I Might Never Plant a Seed in My Garden Again
I have been gardening for a number of years know and have made my fair share of mistakes along the way. But I love making mistakes, because its a great chance to learn. I tried straw bale gardening.... but it wasn't right for me. I've figured out how to make pretty sweet compost. And I have 100% bought in to never tilling my garden beds again. These are all things I have had to learn in time. You just have to get out there and get growing.
But one thing has always seemed a bit interesting to me.... and that is the whole direct sowing process. Generally the standard protocol seems to be something along the lines of sow lots of seeds and then thin your plants after they sprout. Does anyone else think that is a flawed plan? Ummmm let't take time to prep the seed bed, plant all these seeds, only to pull out 50% or more of them after they come up. What it sounds like to me is a great plan for selling seeds, not growing plants.
So when I stumbled across an amazing gardening in the UK, his interesting method really stuck with me, and this season, it really has me thinking.
Charles Dowding, who is a market gardener, has been starting his plants in the most interesting of ways. He starts a significant number of his plants in module trays, and then plants them out into the garden after they have sprouted, and he uses this method with some plants that most common literature will tell you that you must sow direct. Most notable being root crops like beet roots and onions. I will link to his website at the bottom of this article if you would like to check out what he has to share. I feel he is an amazing resource and I learn more and more from him every time I check out this site or YouTube channel.
Here are some of my thoughts on why this method is so interesting to me. First of all, when you pair it with the soil blocking method we started using this season, you can be transplanting very small seedlings if you wanted to. But you would have 100% control over spacing. Additionally, if you have something like a mixed variety of lettuce seeds, sowing this way would allow you to choose a balance of the various varieties and grow them in whatever arrangement suits your fancy. All of which leads to less thinning, and more growing the plants you want, where you want them.
Additionally, sowing plants this way allows you to potentially sneak a particularly appealing variety into an out of the way space so you can grow more. Maybe that speckled lettuce would look good mixed in with some flowers. Perhaps you could drop a few small mustard green plants under that cherry tree. Is there room on the edge of that path that you have deep mulched? Once you are planting plants, and not planting seeds, the options for their use increases.
So be on the look out for my use of plants in the garden, and more information on how the seed starting in the various greenhouses we have running is going. I am sure at some point I will plant some seeds somewhere again... but for right now, I am excited to try this new approach.
If you are into this sort of thing, there is more information throughout the posts on this blog. We also have some info over at our website which you can view here. There is loads of information about gardening, a whole section on animals and composting, and even some ideas about home remodeling! Come check it out. We'll keep posting here on the blog, and do our best to continue to add more content to the website as well.