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Growing High Quality Seedlings without Commercial inputs – Kay Closes The Loops: Part Eleven – October 7th

It is full on seedling production time now and growing one’s own seedlings is an art if you want a high quality seedling capable of producing high quality food. High BRIX food begins with the seeds……

1. Chose your seeds very carefully.

Choose seeds that do not contain glyphosate i.e they haven’t been grown in soil that has been treated with round up ever, glyphosate is patented and registered as an antibiotic and the gene kills life around it everywhere, including the microbes in the soil and our gut. Glyphosate also chelates many key minerals out of seedlings and plants so can never grow to be nutrient dense or even nourishing. Do not choose hybrid seeds because they contain enzyme blockers which also prevent the plants from picking up key minerals required for them to be nutrient dense and also required for human health e.g manganese, the mineral element at the heart of every seed including human seed! Also many seeds sold as hybrid seed are actually genetically engineered, classified as hybrid by working a loophole in the law in the US. Many, many vegetable seed lines are now being grown by a process called CMS, in reality genetic engineering, and sold as hybrid seed and accepted by organic standards but not Biodynamic standards.

Seeds saved from open pollinated heritage seed, grown in your own highly mineralized and microbially active soil and selected from the top 5% of the biggest and heaviest seed is the ideal option.

2. Make your own seed raising mix.

Living mineralized soil is critical for growing high quality seedlings. I use a mix of my own compost made as described here, or in our Art Of Composting Booklet mixed 50/50 with my own garden soil. Because our garden soil is pumice sand based this works well. If my garden soil was clay based I would add 10-20% sand in there. When I have good vermicast I also add up to 10% of that. If the compost and or vermicast is high quality that is all you will need for the seeds to germinate, and grow to the pricking out stage.

3. Watch to see if they need extra feeding

This is also all you will need to take them through to the transplanting stage, however, you must watch them carefully and if they show signs of slowing growth or not growing continuously and fast then they will need to be fed extra minerals. I used to water my seedlings with a weak solution of liquid fish. That certainly made them grow and look good but I now know that pumping seedlings and plants with nitrate nitrogen pushes growth but not high quality growth and nitrate nitrogen does not catalyse the photosynthesis process as phosphate does, and so, does not drop attatched minerals into the plant sap, to raise the plants nutritional value. I have discovered I get far better results from using CalPhos to feed my seedlings. I’m making CalPhos like this, and the very best seedling growth occurs when I put the seedling trays in a shallow wicking bed, or a tray containing 1cm of water and I add the CalPhos to that water, so that the seedlings themselves can draw up as much water and CalPhos as they chose via their roots. I also alternate the nutrient (CalPhos) in the water with my own Liquid Gold (I call it that because it is a golden colour and smells good) which contains the calcium and phosphate and also all the minor minerals as well as the major minerals required to grow a healthy seedling.

4. Pricking out

OK, so we have germinated our seeds, part of the process to grow a high quality seedling is to know when to prick them out and when to transplant into the garden. If you watch a seed germinating carefully you will see that once the first two leaves are fully open they will pause in their growth. At this point they will have done their initial root growth, a main tap root but with no fine root hairs. This is the critical time to prick out, they have germinated from the energy in the seed and are now in the process of switching to being powered by the sun via photosynthesis. Having super mineralized and microbially active seed raising mix is critical at this point because without that our seedlings will not begin to make high quality sugars in their leaves in the photosynthesis process then send up to 70% of them out through their roots at night to feed the microbes.

These are 4 week old lettuce seedlings with so much root exudates that the soil attached is a large amount

Picture1

5. Transplanting

If you have great seed raising mix and your seedlings make a lot of sugar which they will feed out through their roots to the microbes then after the next stage of growth which takes usually from 1-3 weeks, you will have a mass of fine root hairs that are covered in sticky sugars that now hold the soil onto them. At this stage your pricked out seedlings (usually 4 weeks after seed planting)… will have leaves touching above ground if pricked out to the correct spacings, and be perfect to transplant…before they begin a huge top growth spurt they will look like this.

Now your job to ensure you go from high quality seedling to high quality food is to ensure they are transplanted into highly mineralised microbially active soil.

Further Seed Planting Instructions

All other seed planting details can be found in the Koanga Garden Guide

Pick Up After Rain

After 2 plus weeks of no sun and rain every day I am going to give my entire garden a soil drench with cow manure and molasses: 2 handfuls of cow manure, ½ cup molasses and fill the 9ltr watering can with water. Nitrogen is the electrolyte in the soil without which nothing else can happen. So much rain will have diluted the nitrogen to the point there needs to be a boost. I’m making my own fish emulsion but it is not ready yet so I’m using cow manure with molasses, a carbon source to hold the nitrogen in the root zone.

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