Guest Blog: How To Germinate & Transplant Seedlings by Jordan Sly

Vegepod and I go way back! Simon and I worked alongside each other at ‘boots on the ground’ farmers markets across Sydney. We’ve kept it real over the years and have relied on each other to show off our beautiful products.

For my part - when I’m doing shows I display Wormtickler organic seedlings in the Vegepod. I love it because the Pods are portable and travel proof - they operate as a mini version of my gigantic greenhouse out in Dural. Vegepod similarly use Wormtickler seeds for Sydney events to show off quality seedlings and veggies - check out a vid featuring Vegepod X Wormtickler on The Today Show if you don’t believe us!

Often, when growing seeds gardeners germinate them indoors and later on transplant them to outdoor conditions. However, today I’m going to talk about how and why you don’t have to do that with the Pod. Here’s how you can germinate seeds in the Vegepod and later on transplant them to your wider garden.

The Vegepod As A Seed Germinator

I find Vegepods are amazing because they’re basically a mini version of a greenhouse. They feature a canopy top (the mesh garden cover), inbuilt irrigators (mist sprays and wicking bed), a humidicrib for early stage germination (the plastic winter cover), plus soil heat cables (i.e. the black plastic container base).

Here's how I use a Vegepod to germinate Wormtickler seeds on the road:

  1. Light: Give new seedlings plenty of sunlight. If you’re in a light-poor environment strap a grow light to the canopy top or hover a full-spectrum fluorescent bulb two to three inches above the seeds.
  2. Warmth: Use the winter cover to provide a nice humid environment - most seeds need soil temp between 18 to 23 degrees. Just be careful about the weather while doing this - if it’s 25°C+ outside, don’t use the winter cover or you can kill your seeds.
  3. Water: Before planting make sure you drench the soil so the water reservoir is filled up. This makes sure your soil is damp all the way through (soil should be damp not wet). Seeds and baby seedlings can often be damaged with 'heavy droplet' watering from hoses and rain. So rely on the  high-volume super fine mist spray from the Pod’s canopy irrigators for perfect for seed watering.
  4. Depth: Usually there’s information about planting depth on the seed packet. However, if you’re not sure, plant two times deep as the widest part of the seed, err towards having the seeds closer to the soil top.
  5. Air: Because the Vegepod is outdoors you don’t need to worry about this so much. The permeable cover means the soil will get aeration.
  6. Containment: If you prefer, you can grow your seeds in trays within the Vegepod. You won’t get the advantage of the wicking bed system, but you still get a protective environment that you can easily climate control.

germinating seeds in a raised garden bed

Transplanting Seedlings To The Garden

  1. Fertilise: Fertilise your seedlings in the Pod after they develop their second set of true leaves. Use a half-strength solution once a week. After four weeks you can use a full strength solution.
  2. Harden Off: Hardening off basically means stop pampering your seedlings so they’re not shocked by ‘real world’ conditions. This means stop fertilising four days ahead of the move and reduce watering 6 - 14 days beforehand (don’t allow them to wilt but don’t keep the soil perfectly moist). Once the seedling stems thicken and seem stockier (usually a week after hardening) they should be ready to move.
  3. Choosing A New Home: Before moving, choose a sheltered spot if you can - protected from strong wind and direct sun. Of course, make sure the garden patch is food safe if you are growing veggies. Also, try to choose a moving day that’s not extremely windy or hot - overcast is good.
  4. Moving: Soak the seedlings ahead of moving them out of the soil using half strength fertiliser. Then, using a trowel, scoop the plant out without cutting the roots and gently place the seedling in its new home, covering with soil up to the stem. Don’t pat the soil around the seedling - this reduces soil aeration.   
  5. Post Moving: Continue to watch out for your seedlings after you’ve moved them. If the weather is downpouring shelter them with a temporary roof. If it’s incredibly hot you’ll need to provide shade and extra water.

jordan sly with vegepod raised garden beds

*Jordan and the Wormtickler gang are wholesale nursery organic seed suppliers based out in Kenthurst. They specialise in chemical-free seedlings nurtured using permaculture principles. Our thanks to Jordan for the guest post! 

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