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Welcome to      sjefgardentips.wordpress.com,     a weblog with many gardening tips.

Recent new topics and additions:

September 1, 2016:   New photos of the garden on September 1, 2016 at   Sjef’s garden

August 28, 2016: Tip 2, new topics, nrs   67  to  71.

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I started this weblog at July 13  2011.  Since then over 80,000 visits (August 2016).

Thanks for visiting.

There are many tips, photos and words in this blog. You better choose a category and read tips about it. For example beans or onions.

When I “invent” a tip, I describe the tip in the Dutch version (Sjeftuintips). Some days or weeks later I translate the tekst and add the tip to Sjefgardentips.

So when you want to read the latest tips or latest versions of Sjef’s tips, you better go to Sjeftuintips and “Google translate” the Dutch tekst into English.

See black menu bar (at top of the page):

  • At “Home” you’ll find all garden tips one after another.
  • When you click on  “Introduction and overview of gardening tips” you’ll find a List of all gardening tips (with links).
  • Info and photos about my garden are to be found at “Sjef’s garden”
  • About Sjef” shows a photo together with a short story about myself.
  • At “From where?”  you can read where tips are coming from or how I stroke upon an idea.

Some posts have been divided into “chapters”. Each chapter name starts with a letter followed by )#. Easy to find a chapter or to remind where you have read something interesting. For example tip 24 and E)#. This chapter describes cutting foliage and roots at chicory (witloof).

At tip 2) Simple tools and tips, each tool or tip has an order number.

At the end of each post or page there can be some comments. Do you have remarks or questions, click “Reply” and/or fill in the box with “Enter your comment here”.

Within a few days I have read your comment and I put it on “Sjefgardentips”, at the same post or page as where you put it. Under your reaction I put an answer or reference.  I don’t send you an e-mail.

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41) Replanting vegetables using 2 plastic tubes

verplantbuis 2b

maakbuis 6

verplantbuis 4a

In this tip:

  • A)# Introduction
  • B)# Working method
  • C)# Remarks
  • D)# Making (wide tubes)
  • E)# Making (narrow, small, thin) tubes
  • F)# Final conclusion

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A)# Introduction

Cabbage plants and other vegetables are often sown in a row or a group in the garden soil. When plants are big, they are replanted to the desired spots in the garden soil. During replanting, garden soil can drop from the root ball. Or at the desired position, one can put a plant into the soil with no clinging earth at the roots. At the new spot, this plant has to get used to the new position and the new garden soil. It can take a long time before water and nutrients are transported through the roots of the plant again. The plant will hang loosely for some days or weeks.

You can try to replant with rootball, so  with much garden soil at the roots. Using this procedure, all roots of the plant are still in the same garden earth at the new spot in the garden. Plants will not hang loosely for a long time and they will grow on soon.

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Bulb planter

To replant with rootball you can use a bulb planter.

  • Use the bulb planter to make a plant hole at the new spot in your garden.
  • Put the bulb planter over (around) the plant.
  • Push the bulb planter into the soil.
  • Lift bulb planter with plant and root ball.
  • Put bulb planter with plant into the new plant hole.
  • Open the bulb planter and lift it from the new plant hole.
  • The plant with root ball will remain in the plant hole.

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Sometimes this replanting method is not succesful:

  • Some leaves of the plant are damaged in the bulb planter during “grabbing the plant”.
  • During “unloading” at the new plant hole, the plant remains in the bulb planter. You have to squeeze the handle or shake the tool to have the plant with root ball into the new plant hole.

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Two tubes

Instead of a bulb planter, one can use a plastic tube to grab the plant with root ball. Use another tube to make a new plant hole in the garden soil. Then put the plant from the tube into the planting hole. This procedure is described below. It works well when replanting cabbage plants, carrots, chicory (witloof), red beets, leek and lettuce (tried by myself).

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B)# Working method

verplant 6

The (cabbage) plants on this photo need to be replanted. Water the plants 1 day before replanting. Otherwise dry soil can fall from the roots during transport.

Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. This makes pushing the tube into the soil and “unloading” the plant out of the tube much easier. See C)# Remarks

verplant 7

At this position in the garden, new plant holes are made and plants are put in later. When top layer is very dry, shove this dry soil away before making holes. So dry soil will not fall into the holes.

maakbuis 5

On this photo you see the 2 tubes that are used for replanting. Each tube is 6 centimeters (2.4 inch) thick and about 50 centimeters (1 ft, 8 inch) long. Description of the tubes:

  • The upper tube on the photo, the one with white stripes, is used to make new plant holes. It is called the “plant hole tube”.
  • The lower tube on the photo, the one with the green hose, is used to replant. This “replanting tube” is closed at one end. Near this closed end, there is a hose in the wall of the tube.  The “replanting tube” is pushed into the garden soil with open end down. Depth in the soil is about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inch). Then the “replanting tube” (with plant) is taken out of the soil and put into the new plant hole. The plant with root ball is blown out of the “replanting tube” during lifting.
  • At each tube, rubber bands indicate how far the tube is put into the soil.

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verplantbuis 2

In this way the plant is put into the “replanting tube”:

  • Choose the plant that need to be replanted.
  • Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. Soil may be a little muddy. This makes pushing the tube into the soil and “unloading” the plant out of the tube much easier. See C)# Remarks.
  • When desired, dip the open end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch) before use. See C)# Remarks.
  • Use one hand to push all leaves of the plant against the stem.
  • Let the “replanting tube” down over the plant. Meanwhile guide the leaves and the stem of the plant into the tube.
  • Put the “replanting tube” over the plant on the garden soil, “about in the middle of the plant”.
  • Push the replanting tube into the garden soil until the rubber band touches the soil. This is about 8 cm (3 inch).
  • You can turn the replanting tube a little while it is in the garden soil. This “seperates the garden soil in the tube from the garden soil beneath the tube”. This turning procedure is not really necessary but you can try if it works well.
  • Carefully pull the “replanting tube” (with plant in it) out of the garden soil.
  • When the new planting hole is not ready yet, you can lay the replanting tube with plant on the soil. Or you can put this tube vertical on garden soil or on a paving stone.
  • When you click on the photo above, it gets screen wide.
  • You can use a cylinder (an empty toilet roll or so) to put in all leaves of the plant. Then put the replanting tube over the cylinder. See remark at C9) Leaves in roll.

maakbuis 1

Make a planting hole:

  • Push at the desired spot the “plant hole tube” in the garden soil until the rubber band touches the soil. That is about 10 cm (4 inch).
  • Pull the “plant hole tube” out of the soil. Then the  planting hole is ready.

maakbuis 3Empty the “plant hole tube”:

Use a wooden stick or trowel and tap against the tube to remove the garden earth from the “plant hole tube”. Drop the garden earth “somewhere else in the garden”.

verplantbuis 3 verplantbuis 4

When the planting hole is ready, you can plant as follows:

  • Put the “replanting tube” ( with plant in it) into the planting hole until maximal depth.
  • Take a breath of air and slowly blow air into the (green) hose. This air pressure pushes the plant with root ball out of the “replanting tube”.
  • Meantime lift the “replanting tube”.
  • Stop blowing air when root ball is out of the tube.
  • Lift the “replanting tube” until the plant is out of the tube.
  • When you click on the photo above, it gets screen wide.

verplant 1

Watering after replanting:

After replanting, pour cold tap water in the planting hole. In this way the room between ball root and planting hole is filled with wet garden earth. The plant will stand firm in the soil and will grow easy.

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C)# Remarks

C1) Moist garden soil when unloading

Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. Soil may get a little muddy. This makes pushing the tube into the soil much easier.

And “blowing out” (unloading) the plant with root ball goes much better. The moist root ball is more hermetic (air-tight) and the root ball is heavier. A water film between root ball and tubing offers a slippery path. On the new position, the plant grows in moist soil and will probably not hang loosely for many days.

Just before pushing the tube into the garden soil, you can dip the open end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch). This also eases pushing in and unloading the plant.

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C2) Planting depth

The rubber bands on the tubes indicate how deep the tubes are pushed into the garden soil. You can shift the bands. This means you can replant deeper, at the same depth or shallower than the original depth.

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C3) Adding manure or agricultural lime

maakbuis 2

You can make the planting hole slanting (\ /) by wiggling the “plant hole tube” while it is in the garden soil.

verplant 2

This offers more room between root ball and the edge of the planting hole. When desired you can put manure or agricultural lime in this room or on the root ball. Then fill up this room with loose garden soil. When watering the plant after this step, the root ball will remain intact. The garden soil will not be washed away during watering.

verplant 5

The same trick at another plant. Put agricultural lime around and on top of the root ball. Fill the space (between root ball and planting hole) with garden earth and make a “watering hole” around the plant. Water the plant.

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C4) Filling the garden hole

verplant 4

Plants can grow very close to each other. When you have taken out one plant, next plant is very close to the “hole in the soil”. See left photo above. This plant is hard to replant with the tube. The plant will drop out of the tube during transport. Or the plant can not be “blown out” because air is leaking next to the root ball.

You better fill the hole with moist garden soil and press on it. See right photo above. Now the hole is “gone”, you can water the soil and replant the plant using the “replanting tube”.

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C5) After replanting

verplant 3

These cabbage plants have just been replanted on their new spots.

verplant 8On this photo you see the same plants 2 days later. The plants grow firmly.

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C6) Narrow (small, thin) tubes

kokertje 67

When replanting small plants, you can use thin drainage tubes. The polypropene tubes on this photo have an outer diameter of 40 mm (1.6 inch) and a length of 50 cm (1.7 ft).

verplant 12

The tube at the left side of the photo is the “plant hole tube”. It has a (yellow) rubber band to indicate depth.

The tube at the right side of the photo is the “replanting tube”. There is a hose in the tube (near the end). The end has been closed by a black plastic blind cap, as shown on the photo below.

verplant 24

This rubber cap (38.5 mm) fits well in the tube of 40 mm outer diameter.

