It might not seem so, but creating a nursery for vegetable seedlings can be a very delicate matter. The choice of seeds (or young plants) is fundamental to our organic cultivation. Starting from the seed requires some essential precautions to ensure healthy and vigorous crops from the beginning. In most cases, except for cereal crops and some vegetables, it’s not advisable to sow seeds directly into the ground. Instead, it’s better to set up a seedbed (commonly known as a nursery) where we can plant our organic seeds and later transplant the young seedlings to the field.
In this article, we will learn how to create a seedbed using organic seeds for later transplanting in the open field of our vegetable garden.
How to Create a Seedbed
An easy and cost-effective way to create a seedbed without much effort is by using empty polystyrene containers with holes of different sizes, commonly used by nurseries and easy to find. You can save them from your previous cultivations, for example. Most vegetable seedlings grow well in a polystyrene seedbed with 91 holes, becoming a group of healthy plants ready for transplantation into the soil.
How to Proceed
Each individual container in the seedbed should be filled with soil up to the top (to level it and uniformly fill the holes, you can use a ruler). After that, place the organic seeds (one seed per space) in the center of each hole and gently push them to a depth of about 2 cm using a pencil. Then, cover with a bit more soil, making sure to level the surface of the polystyrene.
It’s recommended to use very fine potting soil, more suitable for promoting seed germination, and this will also help you save some money.
The final step is watering, which should be repeated almost daily. It’s recommended to use a watering can with very small holes and a gentle water flow, or even better, a spray bottle. Always check that the soil is well-moistened.
Where to Place the Seedbed
Another important tip to take care of the seeds and seedlings is to place the seedbed in a sheltered area to protect it from harsh weather conditions. A balcony with good coverage and sufficient sunlight exposure should be more than enough.
Lastly, it’s crucial to avoid nighttime frost, so if necessary, bring your fragile seedlings indoors.
With proper care and varying times depending on the type of seed, you’ll have your vegetable seedlings ready to be transplanted. If you wish to skip these steps, lack time, started late, or lack sufficient knowledge in choosing the right organic seeds, you can consider buying the required vegetable seedlings directly from a nursery.
Creating a Seedbed with Organic Seeds
We’ve seen how to grow a seedling from a seed, but if you opt for organic farming, you must choose organic seedlings or seeds to ensure a proper start.
First and foremost, it’s well known that the global seed market is controlled by lucrative multinational companies (read here to find out who they are), which certainly don’t use natural methods to bring their highly selected products to market (you can follow this interesting investigation by Report on this topic). This makes the organic choice truly courageous.
Where to Find Organic Seeds?
One good practice is to approach elderly farmers who might still preserve the seeds of their old and original crops through traditional methods, which are not at all obvious. Unfortunately, this path is not always easy to follow. However, there are other options; communities of farmers are emerging, especially in France, who collect, preserve, and exchange their precious seeds to preserve biodiversity, which seed multinationals are destroying with standardization and GMOs. These groups are organizing to make their organic seeds available to all conscious farmers at an affordable cost.
Avoid Seeds from Large Retailers
In our opinion, it doesn’t make much sense to go to a supermarket (or even a specialized store) and buy standardized tomato or chili seeds. In this case, it’s probably more efficient to skip the hassle of sowing and directly buy the seedlings. So, go on a quest for precious seeds, search the web, ask your grandparents, and take action. Most importantly, if you’ve been fortunate enough to find good seeds and cultivate them successfully, preserve them for the next season!
Where to Find Organic Seedlings for the Garden
If you prefer a more practical and quick approach and need ready-to-plant seedlings for your garden, you should turn to the right suppliers. With the growing interest in organic farming, many nurseries are choosing to sell and produce organic products, avoiding pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Often, these companies use organic seeds, sourcing from small producers instead of multinational seed retailers. While the costs may increase, they are acceptable if you want organic seedlings that you can trust for a fully organic cultivation from start to finish.
So, if possible, reach out to nurseries or retailers with organic certification for their products. Happy gardening!