Germination tips …

Last Saturday’s ‘Gardening Australia’ program made the claim that you won’t find the tip to use Epsom Salts to assist germination in any gardening books. That’s not true!
You will find that tip and lots of other tips for getting the best germination and growth from young seedlings in ‘Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting’ pages 132-136.
Epsom Salts is a fast source of magnesium for plants. Magnesium, as well as being an essential part of chlorophyll – the green colouring in plants, performs a range of tasks in plants including dissolving the germination inhibitor that coats seeds. Use a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salts dissolved in 2 litres of water to dampen seeds after sowing.

Sowing and planting tip

When sowing seed directly into garden beds, or when planting out seedlings, or planting shrubs and trees, always make sure that soil in the growing area is thoroughly dampened BEFORE sowing or planting. Then, after sowing or planting, you only need to add enough water to settle soil around the seeds or roots. Soil should be what is known as “dark-damp” before you add seeds or plants.
This practice is very important because, if soil in the growing area is relatively dry and you only apply water to the seed row or plants after you put them in the soil, some of the water you apply will be drawn away from the seeds or plants into the surrounding drier soil. The dispersion of water into drier soil is a common cause of germination failure, or seedlings, shrubs and trees drooping several days after planting.
When sowing seed, or planting out seedlings, thoroughly water the furrows or planting holes first. Check that you haven’t just wet the top centimetre of soil. For successful germination, soil must remain dark damp, and a very light application of fluffed-up organic mulch across the growing area or between rows can help prevent water loss through evaporation. Seeds sown in dark-damp soil don’t usually require soaking before sowing, with the exception of silver beet and beetroot as these have a thick, corky outer layer. If legume seeds are sown in dark-damp soil, they do not require soaking beforehand because over-wet legume seeds may rot before germination.
When planting shrubs, trees and vines where soil is not dark damp, fill the planting holes with water and plant only after the water has drained away. After planting, apply enough water to settle soil around the roots and apply a 5-7 cm of organic mulch to prevent water loss through evaporation.