The tube has a (blue) rubber band to indicate depth.

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C7) Transplanting other plants

C7a) Chicory (witloof)

verplant 9

This photo shows replanting of witloof. At the left photo, the plant is at its original position in the garden soil. The right photo shows the plant at its new position. After replanting, much water is added to the plant and the soil. This makes garden soil flushing into the space between root ball and hole. So the plant will grow well after replanting.

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C7b) Red beet (beetroot)

verplant 12

Use small (thin, narrow) replanting tubes. Red beet plants are small and there is little space between the plants.

verplant 21

This photo shows replanting beetroot plants using small tubes. After replanting, much water is sprayed on.

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C7c) Winter carrot

verplant 22

This photo shows how a small winter carrot plant has been taken out of the garden soil, using a small (thin, narrow) tube.

verplant 23

The little carrot plant has been put into a planting hole. Garden soil has been shoved and water has been sprayed on.

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C7d) Leek

preiplant 38 preiplant 39

On these photos a leek plant with root ball is planted in a 4 inch deep furrow in the garden soil. After planting, you can shorten the outer leaves. Then the leek plant will grow on easier and its leaves will not hang soft during several days. More info at tip 36, chapter D)# .

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C8) Using a file to sharpen the edge of the tubes

Tom, a Dutch gardener, suggested to sharpen the lower edge of the tubes. This can be done with a file or sand paper. It eases putting the tube into the garden soil. For sandy soil probably not necessary. For clay soil a good idea. Thanks Tom.

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C9) Leaves in roll

Tom also advised to put the leaves in a paper roll before taking the plant out. And to transport the plant with roll to the new planting spot.

I have tested this procedure, as shown on the photos below.

buisje 6 buisje 7

This procedure works well as shown on the photos above when replanting a lettuce plant. Empty toilet paper rolls are useful for this. Using this method, one can put many plants into rolls. And then replant all plants. This may take less time than each time putting the leaves of a plant into the replanting tube.

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C10) Replanting into a flower pot

It can happen that you can’t put the plant (that is in the replanting tube) in a planting hole right away. Then you can put this plant from the replanting tube into a plastic flower pot. And replant it later from the flower pot into the garden soil.

Below a description.

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Replanting tube 6 cm

planten-in-potje-1

  • On this photo you see a replanting tube (diameter 6 centimeter) with plant in it. And an empty plastic flower pot.

planten-in-potje-2

  • “Blow” the plant out of the tube into the flower pot.
  • The root ball is 1 to 2 cm (about 0.5 inch) higher than the upper edge of the flower pot.

planten-in-potje-3

  • Use fingers to press on the moist earth in the flower pot.

planten-in-potje-4

  • On this photo a replanted kohlrabi plant with root ball in the flower pot. This flower pot has a thin wall and bottom. Before taking out the plant with root ball, you can press on the bottom of the flower pot. And then take the plant with root ball out of the flower pot.

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Replanting tube 4 cm

planten-in-potje-5

  • On this photo a repanting tube (diameter 4 centimeter) with a plant in it. And an empty plastic flower pot with insert and strip.

planten-in-potje-6

  • “Blow” the plant out of the tube into the flower pot.
  • Here the top of the root ball is somewhat lower than the upper edge of the flower pot.

planten-in-potje-7

  • Use fingers to press on the moist earth in the flower pot.

      planten-in-potje-8

  • On this photo a small endive plant in a small flower pot.
  • When neded, put some more moist garden earth in the flower pot.
  • Then use fingers to press on the moist earth in the flower pot.
  • This flower pot has an insert and a strip. Before replanting take the insert out of the flower pot. Lift the strip a few millimeter (1/4 inch) and release to loosen the root ball from the insert. Then you can take the plant at the root ball and replant it.

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D)# Making (wide tubes)

D1) Needed

buis 1

  • Thin plastic (PVC) tube, about 6 cm (2 1/4 inch) outer diameter, length about 1 meter (for 2 tubes). Price (in The Netherlands) about € 6.00 for 2 meters of tube.
  • Plastic end cap (or other well fitting pieces) to make a hermetic seal at one end of the tube. Dutch price is about € 4,50 for 2 parts.
  • Plastic hose,  about 12 mm (0.5 inch) outer diameter. Length about 30 cm, 12 inch. This hose costs about €1,25 per meter.

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Remark 1: sidewall thickness of tubes

When replanting “bigger” little plants you better use a plastic tube with a thin sidewall.

buis 11

Advantages of this “thin sidewall” tube:

  • Inner room is big, so there is much space for the plant when it is in the tube.
  • The wall of the tube is thin (1.5 mm, 0.06 inch) so it is easy to push the tube into the garden soil.
  • After replanting there is a narrow slit between planting hole and root ball (only about 1.5 mm, 0.06 inch). When spraying water, garden soil will fill this slit. Then the plant will stand firm in the soil and will grow easily.
  • This type of tube is used for rain water drain. So easy obtainable in a DIY shop.

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When using a smaller tube with thick sidewall:

buis 50 mm dikwandig

On this photo you see a 50 mm (2 inch) tube with thick side wall of 3 mm (0.12 inch).

This tube is less functional; less space for the plant, harder to push into the garden soil, wider split between new plant hole and root ball (much earth to flush in).

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Remark 2: pipe end cap.

In Dutch DIY shops you can’t buy 60 mm pvc end caps. So I used 2 “fitting pieces” to make a hermetic seal in the replanting tube.

It is much easier to use a well fitting pipe end cap. Maybe you can buy one on the internet.

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D2) Mounting the parts (wide tubes)

buis 2 buis 3

These parts fit well.

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Use a hack saw to make 2 tubes of about 50 cm (0.5 meter, 1.7 ft) length.

buis 4

Drill a hole in the side wall of one tube, the replanting tube. Diameter of this hole is about 10 mm, 0.4 inch). The hole is about 6 cm (2.5 inch) from one end of the tube.

buis 5

buis 6

buis 7

Put the plastic hose in this hole. “Fold the hose” and put it into the hole. Then “unfold the hose” in the tube using a wooden stick or so.

buis 8 buis 9

Put the “hermetic end cap” on one end of the replanting tube, near the small hose. The “end cap” should not pinch off or hinder the green plastic hose.

When needed, you can apply plastic tape to improve the “fit”.

maakbuis 5

A “plant hole tube” and a “replanting tube”, ready for use.  You can put an “indication” on one of the tubes, for example white stripes. This can overcome using the wrong tube during use.

buis 10

Put 2 or 3 rubber bands on each tube. When you put them next to each other, they will not shift easily during use.

The rubber bands determine how deep the tubes are pushed into the garden soil. By shifting the bands you can replant higher, deeper or at the same depth as the plant grew before replanting.

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D3) Piece of garden hose over sharp edge

slang-op-rand-2

You can put a piece of garden hose over the sharp edge of each tube. So pushing a tube into the garden soil dows not hurt anymore to your hand.

Below a description

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slang-op-rand-3

  • Use a piece of garden hose. Length is some more than the periphery of the tube.
  • Cut the hose in the longitudinal direction.

slang-op-rand-4

  • Put the hose over the sharp edge. A small part of the hose “is double”.
  • Push some (same size) well fitting plastic flower pots in the tube. These pots fix the garden hose over the edge of the tube.
  • During pushing in the flower pots, the hose can move a little. When needed, remove the flower pots, correct the hose and push the flower pots in again.

slang-op-rand-5

  • Lay the tube on the floor or on a flat table.
  • Use a drill of about 3.5 millimeter (1/7 inch) to make a hole through the overlapping pieces of hose and the tube.

slang-op-rand-6

  • Push a bolt with washer (3 millimeter) through the drilled hole.

slang-op-rand-7

  • Turn the bolt loose a little (c.c.w). This is to release the flower pots.
  • Remove all “loose” flower pots.
  • In these pots there is no bolt through the wall.

slang-op-rand-8

  • A “fixed” flower pot has a bolt through the side wall.
  • Push on the side wall (make a dent) to release the flower pot(s) from the bolt.
  • Remove the flower pot(s).

slang-op-rand-9

  • Bolt in again through the inner parts of the hose.
  • Put a washer on.
  • Put a nut on the bolt and fasten.

slang-op-rand-10

slang-op-rand-11

  • Use a sharp knife to cut the sharp edges of the hose.
  • On this fhoto indicated with yellow arrows.

The tubes are eady for use now.

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Remark:

When you put a well fitting pipe end cap over the edge of the tube, there is no sharp edge. So covering with a a piece of hose is not needed.

But you have to drill an air opening in the end cap of the plant hole tube. So garden earth easily goes in and out of the tube. See also  D1)  Remark 2.

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E)# Making (narrow, small, thin) tubes

In chapter C6), there is much info about the small tubes.

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F)# Final conclusion

  • This procedure works well for replanting small plants.
  • You can put the “replanting tube” about 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inch) in the moist garden soil. Less garden soil in the tube will leak air so you cannot blow out the root ball. More garden soil blocks in the tube and needs a very high air pressure to blow out. These values are for both thin and wide planting tubes.
  • It is good to water the plants and garden soil with much water, about 15 minutes before taking out, as described in remark C1). Then you can put the replanting tube some deeper or shallower into the garden soil, while the root ball can still be blown out easily.
  • Just before pushing the tube into the garden soil, you can dip the open end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch). This also eases pushing in and unloading the plant.
Posted in cabbage | 1 Comment

40) Info on a seed package

In the Dutch version of this tip, there is information about the text on Dutch seed package. It contains lot number, production year and best before date, or expiration date.

On the internet there is much info about seed package information “outside the Netherlands”. On that package there is often a “Packed for” year and a “Sell by” date.

