We have been busy delivering winter seedlings to our members who are growing with us this winter. We sent them spring cabbage, mizuna, spinach, and spring onions.
For all of you growing with us this winter, we have put together this video and the following instructions on how to plant your seedlings.
Before you plant your seedlings, give them a very good watering.
2. Prepare the soil:
If you are planting your seedlings in the ground, dig planting holes in the garden bed with a trowel. Make each hole the same depth as the seedling’s container and space the holes according to the type of seedling:
Spring Cabbage: 30 – 40 cm apart
Spinach: 20 cm
Spring onions: 15 to 20cm
You can plant them a little closer, but most will grow bigger with more space.
All of these veg will do well in containers (though will grow a bit smaller). As with planting in the garden, dig planting holes with a trowel to the same depth as the seedling’s container. For the cabbages, I recommend growing one cabbage per 40cm diameter by 40cm height pot as they need quite a bit of room. If the cabbage is grown closer it may not make a cabbage head, but you can still harvest and eat the leaves. You can also make a rather attractive edible container by mixing some of the seedlings together (I have done this with my veg as you can see in the instruction video).
These plants will do well in all-purpose potting soil and there is no need to mulch or fertilise them now as they will not require food until spring.
For the Mizuna, carefully ease the seedlings out of the tray they were growing in and gently tease them apart. For all the other seedlings, carefully hold onto the seed leaves of your seedling and use a pencil or chopstick to ease the plant out of the compost, retaining as much root as possible. Always lift your seedlings one at a time and never hold by the stem or roots, as you can easily damage the plant. Carefully slide the seedling into the hole you dug and then gently but firmly push the soil in around it until the seedling is well supported. Do not be tempted to bury the stem to provide more support for these plants as you would with something like a tomato, as that can cause the stem to rot.
Gently water the freshly planted seedlings. Our family likes to use a little watering can we make ourselves out of used milk bottles. We poke several holes with something fine, like at pin, into the lid which makes for a soft spray of water that is gentle on your little plants.
These seedlings will grow slowly over the winter and will be mature, ready for harvest in the spring.
The seedlings would be best positioned in an area protected from wind and the harshest of the winter weather.
Pigeons and foxes love fresh dirt and seedlings! If your seedlings are in an area where birds or foxes might be able to access them, please try and protect the seedlings by covering them with mesh or garden fleece.
An example from one of our members:
You won’t need to worry too much about light needs for the seedlings at the moment, but make sure that in the early spring they will be in a location that will get as much of the spring sunshine as possible.
Good luck to all our growers with their seedlings! We look forward to updating you and our growing community with their progress.
‘Growing our Communities’ is funded by the London Community Foundation