Dos and Don'ts of Seedsheet Gardening
Below are some basic dos and don’ts for your amazing Seedsheet gardening adventure!
Let’s start from the bottom-up; your garden container.
- While we do love our fabric containers (check out this blog for the benefits), they aren’t absolutely necessary and Seedsheets can be purchased solo without our containers. DO select a container which offers good drainage. Choosing to grow in a sealed container like a metal bowl or a canoe (yes, we’ve seen it), may look really aesthetically pleasing, but the seeds and root systems of your plant varieties won’t be super stoked when they’re drowning. Drainage holes in the bottom allow for excess water to leave the container once the soil has reached it’s moisture carrying capacity.
- DON’T select a container with less than 10-inches of soil depth. Your plants won’t be able to create the network of roots that support and feed the lovely (and delicious) foliage, not to mention this is a complete nightmare for root veggies that won’t have enough space to grow deep into the container.
- If you are using our fabric containers and green saucer, DO place the saucer underneath the fabric container, not inside the container. The saucer is meant to catch any excess water draining through the container and protect your floors or deck from damage. It may need to be emptied of water occasionally.
Next, the soil that you place in your container is vital to the success of your garden.
- If you are sourcing your own soil, DO choose a fertilized potting soil labeled for use with vegetables. Organic is preferred, but not absolutely necessary. Here is the soil that we offer on our website and use in all of our gardens with great results. Here is an alternative soil we have tested with great results.
- DON’T plant in alternative mediums like sand, mulch, or dirt dug up from your backyard. These options do not have the necessary nutrients for your plants or the proper moisture capabilities, which will yield subpar results. Unknown mediums may contain potential diseases, insects, microbes, or other undesirable material like heavy metals or chemicals.
- DO fill the container with soil aaaaaaaall the way to the brim. Soil settling of a couple of inches may occur after several days of watering. Filling the container completely with soil will drastically decrease the chance of the sides of the container shading young seedlings from necessary direct light and will ensure that your plants have enough depth of soil for healthy root systems.
- DO level the soil at the top of the container. This will help to evenly distribute moisture to seedlings when watering and avoid drainage off to one side or into a divet.
When planting your Seedsheet, here are a couple of tips to get your garden off on the right foot!
- DON’T bury your sheet in soil. A Seedsheet is meant to lay directly on the surface of your garden, held down with the included stakes.
- DO plant your sheet seed-side-down. Inspect both sides of your sheet and take note of the seed pockets in each soil pod. Lain seed-side-down, the soil contained within the pod is the perfect depth to cover the seeds for successful germination.
The initial watering process is vital to the success of your garden.
- DO secure your Seedsheet to the surface of the soil with the included stakes and place the entire container into the sink before watering.
- DON’T pour water onto a lone sheet in the sink. The pods will dissolve and you’ll be left with a useless pile of muddy soil and seeds clogging your sink. So disappointing!
- DO use the included green watering nozzle to water your Seedsheet garden. A traditional watering can, a sink tap, and a hose all have water pressure that is too intense for your little seeds to withstand and they can potentially be washed away. The included watering nozzles fit on any standard top plastic water bottle, like a seltzer or soda bottle (rinsed out).
- DO water your Seedsheet until the film around the entire pod has dissolved. Remember there is both a top and a bottom to dissolve around the pod! You may need a liter or more of water to completely dissolve the pods
- DO water in increments. For your first watering process, we recommend applying water for about 10-15 seconds, breaking for about 30 seconds, then resuming watering. Repeat this process until all of the pods have completely dissolved.
- DO water your seeds every day to moisten the surrounding soil. The consistent moisture is like an alarm bell waking the seeds up to germinate. Dry and cracked soil is not conducive to healthy growth.
- DON’T forget to take into account your unique environmental factors and adjust water as necessary. Is your area very humid? Dry? Hot? Cool? These factors will alter the amount of water necessary.
- DO test your soil for moisture content. Stick a finger into the soil between pods; does it feel dry and dusty? Increase watering! Does it feel sopping and muddy? Decrease watering! Soil should feel moist, but neither swampy wet or desert dry.
- Once seedlings have sprouted DON’T water from directly overhead. DO water at an angle, directed towards the base of the seedlings. This will prevent seedlings from being crushed by the pressure of overhead watering.
- DON’T remove the black weed-blocking fabric. It has several beneficial functions First, it obviously helps to block any weeds from growing so they are not competing with the seedlings you've planted. Secondly, it helps to space your seedlings appropriately so they are not migrating over and interfering with other plants. The fabric also helps to retain moisture in the soil on hot days and prevents water from evaporating too quickly. Lastly, it can help to deter critters from disturbing your garden and making a snack of your sprouts.
As you continue to care for your plants light will be one of the most important factors to consider for a bountiful garden.
- DO provide your garden with direct light for a minimum of 8 hours per day, with a preferred 10-12 hours.
- If growing indoors, DO provide additional light in the form of an LED grow light if you cannot achieve the minimum light requirement.
A few other points to note...
- DO protect your garden from torrential rainstorms-- especially if your garden is freshly planted.
- DO protect your garden from potential critter attack by elevating your containers onto a table or bench.
- DO fertilize your garden weekly to replenish nutrients in the soil.
- DO thin seedlings that require that care (tomatoes, root veggies, etc.). They’ll have more space and nutrients to thrive!
- DON’T forget to plant your gardens! DO store any unplanted gardens in their sealed packaging in a cool and dry location.
For more helpful step-by-step instructions make sure you register your garden for notifications and reminders throughout the gardening process.
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