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A)# Witloof (Chicory) seed, information and test.

witlofzaad 3

In may 2014 I bought these 4 packages of chicory seeds in 3 different garden shops.

witlofzaad 4x

I identified the packages with a blue pen (1,2,3 or 4). When you click on the narrow photo above,  you see the packages screen wide. On each package there is an expiration date or year (“BRUIKBAAR TOT” or “THT”) of 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018.

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Germination test

Seeds from each package have been used in the following germination test.

witlofzaad 5On this photo you see  the results of germinating chicory seeds on moist toilet paper. Number  1,2,3,4 at the plastic box indicate the package numbers.  At nrs 1 and 2 there is very little germination. Seeds nrs 3 and 4 show 100 % germination.

witlofzaad 6

On this photo you see  the results of germinating chicory in moist garden soil. Seeds have been put in small sowing holes and were covered with a thin layer of dry garden soil.

Again there is very little or no germination at seeds nrs 1 and 2. Seeds nrs 3 and 4 show more than 90 % of germination.

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witlofzaad 7 Chicory seeds of nrs 1,2,3 and 4, sown in sandy garden soil (in my backyard garden).  Seeds were covered with garden soil and little plastic flower pots.

witlofzaad 8

Chicory plants in the garden soil after germination. From left to right chicory seeds of nrs 1,2,3 and 4.

Again there is very little germination at seeds nrs 1 and 2. Seeds nrs 3 and 4 show much germination.

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B)# Conclusions

  • Expiration data are not always true or real.
  • When you doubt about germination, you better test the seed in a tray with moist toilet paper or moist garden earth.
  • Or sow about 10 seeds in a row in your garden soil and determine how many seeds germinate.

 

Complainting in the shop or at the supplier about bad germinating seeds will not be successfull, I think. The shopkeeper or supplier will mention the “Packed for” year and/or “Sell by” date. Or say that bad germination is due to the bad weather or your garden soil.

Little chance that the supplier or shopkeeper will report that the storage at his company was not good. And that he or she will give or send you new seeds for free.

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C)# Germination test

papiertest

This photo shows the results of a germination test for (FLTR) egg plant, winter carrot, onion and summer carrot (2 brands) on moist toilet paper. Seeds have been germinating for 6 days at about 68 F (20 C).

Posted in seeds | 3 Comments

39) Flower pots with bean stakes (in a small garden)

wigwam schooltuintje 25 juli

staken48

When you have a big garden, you can put bean stakes in the garden soil.

In a small garden there is not much fertile garden soil. Or in the garden there are many flagstones or paving stones. When you want to grow stake beans in a small garden, try big flower pots with stakes.

I got this idea in early 2014. And then I thought, someone else must have tried this before. With “Google” I found that Heidi from Northern California (U.S.A.) made a similar construction. She reported about it in March 2013. The photos and description of Heidi’s “building” can be found    here   .

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First trial in 2014

In 2014, I have made 2 bean teepees. One construction has been put in the backyard garden of my neighbour.  And the other one at the play ground of a primary school. My neighbour and the school teachers have done the watering of the plants.

The flower pots were filled with a mixture of sandy garden soil and compost (1 : 1). During growth of the plants, this mixture has been (rather) dry or very moist. This is due to “forgotten to water” or “pouring rain for several days”.

But still many beans have been harvested at the plants.

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Results in 2015

To improve the growing of the bean plants in 2015, the flower pots have been filled with pure (home made) compost. So no mixture of compost/garden earth.

staken51

A test with stake beans in various soil mixtures showed: the more compost in the flower pots, the bigger the roots of the plants. The photo above shows the roots of 4 bean plants. The plant at the left side grew in pure garden sand, the right one in pure compost. The 2 plants in the center grew in a poor and in a richer garden sand/compost mixture.

The same test showed: the more compost in the flower pot, the faster a bean plant grows.

bonenwigwam 1

In 2015 there is a bean teepee in my backyard garden. This photo has been made at June 22, 2015.

bonenwigwam 2

To prevent the soil in the flower pots from soaking due to heavy showers, there is corrugated plate on each pot.

  • Corrugated plate is cheap and it is easy to make a watertight roof.
  • Corrugated plate provides air openings. So air can easily pass into the compost in the flower pots.
  • Use opaque plate: no extra warming and drying out of compost in the flower pots.
  • When using transparent plate, there is more warming and drying out of the compost in the flower pots. More water to be poured in and (maybe) faster growing bean plants.

At the back side, the corrugated plate is not over the edge of the pot. The stems of the bean plants are led through a narrow “D-shaped” opening there. This opening is small, so little rain water will flow through. At that side there is a piece of plastic hose over the plate, to overcome damage of the stems of the plants.

At the front there is a “little door”. It is opened to pour water in the flower pot. On the plate there is a piece of brick to keep the door closed and to keep the plate on the pot during windy weather.

bonenwigwam 3

Once a day, 2 coffee cups filled with water are poured on the compost in the flower pot (open door, pour water, close door).

These improvements (compost, corrugated plate and everyday watering) must help to keep the compost in the pots at a good humidity and to have the bean plants grow well.

   bonenwigwam 4

On this photo you see the corrugated plate:

  • A rectangular plate.
  • A piece of plastic garden hose has been cut in the longitudinal direction and has been put over one edge of the plate (to prevent damaging of the plant stems).
  • This piece of hose has been fixed using 2 (black) tie-wraps.
  • At the other side of the rectangular plate there is a “door”. It has been fixed using (red) tie-wraps. The door can be opened or closed.

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Below a description of my teepee construction.

A)# Construction (from top to bottom)

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In the construction there are 4 bamboo sticks of about 9 ft (270 cm) long. Two tie wraps (10 inch, 25 cm long) hold the sticks together near the top.

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Each stake “stands” slanting against a big flower pot with soil mixture in it. The flower pot is about 12 inch (30 cm) high and has a top diameter of about 12 inch (30 cm). The stake is fixed to the edge of the flower pot with plastic plates and a tie wrap.

In the flower pot there is a mixture of compost and garden soil. This is a mixture that does not dry up so fast and in which beans grow well.

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The flower pot may stand on bricks (or paving stones or flagstones). The lower end of the stake also touches the bricks (or paving stones or flagstones). With this set-up, the whole construction will not be blown down so easy at stormy wind.

The stake is outside the flower pot. When the stake is in the soil in the pot, the lower part of the stake will rot. Outside the pot the stake will not rot so fast.

And the stake is above the bean plants in the pot. The growing bean plants will easily “find the stake” to climb along.

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B)# Building up

Below there is a description of the building up of the whole.

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In the construction, the bean stakes are used with the thick side down and the thin side up.

Lay all  stakes next to each other on the ground, all with the thin side in the same direction. Put a rubber band around all stakes, about 1.5 ft (45 cm) from each top side. Fix the elastic band using a loop and 1 or 2 tie wraps in the loop, as shown on the photo above. This makes releasing the rubber band easily.

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Fill each flower pot with the soil mixture. Then put all 4 flower pots at the right position on the soil or stones. At each flower pot the plates and tie wrap are positioned “away from the center of the 4 pots”.  See photo above.

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Put the 4 stakes (with elastic band near the top) “steep”, so almost vertical, on the soil near the flower pots.

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At each pot, lift the stake and put the stake through the loop of the tie wrap. After this action, the stake is loose in the loop of the tie wrap. See photo above.

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Stand on a step ladder. Fix the stakes near the top with 1 or 2 tie wraps.

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At each flower pot, tighten the tie wrap to fix the stake to the edge of the flower pot.

Then spray some cold tap water on the soil in the flower pots. When water has dropped, you can put bean plants in each pot (or sow bean seeds in).

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This photo shows the construction when built up.

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C)# Sowing beans or planting bean plants.

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The “bean tipi” has been put in the garden of my neighbour. At May 2, many seeds of French beans have been put on moist kitchen paper. From May 9 on, bean plants were big enough to plant out.

The photos above show 2 flower pots with bean plants at May 15.

Remarks:

  • Each pot is 10 inch wide and 11 inch high. Contents of each pot is about 10 liters. In each pot 7 to 10 bean plants have been planted into the mixture.
  • Don’t know how much watering is needed. Time will tell.

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On June 26 2014, plants have grown.

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On July 12, bean plants are big and…

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….. many beans are big enough to harvest.

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This teepee is at a primary school in my town. Photo of Juli 25, 2014.

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And on this photo you see big beans hanging at the same bean plants at Juli 25,  2014.

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D)# Making

The small white plastic plates are not for sale. So you have to make them yourselves as described below. And you can read how to fix the tie wrap and the plates to the edge of a flower pot.

D1) Making plates

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Each stake is fixed to a flower pot using 3 mounting plates and 1 tie wrap. These mounting plates are not for sale. You have to make them.

The broad plates are about 2 inch (5 cm) long, 1 1/4 inch (3 cm) wide and 5 or 8 millimeter thick. The narrow plate is about 1/2 inch (1,2 cm) wide.

In each plate there a 2 holes (5 mm) drilled. All drilled holes are on the same positions on the plates. Distance between holes is about 0,8 to 1 inch (20 to 25 millimeter). This matches to the size of the lower end of a bone stake.

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You can saw plates from thick or thin plastic cutting board, 5 to 8 millimeters (1/5 to 1/3 inch) thick.

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Before sawing, draw the outlines (-) and the positions of the holes(*) on a cutting board.

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Saw the board in 3 pieces. Drill the holes. Then saw the plates from the pieces.

Use sand paper to remove the plastic flakes.

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D2) Fixing plates to the edge of a flower pot

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Push a thick broad plate under the edge of a pot.

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Drill 2 holes (of 5 millimter) in the edge of the pot, at the same position as the holes in the plate.

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Put a narrow plate on the broad plate. Run a tie wrap through the holes of 2 plates and the flower pot, from outside to inside.

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At the inside, put the tie wrap through one hole of a (thick or thin) broad plate.

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At the inside turn the plate and put the tie wrap through the other hole in the plate and through the other hole in the flower pot.

