o d Propagation and Moon Planting Fact Sheet

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1 o d Propagation and Moon Planting Fact Sheet Propagation Propagation is actually quite simple and requires very little effort on your part. Most seeds are ready to go, complete with all the nutrients and energy to grow. Propagation also saves you money and lets you share excess seedling. Seeds come in a variety of sizes; some can fit on a pinhead (lettuce), some in the palm of our hand (snowpeas) and some we need two hands for (coconut)! No matter what the size is, each seed has already developed its first set of leaves, which you can see on larger seeds like butter beans. Once a seed has been placed in soil at the right time of year, then all it needs is sunshine and water. Timing and Temperatures Different seeds prefer different temperatures. Vegetables like tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber and beans need warmer temperatures so trying to grow these seeds in autumn, winter or early spring is futile unless you live in tropical areas. Likewise carrot and lettuce will fail to germinate in temperatures that are too hot. If you want to grow a fruit, herb or vegetable at the right time of the year, then simply follow the instructions on the back of the seed packet which has the appropriate sowing time for different locations. You can get a head start on spring and summer seeds by growing them in containers, somewhere warm. Commercial nurseries have benchwarmers and greenhouses to help them but you can easily replicate this warmth at home. Sitting containers on surfaces like concrete or next to a concrete wall means that the warmth in the surface is released during the night. Placing a clear cover over the container will also trap the heat. You can also buy small DIY greenhouses to fit enough trays for the home garden. Ensure there is adequate ventilation.

2 Planting into Containers/Trays Step 1 Fill your container or tray with seed raising mix soil and place your seeds as deep as it is big. (Some tiny seeds can be placed on the surface and with a sprinkling of soil over the top). Depending on the size of your container, you can have several different seeds. Step 2 Tag each row of seeds. You can use a paddlepop stick or cut up a yogurt container or another piece of plastic on which to write the seed and date. Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Gently water the soil with a fine mist hose, watering can or spray bottle. Jet sprays or large amounts of water can dislodge the seeds. Cover the seeds and place the pots into a sunny sheltered location. Don t forget to wash your hands. Check the trays daily to ensure the soil is still moist, adding water as needed. From seed tray into ground After they have a couple of sets of leaves (approx 5cm but will vary), you can plant into the ground. If you have used a tray, gently dig around the seedling with a pencil tip or similar and lift up, pulling the roots free. Make sure you have already dug a hole in which to plant. Have compost or soil ready to add and give it a good soak of water. Propagation and Moon Planting Fact Sheet page 2 of 5

3 Planting into the Ground Step 1 Prepare your garden bed before any planting. Ideally with the No Dig method which is layering of different ingredients like newspaper, fertiliser, lucerne, fertiliser, compost, lucerne or mulch. Step 2 Dig through the layers and place a handful of soil. Step 3 Place the seedlings into this soil and gently water. (You can plant the seeds directly into the ground at this point too). Step 4 Cover with mulch and water again. Handy Hints Most seeds are dry and initially need to take in a lot of water before they germinate. Particularly in summer it is really important to keep the soil moist as it easily dries out. This may require twice daily watering. In winter you may only need to water once a day. Use a good quality propagation or seed raising mix. It will be free-draining and contains no fertilisers unlike potting mix which means that the young plants work harder tevelop strong roots. Some seeds like parsley can take more than a month before you see anything while other seeds like rocket will be quite fast and you may see it shoot up in a couple of days. Remember, just be patient! Seeds, seedlings and cuttings will need a daily inspection and watering so choose somewhere that has easy access and close by. Wash your pots and trays using hot water and detergent to minimise the spread of any disease. Propagation and Moon Planting Fact Sheet page 3 of 5

4 Collecting Your Own Seed One of the best reasons for growing vegetables from non hybrid seed is so you can collect more seed at the end. When selecting seeds to be saved, always choose seeds from strong and healthy plants, or from plants exhibiting the particular characteristics or traits you are seeking. If the seeds you wish to save are from wet fruits, wash the seeds until all of the flesh is removed. If the seeds are from dry seed heads, remove the seeds by hand or bag the branches you want to collect from. Save money by reusing small opaque containers with lids to store your seed in. Simply label the outside with the date of collection, the number of plants collected from and details of the seed. Join a seed savers group in your areas to exchange a variety of seeds and learn more about seed collection. Other Propagation Methods - Cuttings Most herbaceous perennial plants will readily take root from cuttings, particularly when done during the warmer months. Be patient as some cuttings can take months before they form roots. 1) Cut lengths of healthy stem into 7 cm pieces, making sure that several buds or nodes are visible along the length, remove all the leaves from the base and reduce the top by about two thirds. 2) Dip the end into some organic honey (an organic alternative to growth hormone) and place them in a cleaned pot of good quality seed raising mix. 3) Keep them under shade until they establish which can vary in length of time. Gradually expose them to full sun before potting them up or planting them out. In dry weather placing a plastic cover over the plant will help to increase the humidity. Start off with plants that propagate easily like rosemary or geraniums Other Propagation Methods - Division Most running and clumping plants can be divided, and is one of the easiest methods of propagation. You can be as delicate or as drastic as you like. Younger plants can be taken from the outside of the mature plant without causing much disturbance, or a plant can be dug up and pulled apart, or some plants can be divided with a spade. A good tip is to keep two pairs of secateurs - a clean, sharp pair for taking cuttings, and an older pair for cutting into roots. Divisions can be potted up or planted directly in the ground. Make sure you water them well. Propagation and Moon Planting Fact Sheet page 4 of 5

5 Moon Planting Moon planting refers to undertaking propagation, planting and other gardening activites in relation to the phases of the moon. Just as the moon has the gravitational pull to create a high tide when it is close the earth so too the closeness of the moon can have an effect on the liquid within plants. Moon Phases New moon is visually dark to us First Quarter is seen on the left in the southern hemisphere Waxing Moon is where the moon is visually increasing in size Full Moon is where the whole moon is completely seen by us Third Quarter (or last quarter) is seen on the right in the southern hemisphere Waining moon is visually decreasing New Moon Sow seeds and transplant leafy annuals, grains and green manure Use liquid fertiliers Mow lawn for growth First Quarter and Waxing Moon Sow seeds and transplant fruiting and flowering annuals, grains and green manure Grafting Pruning for replacement growth Full Moon Sow seeds of root crops, fruiting and ornamental perennials Cuttings and Divisions Use solid fertilisers Harvest seeds and food for storage Third Quarter and Waining Moon No seed sowing Weeding, digging, mulching and composting Pruning to reduce height and or branches Tip 1 Avoid planting 12 hours before and after an exact moon phase change. Tip 2 To finetune this method, use a zodiac chart tetermine fertile and barren days within the moon phases. For more information and other topics see Hornsby Council s range of Eco Gardening fact sheets. Propagation and Moon Planting Fact Sheet page 5 of 5

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