Well, I have been doing a lot of reading and thus research on permaculture and no-dig gardening. Though I will not be discussing those two items in this blog, you can look forward to upcoming blogs that will discuss those topics. Today I will be talking about sprouting. I am planning to compile my first no-dig garden in a couple of weeks, so I began to sprout some seeds to have saplings to put into the garden. I got the seeds online from www.seedsnow.com, which is a website that sells a wide variety of organic, non-gmo, heirloom, hybrid and non-hybrid seeds. They carry various vegetable and herb seeds and so far the first shipment came in fine and I have been pleased with their service. So I have chosen to start with kale, tomato, beans, cucumber, squash, onions, watermelon and some herbs.
There seem to be many ways to sprout seeds, from wet paper towels to soaking bigger seeds in warm water to using growing pellets. But for this particular sprouting I am simply going to use a mixture of compost, potting soil, a little chicken manure and a little bone meal. I had done a previous sprouting using this mixture and it worked fine. When sprouting this way I have found out that using regular soil isn’t always best and that the key is keeping the mixture moist, not constantly soaking it or letting it dry out. In an earlier batch I just kind of sprinkled the seeds in a smart pot that I had put the mixture in. I tried to cover the smart pot with a clear plastic bag to create warmth and a sort of greenhouse effect but that didn’t really work because the bag broke and leaked in. So I just left that batch out and it sprouted just fine. For this particular batch of sprouts I decided to use a few empty plastic organic egg containers, an empty plastic apple container and some other plastic boxes I pulled from the trash. I made the mixture with some organic compost and potting soil I got from Home Depot. The amount of chicken manure I added to this batch is about 1 part manure to 20 parts soil/compost, while I added about 1 part bone meal to about 50 to 75 parts soil/compost. The second measurement is a great approximation because I measured by adding a handful of bone meal to about 7-8 gallons of soil/compost/manure. I think especially for sprouting it is better to use less soil/compost supplementation and be more precise when adding fertilization to crop beds or planting areas. I am pretty sure the sprouting could happen without any of the extra stuff, but I just add it to help it along, I may try a batch later with only compost and potting soil. Got the kids to help me with the mixture and soaking the trays, which they really enjoyed. Kids plus dirt equals fun. I put the seed in myself after the mixture soaked in all the water by poking a hole with my finger about ½ to 1 inch deep and lightly covering it with mixture. That was pretty much it, just gotta make sure that the mixture in the trays stays moist and doesn’t dry out. Enjoy the pictures and please comment with any questions or helpful insights. Mahalo nui loa a hui hou
Raymond Kaimana or "Mana" is documenting his journey as he researches and practices a hybrid of Hawaiian Planting techniques, Permaculture and other planting strategies.