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At the outside turn the narrow plate and put the tie wrap through the other hole of the narrow plate.

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Make a “loop” in the tie wrap. Then put the end of the tie wrap in the hole of the tie wrap, just over the 1th or 2nd tooth. The tie wrap will not get loose anymore, but it can be tightened later.

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Remarks:

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  • The stake fits well in the loose “loop” of the tie wrap.

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  • After tightening the tie wrap, the stake is well fixed to the edge of the flower pot.
  • Thanks to the narrow plate, the stake can tilt a little. The edge of the pot is not an obstacle during this tilting.
  • The loop in this tie wrap (photo above) pushes the top of the stake a little to the left (\).

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  • The loop in this tie wrap (photo above) pushes the top of the stake a little to the right (/).
  • This above mentioned stake direction (/ or \) has no influence on the construction. The lower end of each stake is in one corner (of the square, formed by the 4 flower pots). The upper ends of all stakes is above in the center of the construction. So each stake is pushed in the desired direction.

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  • At the flower pot on the photo above (with a thin rectangular edge _|), two broad plates have been used, no narrow plate. The edge of the flower pot is bent inside in the construction. This is a test to find out if this edge breaks sooner.
  • When the edge of a flower pot breaks after some time, cut the tie wrap. Then fix the plates and a new tie wrap at another, undamaged position on the edge of the pot.
  • You can fix 3 pieces of cable or rope to the upper side of the construction. And fix the other ends to high positions in the garden. This makes the construction “storm proof.

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  • During very dry weather you can put a flower pot dish underneath each flower pot.

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  • At rainy weather, or when too much water has been added, you can remove the dishes. When you have “drainable dishes” you can drain the water when needed.

The drainable flower pot dish as shown on the photo is described in tip    2) Simple “tools” and tips   at nr 63.

Posted in Beans | 2 Comments

38) Sowing groups of seeds at fixed distances

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Introduction

When you want to sow individual plants in a row at fixed distances you can sow 3 or 4 seeds per sowing spot. When sowing a few seeds per spot, you will expect that at least one seed will germinate and one plant will grow there. When 2, 3 or 4 plants are growing per sowing spot, you thin out later; at each spot you pull out small plants until one plant remains. This procedure works well at big or “easy to grab” seeds.

At small, dark, or hardly visible seeds this is much harder to do. Those seeds are hard to pick and lay on the soil. Or you can not clearly see where seeds have fallen on the soil. For example seeds of onion, chicory (witloof) or winter carrot.

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For sale (on the market)

You can find many “seeding tools” on the Internet. Below a short list. For some tools there is a Youtube instruction video or test video. Some remarks of me added.

1.    Transparent plastic tube, push button at the top, seed outlet at the bottom. In the tube there is a round plastic pen with groove. When pushing the button, seed outlet changes from closed to narrow or wide opening to let seeds fall through. For example    Rapiclip Mini-Seedmaster   or      Magic seeder     or  Super seeder   .

Two Youtube video’s:      Parsley Seedmaster    en     Phacelia Magic

2.    Small plastic box with one small seed outlet. “Just fill tap and go”.  This tool: Dial seed sower

Three Youtube videos:     Flower seed    (at 5 min + 40 sec),  Salt shaker video    (at 0 min + 53 sec)  en     How to plant tomatoes     (at 1 min en 4 sec)

3.    Plastic V-shaped vibrating seeder. Small shovel fitted with a distribution device for sowing seeds without touching them. Turning the wheel makes the shovel vibrate and transport the seeds.  For example the  Vibrating seeder .

4.    Hand-held bulb vacuum seeder with hollow needle. See   Tenax Pro Seeder   .

Two videos about this tool:    Tenax tool     and    Homemade seeder   .

In this video a review of tool 3 and 4:       Vibra or Tenax   .

5.    Homemade tool, made of pvc conduit pipe. See video:  Conduit pipe tool   .

6.    Homemade precision sower, made of a thin tube and a small hose.  See video:    tube and hose  .

7.    Other tools: saltsprinkler, folded sheet of paper or plastic box.   See video:   Salt sprinkler etc   .

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Properties, characteristics of these tools:

  • Tool 1,2,3,5 and 7;  at each “action”, one or more seeds fall out of the tool. You can’t control which seed and how many seeds will fall. Now and then seeds do not fall at the desired sowing spot. The seed falls a few millimeters or more from the destination spot.
  • Using tool nr 4 or 6, one seed is picked up each time. You can choose which seed is picked up. And where this seed is dropped. Now and then picking up the seed is less controlled due to a small “vacuum leak”. And sometimes seed drops too early.
  • More sowing tools such as this    Vibro Hand Seeder  , also see this   hand seeder video   .  What about this small plastic gutter with sowing holes:    gutter video    .

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Sjef’s design

Using the shift fall tray with 1 fall tube, (see tip 34), you can drop seeds. Each seed falls through the fall tube onto the desired sowing spot. When you sow 2 or 3 seeds at 1 spot, plants will grow too close to each other. At thinning out, there is a risk of pulling all plants out. Or that the remaining plant is loose in the soil.

When using a shift fall tray with 3 fall tubes, this problem does not exist. You can choose which seed will fall at what sowing spot (accuracy +-  6 mm).

This sowing procedure is suitable for sowing carrots, onions, chicory or leek.

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A)# Shift fall tray with 3 “special” fall tubes

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In the bottom of this tray there are 3 fall holes to drop seeds. This tray is about 2 inch (5 cm) wide, so you can easily hold it in one hand. Because of this, 3 fall holes in 1 row do not fit. That’s why the outer holes are closer to the center of the tray than the middle hole.

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The “fall tubes” have been made out of empty silicone nozzles (as used at sealant tubes). Over each tube there is a short piece of plastic tube (5/8 inch electricity conduit).

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Each plastic tube has a certain length. The end of this tube is about 1/5 inch (5 mm) longer than the silicon nozzle. Because of this the nozzles keep open during sowing on moist garden soil.

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This photo shows the fall tubes after sowing on moist garden soil. There is (rather much) moist soil on the plastic tubes, but the nozzles are still open.

When you watch the tubes on these photos, you can see that there are rubber bands around the nozzles. The rubber bands “hold” the plastic tubes so they don’t drop easily. And thanks to the rubber band there is a “fixed” space between the nozzle and the plastic tube. More info about this at D1) Tray.

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B)# Nylon cord with distance marks

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Very useful at sowing is a long nylon string of about 2 mm thick. It has knots at fixed distances, for example each 4 inch (10 cm). At each end of this string there is a loop.

Before sowing, fix the string over the garden soil; Put the loop at one side of the string over a bamboo stick. Put a piece of rubber band through the other loop of the string. Then put the rubber band over another bamboo stick, in a way that the string is pulled taut.

More info about this string at chapter D2) Nylon string with knots.   Or look at tip     2) Simple tools and tips    nr 64.

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C)# Sowing

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  • During sowing, hold the tray with one hand.
  • Again and again put the fall tubes “carefully” on the garden soil near a knot in the string. “Carefully” means “do not push the tubes into the soil”.
  • At each position, use one finger to shove 3 times one seed towards the holes in the bottom. Drop 1 seed in each fall hole.
  • Then lift the tray and put it near the next sowing spot. At that position, sow 3 seeds.
  • Continue until you have sown enough.

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On the photos above you see round prints of the 3 plastic tubes in moist garden soil. Inside each print there is a onion seed, marked with a yellow circle.

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After sowing strew a layer of moist garden sand on the seeds.

To “find”moist garden sand at an “empty” place in your garden; shove aside the dry top layer of the sand. Below it there is moist garden sand.

When using a plastic flower pot, you can strew a uniform layer of sand on the seeds.

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Cover the furrow with a cloth (or board or plastic corrugated plate). Then the soil does not dry so fast. And during heavy shower, seeds are not washed away. Put bricks or so on the coverage to prevent it from blowing away.

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C1) Sowing a mixture (onion and summer carrot)

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Put some carrot seeds and onion seeds in the tray.

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Sowing results in a thin layer of silver sand. Each time (alternately) 3 onion seeds and 3 carrot seeds have been sown. As planned. Klick on the photo for wide view.

You can sow alternately 3 summer carrots and 3 onions in one furrow. And thin out the onion plants later (and let the carrots grow). In this way you can grow 3 summer carrots, 1 onion, 3 carrots etcetera.

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C2) Sowing tiny seeds using this tray

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And here the Snapdragon seeds on silver sand. In each circle 1 seed. Click for wide screen view.

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Conclusion:  Using this tool, one can also sow a mixture of seeds or tiny seeds.

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D)# Making

This tray has been invented by myself. At this tool you determine yourself:

  • which seed is sown,
  • when that seed is sown,
  • where this seed is sown. Each seed drops within a 5/8 inch circle on the sowing soil.

Making a “shift fall tray” with 3 tubes is similar to making a tray with 1 tube, as described in tip 33. Below there are some more photos and tekst. And a description of the nylon string.

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D1) Tray

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Use a plastic box, for example a lunch box. Cut a plastic plate from the side of the box. Make 3 round holes in the plastic plate.

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  • Drill small holes (2 mm) in the 4 corners of the plate and in the bottom of the tray.
  • Fix the plate to the bottom of the tray. Put 4 bolts and nuts (about 2 mm diameter) through the 4 small holes.
  • Drill 3 small “fall holes” in the bottom of the tray. Drill each fall hole in the center of a big hole.
  • Use a 4.5 mm drill to make the 3 “fall holes” larger (wider).

 

  • Remove the plate from the bottom again.
  • Put the nozzles through the holes in the plate.
  • Use the 4 bolts and nuts to fix the plate with nozzles to the bottom of the tray.
  • Put a rubber band over each nozzle. Thanks to this rubber band, there is a fixed space between nozzle and plastic tube. And the tubes do not fall from the nozzles that easy.

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On this photo a close up of the rubber bands.

