Series: Free Organic Gardening Course
- What Is Soil Made Of And How Does Soil Form?
- Home Soil Testing – No Need For A Soil Test Kit
- How To Prepare Soil For A Garden – 2 Different Ways
- Soil Sample Testing – How To Take A Soil Sample
- Natural Organic Fertilizers – How To Choose For Your Garden
- Organic Garden Pest Control – Without Toxins
- Organic Weed Control – Kill Weeds Naturally And Forever
- Organic Composting 101 – Making Compost Better
- Worm Bin Composting – How To Build A Worm Compost Bin
- Homemade Fertilizer – 2 Great Easy-To-Make Fertilizers
- Cover Crops For Gardens – Build Soil And Control Pests
- Soil Inoculant For Plant Nutrition (And Fewer Pests)
- Permaculture Principles – A Few Tips For Your Garden
- How To Make Your Own Garden Inoculant For Less Than $1
- How To Plan A Landscape Design – 6 Steps To A Good Garden
- Seedbed Preparation, Sowing Seed And Planting Vegetables
- Want To Grow Organic Food? Here Are Some Tips
- Forest Gardening – How To Grow A Food Forest
Are you ready to do some planting yet?
Most of us plant between March and May.
I’m towards the end of that time frame, but I think today’s a good day to give you some tips anyway.
I’m doing some seedbed preparation, then sowing seed, then planting vegetables and flowers.
You can learn more about the organic fertilizers and inoculants I use in this video right here.
Feel free to ask questions down at the bottom of this page…
I’ve already amended my soil with compost and organic fertilizers earlier in the year and I showed you a bit of that last year. Planting and seeding the 3 sisters last spring (scroll down to see the ‘after’ photo).
It’s great if we can add those amendments – and work in any cover crops we may have- at least a couple of weeks before we plant, to give the soil environment time to settle.
My compost and fertilizers were just lightly incorporated into the top couple of inches of soil.
In fact, turning the soil disturbs the organisms living there, so once a bed is established it’s often best just to make sure the top inch of soil is free of large clods and has good tilth so that water can infiltrate, but without disturbing the soil too deeply.
That’s what seedbed preparation is all about. Take a hoe, a hard rake, maybe a garden fork and your hands and work at removing weeds, breaking up clods, leveling out the soil, and lightly breaking up the soil surface to make sowing seeds much easier.
If you are sowing seed, you’ll also want to pull aside the mulch until after your seeds germinate.
I like to water the soil the night before planting seeds rather than afterwards, to avoid dislocating the seeds I’ve just sown near the surface.
The sea minerals and kelp provide minerals, plus the kelp brings natural plant growth regulators.
And the EM supplies important beneficial microorganisms.
After soaking, right before I plant, I sprinkle them with just a pinch of mycorrhizal fungi powder.
Other than that, the seed contains all the energy the plant is going to get until it has a leaf or two to photosynthesize with.
Small seeds should be planted shallowly, or they won’t make it to the sunlight. Bigger seeds like beans can be planted a bit deeper.
Unless you know your seeds have close to a 100% germination rate, it’s good to plant them twice as close together as you eventually want the plants.
This will make up for those that don’t sprout, and allow you to thin weaker plants if need be.
As a gardener who loves each little plant, it can be hard to pinch off the weaker seedlings ruthlessly, but nature does it all the time – in a forest, not every tree that sprouts will make it to the canopy, so we’re really just mimicking the natural selection process when we overplant and then thin.
Your gardening experience will also be a lot more fun if you keep the number of different varieties you plant at once down to a manageable number.
This fits the permaculture principle of using small, slow solutions, and lets you have a closer relationship with your plants.
8 weeks later.
I’m talking about planting vegetables today, but it’s the same no matter what you’re planting.
When buying plants in a nursery, make sure the roots are in good condition. If they’re very root bound or have thick circling roots, they may never recover completely.
Before removing the pots, it’s nice to set your plants out where they’re going to be planted. This lets you space things properly.
When you’re ready to plant them, gently loosen the root ball by squeezing the sides of the pot. As much as possible, lift plants by grasping the container rather than the leaves or stem.
Remove the pot before planting, no matter what kind of pot it is (including peat pots!).
If you see a lot of roots at the edges of the root ball, you can slice them vertically with a clean, sharp knife, or use your fingers to loosen them. This encourages them to grow new roots out into the surrounding soil.
If you want to really give your plants a great start, you can soak/spray the root ball with a solution containing any of the ingredients I mentioned above – water with liquid kelp, sea minerals and/or effective microorganisms.
This will help ease transplant shock and give the plants some minerals and microbes.
I also rub a teaspoon of mycorrhizal fungi powder onto the root ball, unless I’m planting things that I started indoors, in which case I already would have inoculated them during seeding.
Then lay them into a wide, shallow planting hole, so the top of the root ball is at the same level as the surrounding soil. It’s nice to water the hole and even the entire bed the night before planting, as well as after, so the soil is evenly moist.
Pat the soil down to make sure it has good contact with the roots, and voila! A new being has begun its journey through life.
Any questions on seedbed preparation, sowing seed or planting vegetables? Let me know below. I’m here to help!