Why oh why is the gardening industry taking so long to eradicate single use plastic from their products?
While we home gardeners wait for a free flow soil solution that’s perfectly suited to people with small spaces, one avenue to explore is making your own potting mix and seed raising mix.
Once you get started, it’s a lot of fun, and not that complicated. One of my favourite books as a kid was ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ by Roald Dahl, and I sometimes look at a box of delicious looking seedlings and sigh with exasperation that I’ll never know EXACTLY what went into that particular blend to bring about the very best results.
Things you can start to gather as you explore this topic are:
- Worm castings from your worm farm
- Garden soil (any time you plant a tree or dig a hole, keep some of that top soil for use in your potting mix)
- Compost, biodynamic compost if you can make it yourself
- Well aged horse manure. You could alternatively try well aged sheep pellets, well aged chicken manure or well aged cow manure. I’ve got a bag of ‘Zoo Doo’ I’m looking forward to using this season.
- Leaf mould. Gather up all the leaves you can and wait patiently for these to turn to soil.
- Well aged mulch. Can you get some arborist’s mulch? I like to put it out as pathways first, as it suppresses the weeds where I walk. Over time, this breaks down into a lovely chunky mix that can go into potting mix.
- Biodynamic CPP (cow pat pit preparation), a little of this gives your potting mix a nice boost.
You don’t need all of these, but it’s fun to play around with different ratios and conduct your own home-based experiments to see which plants like which soil blends.
To see my current recipe (it keeps changing), then you can get details in the Grow from Seed online course, which shows how to get started with seed sowing, and follows the path through to transplanting, making a container garden, and getting your plants out into the garden.
Good luck reducing your single use plastic consumption — making my own soil blends has been a game changer for me.
If you’d like to read another reason to grow from seed, then have a look at this flashback to March 2020, when the garden centres ran out of seedlings, and home gardeners had no choice but to spend lockdown growing from seed — if they were lucky enough to get some before the shops ran out.
Let’s reclaim some of the skills our grandparents took for granted — make our own soil, and grow from seed.
Ideas for innovative edible gardening solutions using biodynamic methods to make ‘soil with soul’ is what New Zealand needs right now. For tips, advice and online courses go to www.blueborage.co.nz or get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org