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Saw short plastic tubes from 5/8 inch electricity conduit. Each plastic tube must have a good length. The end of each tube is about 1/5 inch (5 mm) longer than the silicon nozzle.

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D2) Nylon string with knots

General description.

  • The nylon string is about 2 mm thick. Price is about € 0,10 per meter. Each knot makes the string 0.5 inch (1,2 cm) shorter. Take this into account when knotting.
  • When making a string of 15 ft (4.5 meter) with a knot each 4 inch (10 cm) you start with a string of 17 ft (5.2 meter). With 2 loops starting length is about 19 ft (5.8 meter).
  • Make the first knot in the middle of the string. Then make knots towards one end of the string. And then make knots from the middle to the other end of the string. In this way the maximal length you have to handle is half the original length.
  • When sowing at 2 inch (5 cm) distance you can also use this string with 4 inch (10 cm) marks. Sow near each knot and half way between 2 knots.
Posted in carrots, chicory, leek, onions, witloof | 3 Comments

37) Sowing small seeds individually with fixed distances

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Some vegetables (or flowers) have small seeds. Very often these seeds are sown one by one in a row, for example summer carrots or leeks. It is difficult to sow again and again one seed at each sowing spot. Often, many seeds falls on the same sowing spot. Or you forget to sow at a spot. And sowing all seeds at fixed distances is not easy either.

I did some tests when sowing summer carrots in a tray with sowing soil, see tip   20) Early summer carrots (sowing indoors, growing outdoors)  . Then I found out how to sow 1 seed per sowing spot at fixed distances. Or 2 seeds per sowing spot. And I made some extra simple tools to do this.

These tools are:

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  • Shift fall tray with one “fall tube”. The “fall tube” has been made out of an empty silicone nozzle (as used at sealant tubes). There is an elastic band around the tube (see tip 20).

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  • Round sowing stick with elastic band around it (see tip 20).

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  • Sink mat (see tip 20) or a placemat with holes or a “seed and plant spacing rule”. Such a rule is a slat with holes in it at fixed distances.

A rule is to be sold   here     (found at the internet). This rule is rather expensive and the holes in it are too small. You can make a rule with round holes of 9 mm yourself. Further in this tip there is a description.

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You can sow “dry” seeds that come right out of the seed bag. Or you can sow “germinated” seeds. These seeds lay on moist toilet paper. Seeds germinate and each seed gets a small root. Germinated seeds can be picked up and laid on the garden soil using tweezers.

In this tip both ways of sowing are described.

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A)# Sowing dry seeds

A1) Sowing in a small furrow

Here is a description of sowing “dry” seeds in a small furrow. In chapter A2) you can read how to sow on a small plant bed.

There are photos of sowing summer carrots or leek.

The used tools:  “shift fall tray”, sowing stick, piece of sink mat or a self made rule.

This method is also good for sowing other vegetables or flowers with small seeds. When you want to sow seeds one by one in a row. For example radish.

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Make a flat sowing trench in the garden soil. Spray cold tap water on the soil. Let the water disappear in the garden soil.

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Lay a piece of sink mat or a sowing rule in the furrow. A sink mat is heavy and will not “move” during next steps. But a sowing rule can shift. Use iron pins in the small holes to fix the rule to the garden soil. On the middle photo there is a fixing pin at the right side of the photo.

Put the sowing stick in the holes of the mat or the ruler to make sowing holes in the soil. This stick has a little bevelling. This bevelling makes the seeds “roll” to the middle of the bottom of a sowing hole. Depth of the sowing holes is 5 to 8 millimeters (1/4 to 1/3 inch).

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Lay the mat or the ruler in the furrow. Put dry seeds in the shift fall tray (with one tube and a rubber band). Again and again shove one seed to the hole in the tray. Let the seed fall through the tube and the mat hole (or ruler hole) into a sowing hole. On the top photo and the middle photo, carrots are sown. On the lower photo, leek seeds.

Next step: remove the mat or rule from the garden soil.

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On these photos you see sowing holes with 1 seed in. On the top photo and middle photo you see dry carrot seeds. On the lower photo leek seeds.

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After sowing seeds, strew (sprinkle, scatter) a thin layer of moist garden sand on the seeds.

To “find” moist garden sand at an empty place in your garden; shove aside the dry top layer of sand. Below it, there is moist garden sand.

When using a plastic flower pot with holes in the bottom, you can easily strew a uniform layer of moist sand.

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Then cover the furrow with a cloth (or board or plastic corrugated plate). Then the soil does not dry so fast. An during heavy shower, seeds are not washed away. Put bricks or so on the coverage to prevent it from blowing away.

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A2) Sowing on a small plant bed

Sowing on a small plant bed is just as good as (or even better then) sowing in a row in a small furrow. You can sow on a new plant bed a few times a year. For example when sowing summer-, autumn- or winter leek. Or cauliflower, broccoli or kohlrabi. Or each month a new bed of summer carrots. The planting beds can be made next to each other.

Below a step by step description with photos about sowing summer carrots. You can sow leeks or cabbages in the same way.

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  • Loosen a piece of garden soil using a fork or a garden scoop.
  • When desired, mix compost or … through the garden soil.

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  • Make a small plant bed in the loose garden soil. You can use a small wooden board to do that.

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Remark:

  • Even better is just flattening the garden soil. And not making a “deep” plant bed. Photos will be made.

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  • Lay a frame of wooden laths on the soil. See tip 2 nr 69 how to make this frame.

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  • Use a wooden lath to shove garden earth against the outer sides of the frame.
  • Press on this garden earth to form a little dam around the plant bed.

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  • Use a watering can with fine sprinkler head.
  • Water the soil of the planting bed.
  • Hold the sprinkler head near the soil during watering. In this way the soil is watered “softly”. After watering the soil is still loose. That’s better for the carrot plants.

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  • Let the water drop in the garden soil.
  • Lay a placemat with holes on the soil. This placemat has sowing holes with 3 centimeter (1.2 inch) distance between the holes. More info about this placemat in tip 2, nr 70.
  • Put fixing pens in small holes near the corners of the placemat to fix it. Further in this tip more info about these fixing pens.
  • Use a round sowing stick to make sowing holes in the soil.
  • Make a sowing hole under each hole in the place mat.

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  • Drop 2 (or 3) seeds in each sowing hole. That goes well when using a shift fall tray. Or use a (white plastic) tray and tweezers.

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  • Remove the placemat.
  • On the photo above you see that there are 2 carrot seeds in each sowing hole.

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  • Strew moist garden soil on the plant bed. You can use a plastic flower pot with holes in the bottom to do that.

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  • Carefully remove the frame. Make sure that the dam around the planting bed stays intact during removal of the frame.

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  • Lay a wooden stepping board (or something like that) over the planting bed. The garden soil with seeds will not dry out so easily then. And during a heavy shower, the seeds will not flow away.
  • Remove the wooden board when first plants are visible.

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  • Thin out when the plants are a few centimeters (about 1 inch) high. You can pull plants out of the soil. Ore use scissors to cut them just above the surface of the soil.

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  • Carrot plants have been thinned out. At each sowing spot, there is one little carrot plant growing (or no plant when no one has cropped up). Distance between the plants is 3 centimeters (1.2 inch).

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  • Right after thinning, spray water on the plants.

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  • Let the carrots plants grow big. On this photo you see 4 little plant beds with summer carrots next to each other.

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B)# Sowing germinated seeds

You can sow germinated seeds in a small plant bed. As described in chapter A2), except that you remove the placemat after making the sowing holes. And you lay germinated seeds in the sowing holes. I did not yet sow according to this procedure, so there are no photos (yet).

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Below there is a description with photos of sowing germinated seeds in a shallow furrow. The used tools: sowing stick, tweezers and a sink mat or a self made rule.

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Make a flat sowing trench in the garden soil. Spray cold tap water on the soil. Let the water disappear in the garden soil.

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Lay a piece of sink mat or a sowing rule in the furrow. A sink mat is heavy and will not “move” during next steps. But a sowing rule can shift. Use iron pins in the small holes to fix the rule to the garden soil. On the middle photo there is a fixing pin at the left side of the photo.

Put the sowing stick in the holes of the mat or the ruler to make sowing holes in the soil. This stick has a no bevelling. This makes the bottom of a sowing hole wider. So there is more place for the seed with root. Depth of the sowing holes is 5 to 8 millimeters (1/4 to 1/3 inch).

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After making the sowing holes in the soil, remove the mat or the rule. On the photos above you see “empty” sowing holes.

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In this margarine box there are germinated leek seeds (left side) and germinated carrot seeds (right side).

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Use tweezers to pick the germinated seeds. And a tea spoon to rinse water when “seed is sticking to the tweezer tips” (see below).

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Use tweezers to pick each seed from the moist paper and to lay the seed in a sowing hole. When a seed sticks to the tweezer tips you can use a  teaspoon of tap water to rinse the seed into the sowing hole.

On the 3 photos above you see sowing holes with one germinated seed in each hole. On the top phote you see carrot seeds. On the middle and lower photo there are leek seeds.

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After sowing strew (sprinkle) a layer of moist garden sand on the seeds. When using a plastic flower pot, you can strew a uniform layer of sand.

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Then cover the furrow with a cloth (or board or plastic corrugated plate). Then the soil does not dry so fast. An during heavy shower seeds are not washed away. Put bricks or so on the coverage to prevent it from blowing away.

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Remarks about the fixing pins:

  • Ruler too long:

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It can happen that the rule is (much) longer than the part of the furrow that needs sowing. In that case, lay one end of the ruler at the end of the furrow (see right photo above). Lay a (big) part of the ruler on fresh strewed (sprinkled) sand (left photo above). Put the fixing pens in one small hole and in one large hole of the rule. The photos above show how to do this. On the left photo, the rule is on sprinkled sand and the pin is in a large hole of the rule. On the right photo the pin is in a small hole at the end of the rule.

