkin need to be planted sideways because there is a top side and a bottom side and the plant sometimes will grow upside down if we plant it upside down. So by planting it side ways, it always knows which way is up and down and it can grow properly. So very simply you place your little seeds sideways, I place them flat in here because that's easy to do. So we are going to plant some of these black beauty zucchini squash a little flat here, you can store your seeds if you have leftovers, some place dry. Store them in your house in a dark place. You can use those little desiccant packages that come in every pair of shoes you buy and computer equipment and lots of different products have these little packets that say do not eat me, these are little desiccant packages that absorb moisture. So place your seeds in a zip lock bag with some of these desiccant packs and store them some place cool and they will last for years. You can buy one pack of seeds and make it last for several growing seasons. Next we are going to plant some sage, nice garden herb. Many of your herb seeds are lot smaller than the larger cucurbit seeds. So these guys are quite small but you can still just grab one or two and drop them in each little hole. So to cover this up I simply mash the dirt in on top of the seed and bury it. So I bury each and every little seed, then we are going to water them, you want to water them gently so that you don't wash the soil away and uncover the seed, this can be done with a delicate setting on a sprayer hose or just with a simple watering can like this. If you want to have a better chance of germinating the seeds you can even use warm water, not hot just warm like bath water temperature around a 100 F and this will stimulate the seed to open a little more then hitting it with cold water. An old trick that some of the native American tribes that formed in this area used to do was to soak the seeds in some warm water before they planted them in the ground. For example we could soak our beans or our corn in a little bowl of warm water for couple of hours and then plant them and they will have a higher success rate for germination.

    So we have planted some seeds in a flat we will cover that up with a clear plastic cover get it out of the direct sunlight because we don't want it to get too hot underneath of that plastic cover, we don't want to cook the seedlings as they are emerging under the soil. We are going to put this in the shady spot until we see some growth pop up out of the soil and then we will move it into the sun and will uncover it. We will take that plastic cover off because we don't want it too hot in there. Let me show you a couple of different ways to utilize other propagation methods when organic gardening.