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Sowing in trays, crates or boxes

Seed sowing tray

Sowing in trays is perfectly suited to growing plants in a sheltered place.

Thanks to small holes drilled at the bottom of the tray, drainage can be optimized and is very effective.

It makes it easy to start a great many seedlings in very little space. Later, the most vigorous are moved to individual pots or to the ground.

A great many plants, vegetables and flowers can be sown in this manner. Avoid this technique for taproot-type plants (like carrots) and plants that should be started directly in the growing bed.

Sowing in trays, broad pans & shallow crates

It’s important to prepare your tray well, with the right soil mix for each type of seed.

  • Sowing in traysPlace clay pebbles at the bottom of the tray (in a layer about ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2 cm) thick) to ensure drainage.
  • Fill the broad pan or tray up to ⅔ full with seedling soil mix or substrate prepared from peat or soil mix (one part) and river sand (one part). Don’t add any fertilizer.
  • Flatten thereafter with a trowel or a slab of wood, and add soil mix until the tray is ¾ full.
  • Press down again.
  • Sprinkle seeds evenly throughout the tray.
  • Press down lightly with a wooden board.

Now, simply mist with water every day or two, to make sure the tray stays moist but not soggy.

After sprouting

Tray for sowing seedsOnce seeds have sprouted, time has come to transplant your seedlings. Indeed, you can’t let them mature in the tray. They would compete with each other, and turn out stunted.

Thin by removing the most scraggly and weakest seedlings. Keep the most vigorous ones and move each one to its own individual nursery pot.

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Images: Pixabay: Andreas Göllner, Unsplash: Jen Theodore, Jametlene Reskp
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