  • Improved fixing pin:

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These pins have been made of iron wire  of 1/10 inch (2,5 mm) thick. The rectangle shape pushes the ruler well on the sowing soil. So a good fixation. The pins are easy to make.

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C)# Sowing 1 or 2 seeds

When sowing summer carrots, you can drop 2 seeds in each sowing hole. Then (most of the time) 1 or 2 carrot plants will grow at each sowing spot.

When 2 carrot plants grow at each spot, they can “hinder each other during growth”.

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On this photo you see carrots that have grown from “2 seeds per sowing hole”. Some plants show curved carrots. And you see pairs of carrots still “touching each other” . All carrots have normal sizes.

When you want to end up with one plant per sowing spot, you can sow 2 seeds per sowing hole. At sowing spots with 2 plants, use scissors to cut away the smallest plant just above soil surface. The remaining plant can grow big. This works well at summer carrots or leek.

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D)# Needed

The shift fall tray with empty silicone nozzle and elastic band around it, the sowing stick and the sink mat have been described in these tips;

20) Early summer carrots (sowing indoors, growing outdoors)    and/or

33) A sink mat and a “shift fall tray” as seed sowing aids

About the tray, the stick and the sink mat there is a short description below.

About the self made rule there is an extended description below.

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D1) Shift fall tray

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Shift fall tray has one “fall tube”. The “fall tube” has been made out of an empty silicone nozzle. There is an elastic band around the tube near the opening. This band prevents the tube from going too deep into the hole of the mat or the rule.  And thereby no blockage of the opening by garden earth or sowing soil.

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D2) Sowing stick

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Use a stick with a little bevelling to sow dry seeds. This makes the seeds roll to the middle of the sowing holes.

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Use a stick with a straight end to sow germinating seeds. This results in wide sowing holes. So there is more space for each seed with a root.

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D3) Mat

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The mat with holes is a rubber sink mat. Or a part of this mat. The mat that you buy in a shop can have “closed holes”, as shown on the top photo. You can make extra holes in the mat as shown on the lower photo.

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D4) Sowing rule

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This sowing rule has been made out of a plastic strip. This kind of strip can be bought in a DIY shop. A flat strip of 2.7 meter costs about €3.00.

You can also use the flat “lid” of a plastic cable duct.

Use a hacksaw to make a rule of about 2 or 3 ft.

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Drill holes in the plastic strip. Pitch of the holes is about 1 inch or 1.5 inch. Hole size is about 3/8 inch (9 mm). During drilling, lay the strip on a wooden board. The drilling is not an easy job, but when you try hard and take your time you will succeed. When desired you can write consecutive numbers near the holes.

Drill a small hole of about 4 mm (1/6 inch) near each end of the rule. This hole is used to fix the rule on the soil.

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You can buy a plastic strip like the one on the photos above. Then:

  • Draw a pencil line in the middle of the strip
  • Mark the positions of the holes on this line. Pitch is about 1 or 1.5 inch.
  • Drill small holes of about 3 mm (1/8 inch). Put the strip on a wooden block during drilling.
  • Use a drill of about 9.5 mm (3/8 inch) to make the holes bigger. Drill slowly. Put the strip on a wooden block during drilling. And lay one wooden lath at each side of the hole. So you can push the strip on the wooden block during drilling. This prevents the strip to move upward when drilling too fast (as a Archimedes pump).
  • Drill 1 small hole of about 4 mm (5/32 inch) near each end of the ruler.

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I am still looking for a plastic strip with holes (9 millimeter) that is to be sold in a DIY shop. Then the holes need not to be drilled by yourself. The holes in the strip may be round or square.

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To make the fixing pins, you can use an iron bucket handle. Saw the handle in 2 parts. Then use one pair of tongs and a bench vice to bend each “half handle” into the desired shape.

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Or bend pins from 1/10 inch (2.5 mm) iron wire. These pins are even better because they press the ruler on the sowing soil.

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E)# Mixing small seeds with dry sand

On the internet there are many articles about mixing (carrot) seeds with dry sand. When sowing this mixture, the seeds are better spread out in the sowing furrow, according to these articles.

To find out how this works, some experiments have been done using summer carrot seeds mixed with dry quarz sand.

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E1) Mixture of seeds and “not much” dry quartz sand, strewing from a plastic cup

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Mix 14 dry carrot seeds with a little volume of dry quartz sand in a small plastic cup. Use a plastic tea spoon to move the mixture. Mix as well as possible.

Then strew the mixture from the cup on a piece of cardboard. Spread the mixture in a line of approx 10 inch (25 cm) on the cardboard. Spread the mixture next to a rule with marks. On the rule there are 8 distances of 3 cm (30 millimeter, 1 1/4 inch).

Do the test 3 times.

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On the photos above you see the results of 3 tests (little volume of sand, strewn from the beaker). There is a small dam of sand containing the carrot seeds. Seeds are not evenly distributed but concentrated in groups.

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E2) Mixture of seeds and “much” dry quartz sand, strewing from a plastic cup

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At this test, mix 14 carrot seeds with a “big volume” of quartz sand. Then strew the mixture from the cup on a piece of cardboard.

After sowing, seeds have been pushed aside in a straight line. Now you can see where the seeds “were hiding” in the layer of quartz sand.

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On the photo above you see the result of this test (much sand, strewn from the beaker).

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E3) Mixture of seeds and “much” dry quartz sand, strewing from a small plastic V- shaped tray.

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At this test, mix 14 carrot seeds with a “big volume” of quartz sand.

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  • Put the mixture in a plastic V-shaped tray. This tray has been made out of a plastic margarine box.
  • Let the mixture fall on the cardboard. Use tweezers or a pencil or pen to tap softly against the tray while the tray is kept a little bit slanted. When tapping the mixture falls more or less “uniform” on the cardboard.
  • After sowing, push seeds aside in a straight line. So you can see where the seeds “were located” in the layer of quartz sand.

This test has been executed 2 times.

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On the photos above you see the results of 2 tests (big volume of quartz sand, strewn from the V-shaped tray by tapping with tweezers).

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E4) Conclusion

  • When strewing from a round plastic cup, seeds do not fall uniform in a line. There are groups with many seeds and groups with few or no seeds.
  • When repeating the test, the groups with many seeds are located at different spots next to the rule.
  • Mixing carrot seeds with a small or a big volume of quartz sand shows about the same result.
  • Strewing from a V-shaped tray (and tapping with tweezers) gives a better, more uniform result than strewing from a round plastic cup.

In a mixture of carrot seeds and dry quartz sand, the seeds easily seperate from the dry sand. When shaking this mixture, many carrot seeds will show on top of the sand. These seeds “start floating” on the sand. This is due to the different density of sand and seeds.

When putting the original “well mixed” mixture in a V-shaped tray, the seeds stay well mixed in the sand. When you tap against the tray, sand and seeds fall uniformely on the cardboard.

Posted in carrots, leek, sowing | 7 Comments

36) Sowing and growing leeks (various methods)

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Jerry, a dutch gardener, commented at “Sjeftuintips”. Jerry wrote at June 1, 2014 that he uses a simple procedure to sow and replant leeks.  Leeks are sown in a tray. When leeks are about 4 inch high, they are replanted in a tray with cells of about 2 inch wide. When plants are big enough, they are replanted with root balls into the garden soil.

On the internet I found 2 “easy” leek sowing procedures more. Next day, June 2, I started sowing leeks using the 3 methods.  These 3 methods are called A), B) and C). Below a short description:

  • A) Jerry’s method: sowing in a small tray with potting soil, replanting each leek plant into a flower pot or tray, plant each leek with root ball in the garden soil.
  • B) Video:  Sowing in a high big flower pot with potting soil and sowing soil, entwining the roots of the big plants, putting each plant into a round hole in a furrow in the garden soil.
  • C) Diana’s method: sowing in a tray, lifting all plants + roots + sowing soil from the tray and planting the whole in a wide furrow on manured garden soil to let the leeks grow bigger.

Further in this tip:

  • D) Sowing leeks in garden soil or in compost, replanting using replanting tubes and plant hole tubes of tip 41.
  • E) Planting leek plants in the garden soil, 4 methods.

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At the first three chapters, method A,B and C are described and compared to each other. To have a good comparison, all leeks have been sown at the same date, June 2, 2014.

Sowing leek at June 2 is very late. But I did this test to find out which method is easier or at which procedure leeks grow harder. Germination and plant growth of the 3 groups were at comparable conditions (same temperature, watering, rain etc).

At September 3, 2014, leek plants have been put in the garden soil. And then I could see which leeks are bigger or thicker and which procedure works well.

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A)# Jerry’s method: Sowing in a small tray, replanting into a plastic plant tray (or flower pots), planting leek plants with root ball in the garden soil.

Photos of Jerry’s leek growing procedure are    here    .

Below a description and photos of my implementation of Jerry’s method. Some steps differ a little from Jerry’s.

A1) Sowing

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Fill a low plastic tray with sowing soil. Jerry does not use potting soil. Jerry makes a mixture of potting soil/turf with sandbox sand and lava gravel. Jerry writes that pure turf or potting soil is too acetic, so germination is poor.

I filled a tray with a mixture of potting soil and Agricultural lime, ratio 10 to 1. Spray tap water on. Use a thin wooden stick with rubber band as shown on the photo. Push the stick into the soil until the rubber band touches the surface of the soil. Repeat this to make all sowing holes.

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Lay 1 leek seed in each sowing hole 40 holes, 40 seeds.

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Cover the seeds in the sowing holes with dry garden sand (left side of photo) or with dry sieved potting soil (right side of photo).

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Put the tray into a plastic bag. Close the bag partially to form an air opening (top right on the photo).

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Or use a clothing pin to make an air opening.

Put the whole in a room at about 20 C (68 F).

Take the tray out of the bag when first leek plants are visible or when biggest leek plants are about 0.5 cm (1/6 inch) high.

