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Running a Veggie Gardening Group

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The group has been formed and the first couple of meetings have been conducted and we are still getting new members and over a dozen people at our last meeting. This first meeting was all about setting up the group and the second was about planning what to grow so it was time to move into the more ?technical? side of gardening. So by mutual consent the third meeting was about how to grow vegetables from seed.

The Seed Raising Mix Raw Materials

I don?t have access to a projector at the moment so I had to transfer the information I wanted to present onto butchers paper with brief notes (but no diagrams, my drawing skills suck!) that covered off the following ?

One of the group sowing seeds into the seed raising mix

Why bother? ? satisfying and fun; save money; give them a head start; plant only growing plants; wider range of veggies over commercial punnets. Which seeds are sown directly versus sown in punnets ? big seeds and root crops direct sown, everything else in punnets. Hygiene ? the need to disinfect all trays, punnets, tools etc with dettol or bleach etc to prevent disease build up. Making potting mix ? the usual formulation of one part sand, two parts compost or worm castings and three parts cocopeat (horticultural coir), mix by hand and keep damp to prevent dust formation. The process for sowing ? putting  the mix in punnets, tamping down, sowing twice the diameter of the seed deep and then filling the rest of the punnet cell. Conditions for best germination and growth ? warm and moist with plenty of light when the seeds germinate and protect from pests. Pricking out ? use a paddle pop stick, at the four leaf (2 seed leaves + 2 true leaves) stage, keeping as much soil as possible, pit into filled tubes or pots then level off with seed raising mix. Plant out by hardening off if required, in the late afternoon is best, dig a hole and place tube directly in the hole, cover up, mulch and water in.

During the Practical Exercise

Having gone through all of the theory we had a 10 minute coffee break to give everyone a chance to regroup and have a talk with the other members. After the break
we did the practical. I had provided some plastic trays of sand, cocopeat and sieved compost, a plastic up in each tray and smaller trays to mix the seed raising mix up in and some 8 cell punnets for people to use. I also had some seeds appropriate for the season just in case, but had asked everyone to bring their own seeds to use and share and in the event there were plenty of seeds to go around.

During the Prac.

I also provided an ice cream container and scissors to make labels for the punnets and within half an hour everyone had made their seed raising mix and planted their seeds in the punnets. After a quick discussion we decided this theory then practical format for the meeting was a good one and that some of the meetings going forward would follow the same formula. After some discussion we identified the following subjects as suitable for future meetings.

Wicking bed
Self watering container
Cardboard Box Solar Oven
Worm Farm
Bokashi bucket
Hay box cooker
Rocket stove
Natural bug spray
Sprouts and microgreens
Seed saving
Moveable sun shade
Mini-greenhouse
Up-the-wall garden

The meeting wound up on this note and everyone seemed to be happy with the night?s activities.

Completed Punnets

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