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A2) Leek plants growing in the tray

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After 9 days at 20 to 25 C (68 to 77 F), leeks are that big.

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Leek plants, 26 days after sowing. The top of the potting soil is a little greenish due to algals even though I mixed some Agricultural lime through the potting soil. From 40 seeds there are about 30 plants; 25 big plants and 5 small ones.

I also filled another tray with a mixture of compost and Agricultural lime (10 to 1). There are no photos of that tray. The leeks in that mixture grew just as fast as the ones on the photo above. On the compost mixture there was less growth of algals.

In both trays together, there are about 50 big leek plants, big enough to put in flower pots with compost/lime mixture.

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A3) Putting leek plants in flower pots

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About 30 days after sowing, or when biggest leek plants are about 6 inc (15 cm) high:

  • Take all small leek plants with roots out of the potting soil. When desired, pour some water into the tray to wet the potting soil. This eases taking out of leek plants.
  • At leek plants with very long roots, use scissors to shorten these roots to about 2 inch.
  • Make a mixture of (home made) compost / Dolokal (Agricultural lime), ratio 10 to 1.
  • Put a little of the above mentioned mixture in a flower pot (or plant tray) to form a thin layer. Put a leek plant on this layer and fill the pot with the mixture untill full.
  • Put the leeks at the right depth in the mixture. The heart of the leek plant (where the leaves split) must be above the compost.
  • Put the flower pots with plants in (on) a layer of compost in a tray or laundry basket. This compost layer is very useful. The compost absorbes the excess of water during watering. And thanks to this compost layer, the soil in the pots do not dry out so easy.
  • Regularly water the leek plants in the pots.

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A few weeks later, plants are big and stems are thicker than a pencil. So ready for replanting.

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A4) Putting leek plants in the garden soil

About three months after sowing, leeks are big end thick enough to plant in the garden soil.

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You can use a bucket or so to transport about 20 flower pots with leek plants.

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Make a furrow in the garden soil of about 4 inch deep and 4 inch wide.

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Make round planting holes of about 6 cm (2.5 inch) in the bottom of the furrow. You can use a plastic tube, for example the “plant hole tube” as described in tip 41. After making each hole, tap against the tube to drop the earth somewhere else on th egarden soil.

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Take the leek plant with root ball out of the flower pot. When needed, before taking out, cut the roots that stick out through holes in the bottom of the pot.

After taking out, twisted roots can be visible at the lower part of the root ball (see photo above).  Do not “unwind”these twisted roots. Keep them as they are.

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Hold the leek plant at its leaves and slowly drop the root ball in the planting hole. Strew some garden sand on and around the root ball.

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Use a watering can with shower head and spray cold tap water in the furrow. Let the water disappear into the garden soil.

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Remark 1:  Flower pot with insert.

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You can grow a leek plant in a flower pot with insert. On the photos above you see such a flower pot. More info about the insert at tip 30.

Before planting, take the insert with leek plant out of the flower pot.

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Then lift the leek plant with root ball from the insert. When needed, cut the small roots that grow through the bottom holes of the insert. Or carefully pull these roots from the holes.

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Remark 2: Shortening the leaves right after planting

Hours or days after planting, some leeks show loosely hanging outer leaves. It will take several days before the leek plant is firm again.

So it is advisable to cut a part of the outer leaves right after planting the leek in the garden soil. The leek plant will grow better and the plant will stays firm.

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B)# Sowing in a big plastic flower pot with potting soil and sowing soil

On the internet I found this Dutch    video  .  The first part of this video shows how to sow leek in a flower pot. The lower part of the pot is filled with potting soil. The upper part is filled with sowing soil. After sowing coated leek seed, seeds are covered with sowing soil and sharp sand.

The second part of the video shows how to take out the leeks, how to seperate them and how to plant the leeks in the garden soil.

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This photo shows my leek plants in a big plastic flower pot of about 10 inch high and 10 inch wide. Leeks have been sown and raised according to the method of the video.

Three months after sowing, leeks have been planted in the garden. See steps below:

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  • Take the whole (plants, roots, potting soil) out of the flower pot.
  • Put the whole in a bucket filled with tap water.
  • Move the whole in the water to “release the roots”.

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  • Carefully separate the leek plants.
  • Wash (rinse) the leek plants in water.
  • Pick out the thickest plants. Put thin leek plants at the compost container. On the photo above you see thick leeks on top of the photo. Thin leeks on the lower part of the photo.

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  • Shorten the roots of the plants. On the photo above all leeks but one have short roots. All leaves have been shorted.
  • Plant out the leeks. More about this in chapter E)# Planting leek plants in the garden soil, 4 methods.

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C”# Diana’s method: sowing in a tray with soil, lifting all plants + roots + soil from the tray and planting the whole in the garden

This method has been invented by a Dutch lady, Diana. Diana has a website with many gardening tips. Her growing procedure for leek (in Dutch) can be found    here  .

C1) Sowing

Sow leek in a plastic tray (with small drain holes in the bottom) with a mixture of sieved potting soil and mansury sand, ratio 3 to 1. Or use sieved compost. Cover the seeds with sowing soil. Grow the leek plants at about 68 F (20 C).

At my first tests of June 2, leek has been sown in 6 small margarine boxes (250 grams). There are no photos of this. Further in this tip there are photo’s of the big leek plants that were sown in these margarine boxes.

A few months later I repeated the experiment using 2 big trays, each about 12 x 8 inch (30 x 20 cm). See photo below.

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These leek plants grow in big trays in compost (left tray) or sand / potting soil mixture (right tray). Plants are about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inch) high, big enough to be planted in the garden.

C2) Planting small leeks in the garden soil

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When leeks are big enough (15-20 cm, 6-8 inch), plants can be put in the grden soil:

  • Shove some garden soil aside to form a shallow furrow of about 2 inch (5 cm) deep. The surface area of the furrow is somewhat bigger than the total area of the tray(s).
  • Use a scoop to loosen the garden soil in the furrow.
  • Mix some sieved (cow) manure with the soil in the furrow.

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  • Take the whole (all plants + roots + soil) out of the tray.
  • Lay this whole on (in) the furrow.
  • Fill the open area around the plants with grden soil.
  • Water the plants and garden soil using a watering can with fine shower head.
  • The plants on the photo above have been lifted from the 2 big trays (tray size is 12 x 8 inch, 30 x 20 cm).

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Remark

Lifting the whole (plants + roots + soil) from the tray is hard to do. When leek plants are (too) little, roots are small and soil can easily drop from the roots. So sowing soil can fall apart during lifting.

Lifting from a small margarine box goes rather well. But lifing from a big tray (8 x 12 inch, 20 x 30 cm) is less easy. The photo above shows that this lifting was not very succesful. Leek plants have been planted a little messy. When leek plants and roots are bigger, this lifting will be improved.

Suggestion: lay a thin plate on the bottom of the tray before filling with sowing soil. This eases taking out the whole (all leek plants + roots + soil) and shoving it on the garden soil. More about this in tip 18, chapter C)#.

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You better plant out when roots are bigger, use smaller trays or use a tool (fork or something like that) when lifting.

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C3) Putting leek plants seperately in the garden soil

The leek plants that grew in the 6 little margarine boxes have grown bigger in the garden soil.

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This photo shows  the group of thin leek plants from the 6  margarine boxes, growing in the garden soil. Center, left on the photo. Date: August 1, 2014, so two months after sowing.

On September 3, three months after sowing, leeks are big enough to plant seperately in the garden. Below a description. 

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  •  When leeks are as thick as a pencil (or thicker), plants can be taken out. Use a scoop or so to lift big parts of garden earth with leek plants growing in.

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  • Put the parts of “garden earth with leeks” in a bucket filled with cold tap water. Rinse the garden earth away from the roots.

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  • Sort leek plants: thicker, thick as a pencil, thinner.

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  • Shorten, when desired, leaves and roots at the leek plants. On the photo above, leek plants at the left side are thick, have long or some longer leaves and short roots. Leek plants at the right side are pencil thick.
  • Plant out the leeks. More about this in chapter E)# Planting leek plants in the garden soil, 4 methods.

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Remarks about method A,B and C

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The photo above shows the leek plants of my experiment on September 3. On this photo the order from left to right is:     C)# Diana,      A)#Jerry,       B)# Video.

Let’s shift the order of the photo to ABC.

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The same photo, only shifted into the ABC order. From left to right on the photo:   A)# Jerry’s procedure with small flower pots,     B)# big flower pot as shown in the video,    C)#  Diana’s method.

  • A)# Jerry’s procedure works well. Leek can also be sown in sieved compost (I tried out later). You can replant in small flower pots filled with sieved compost, + agricultural lime (Dolokal) + sieved cow manure. Leek plants will grow faster in this mixture. Leek plants are easy to lift from the small flower pots. Leeks with root balls are easy to plant in round planting holes in the garden soil.
  • B)# Video with flower pot. When sowing in a big flower pot filled with the mixture of the video, leeks grow slower than at Jerry’s of Diana’s method. This is due to the poor mixture in the pot. You better fill the pot with a richer mixture, such as compost with a little manure. Seperating the leek plants is hard to do due to long roots of the plants.
  • C)# Diana’s method shows biggest (thickest) leek plants. The plants grow well in the manured earth of the garden. At this method, leek can also be sown in sieved compost with some manure and agricultural lime (I also tried out later). Lifting the whole (leeks with roots and sowing soil) from the tray is the hardest thing. When leek plants are bigger, this lifting will work better. Taking the big plants out of the soil and seperating goes rather well.

Conclusion: Method A) and C) are good procedures to execute.

Method B) needs some approvement.  At a richer mixture in the flower pot, leeks will grow fatster. And separation of the plants need to be made easier.

In 2015 I grew early leek following these 3 methods with an adapted sowing mixture. More info about this in     tip 18) Growing early leek   .

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D)# Sowing leek in garden soil or compost, replanting using plastic tubes

In April or May you can sow leek seeds in the garden soil. Or in the garden after replacing 2 inch of the top layer garden earth by 2 inch of compost.

The leek plants that grow there can easily be replanted when using replanting tubes (see tip 41). At this procedure, each leek plant with many roots in a big root ball is taken out of the garden soil. Next is putting the plant with root ball in a round planting hole somewhere else in the garden soil. After replanting, the leek plant can “grow on further”

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These leek plants in my garden have a width that is equal to or more than a pencil. They can be replanted.

  • Use the replanting tube as described in tip 41.
  • About 15 minutes before taking out the plant, spray much water on the plant and on the soil around it. It is okay when the soil gets a little muddy due to the water spraying. This eases inserting of the replanting tube. And taking out of the plant with root ball goes much easier. More about this at D1) Remark.

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  • Push the leaves of the leek plant into the open end of the replanting tube. Then push the tube about 7 cm (3 inch) into the garden soil.
  • Turn the tube in the soil a little, to “release the garden earth in the tube from the garden soil”.

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  • Take the replanting tube out of the soil. On the left photo above, you see that about 3 inch of this tube has been put in the garden soil. On the right photo you see garden earth at the lower side of the tube. Some small leek roots are visible.

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Make a furrow in the garden soil of about 4 inch deep and 4 inch wide.

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  • Use the “plant hole tube” to make a round hole in the bottom of the furrow. See left photo. Depth of the hole is about 5 inch (12 cm).
  • Take the “plant hole tube” out of the soil.
  • Put the “replanting tube” (with leek plant in it) in the round hole (middle photo).
  • Blow air in the (green) hose to push out the root ball. In the mean time, lift the replanting tube.
  • The leek plant is in the round hole, about 1 inch deeper than the bottom of the furrow (right photo).

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  • Strew some garden earth around the root ball, spray water in the furrow and let the water disappear into the bottom.

Now the leek plant can grow further. Water the plants and furrow daily during the first weeks after replanting (unless it rains, of course).

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D1) Remark

Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. Soil may get a little muddy. This makes pushing the tube into the soil much easier.

And “blowing out” (unloading) the plant with root ball goes much better. The moist root ball is more hermetic (air-tight) and the root ball is heavier. A water film between root ball and tubing offers a slippery path. On the new position, the plant grows in moist soil and will not hang loosely so fast.

Just before pushing the tube into the garden soil, you can dip the open end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch). This also eases pushing in and unloading the plant.

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The photo above shows a leek plant with a “very moist root ball”, just after blowing out of the “replanting tube”.

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The same leek plant with root ball splitted into earth (left side) and roots (right side). And a thin earthworm that lived in the root ball.

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E)# Planting leek plants in the garden soil, 4 methods

After searching on the internet and with info from collegea gardners, I found 4 methods to plant leeks into the garden soil. These methods are described in this chapter.

Leeks are put in the garden soil when plants are big and the stems are thicker than a pencil. Leeks are planted in holes or furrows in the garden soil. After planting, the “heart” of the leek plant (the point where the foliage arises from the stem) should be kept free from garden soil and above the soil surface. So take care that no soil gets into the folds between the leaves. And do not plant the leek too deep. That is better for the plant. A leek plant that has been planted too deep can die.

Some time later, when the leeks are bigger, more garden soil can be shoved against the plants. This causes a white part of the leek. The white part is where the stem was blanched underground, hidden from sunlight.

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Before planting leeks, leaves and roots are shortened. That is found on many (all) websites about planting leeks. After shortening, foliage is about 10 to 12 inch (25 to 30 cm). Root length is 1 to 2 inch (3 to 5 cm).

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Below there are descriptions of 4 leek planting methods:

  • E1) Planting into a furrow of 4 inch (10 cm) deep and 4 inch (10 cm) wide,
  • E2) Planting in round holes (2.5 inch (6 cm) diameter) in the garden soil,
  • E3) Planting in a narrow shallow furrow,
  • E4) Planting in round holes (1.5 inch (3 cm) diameter) in the garden soil.

At chapter E5) Growing, you see how the leek plants grow big and at E6) Best method, a description of the best procedure.

Below the descriptions of the 4 planting methods for leek. All leek plants were planted at July 15.

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E1) Planting in a furrow of 4 inch (10 cm) deep and 4 inch (10 cm) wide

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The photos above show how to make round holes in a furrow of 4 inch (10 cm) wide and 4 inch (10 cm) deep. The holes in the furrow are about 2 inch (5 cm) deep and 2.5 inch (6 cm) wide. A plastic “plant hole tube” can be used to make these round holes. On the photos you also see how to plant the leeks, shove garden earth and add water.

The bamboo stick with fixing strip around it can be used as a support for the leek plant. The plant will not topple when dropping garden earth from the tube into the hole.

After planting, leeks are about 2 inch (5 cm) in the garden soil. The “heart” of the leek plant is high above the garden soil. While the plant grows bigger, hoeing, weeding, watering and rain will move more garden soil into the furrow. This causes the white part of the leek. This white part is where the stem was blanched underground, hidden from sunlight.

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E2) Planting in “big” round holes in the soil

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On the photos above you see how to make a round hole in the “flat” garden soil (depth about 15 cm (6 inch), diameter about 6 cm (2.5 inch). And how to put a leek plant in the hole. You can use a tube to make the hole in the soil.

Right after planting, do not put garden earth in the hole. After putting in the leek plant, pour cold tap water in the hole until half or complete filled. You can use a bamboo stick with fixing strip around it to keep the leek in the center of the hole during watering.

During watering, some garden earth will flush from the side of the hole and cover the roots of the leek plant with a thin layer of earth. This layer is thick enough for the plant to grow well after planting. Oxigen can pass to the roots through this thin layer of earth.

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These leek plants grow in the garden soil for some weeks. After planting these leeks in deep round holes, the “hearts” were not covered with earth. The “hearts” are still “free in the air”. During growing, these “hearts” will get higher above the soil. While the plants grow bigger, hoeing, weeding, watering and rain will move garden earth in the holes. This causes the white part of the leek.

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E3) Planting in a narrow furrow

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On these photos you see how to make a narrow furrow in the garden soil using a spade. And how to put leek plants about 6 cm (2.5 inch) deep in the furrow and shove earth to close the furrow.

A colleague at the allotment garden thaught me this procedure. This method is easy and planting goes fast. Each leek plant is put about 2 to 3 inch in moist garden earth. The heart of each leek is high above the garden soil and the plants will grow well.

During next weeks, use a hand cultivator to weed the plants and to shove earth against the stems of the leeks. This causes the white part of the leek. This white part is where the stem was blanched underground, hidden from sunlight.

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E4) Planting in “small” round holes in the garden soil 

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On the photos above you see making small round holes in the garden soil. And how to put leek plants in the holes. Holes are about 15 cm (6 inch) deep and 3 cm (1.2 inch) wide. Holes can be made using a big dibber made of a stem of a spade or pitchfork. This dibber has a pointed end that eases inserting in the garden soil.

Right after planting, do not put garden earth in the hole. After putting in the leek plant, pour cold tap water in the hole until half or complete filled.

During watering, some garden earth will flush from the side of the hole and cover the roots of the leek plant with a thin layer of earth. This layer is thick enough for the plant to grow well after planting. Oxigen can pass to the roots through this thin layer of earth.

After planting these leeks in deep narrow holes, the “hearts” are not covered with earth. The “hearts” are just “free in the air” but at narrow holes there is more risk of covering the hearts with garden soil. At sandy soil and at dry weather, dry sand will “slide” into the holes. To overcome this, you can water the plants more often and with less water so holes keep open for a longer time. While the plants grow bigger, hoeing, weeding, watering and rain will move garden earth in the holes. This causes the white part of the leek.

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E5) Growing

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All 4 groups of leek plants, 10 days after planting. Click on the photo for screen wide. Groups are:

  • Left behind: narrow furrow
  • Left front: narrow round holes of 3 cm (1.2 inch) diameter
  • Middle: wide round holes of 6 cm (2.5 inch) diameter
  • Right: wide round holes in a wide furrow

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Same plants, 4 weeks after planting. Holes and furrow has been silted more or less.

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Same plants, 10 weeks after planting.

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Same plants, 15 weeks after planting.

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E6) Best planting procedure

The photos above show well growing leeks at all 4 planting methods. No leek plants died thanks to “keeping the hearts  above the soil”. Leek plants got much water by spraying and rain.

In each group there are small and big leek plants. This is due to planting thin or thick little leeks. And because one leek grows in more fertile (manured) earth than another leek plant.

There is no “best way of planting”. All methods work well. But it is very important to keep the “hearts” of the leek plants clean and above the soil.

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F)# Planting leeks in big flower pots

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You can plant leek plants in big plastic flower pots.

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  • Fill a flower pot half with sieved moist compost.
  • Add some sieved manure and some agricultural lime.
  • Sieving of these materials goes well through the holes in the bottom of a plastic flower pot.

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  • Put the contents of the flower pot into a bucket. Mix the materials in the bucket.

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  • Put the mixture in the flower pot again.

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  • Use a narrow plastic tube to make round holes in the mixture.

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  • Put the leek plant in the round hole. Fill the hole with mixture.

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  • Put 5 to 10 leeks in the mixture in the flower pot. Then put some garden soil on the compost. Add much water to the compost in the pot.

Next:

  • Water frequently. Put the flower pot outside so plants get rain water too.
  • Regularly pick the small weeds that grow between the leeks.
  • When leeks have grown, put a layer of garden soil in the pot on top of the compost layer.
  • Take care that you don’t put too much soil on; hearts of the leeks must be kept free of soil.
  • Repeat adding garden soil until pot is full. This causes the white part of the leek.

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This method works reasonable. Not as well as growing in the garden soil. But worth trying.

Posted in leek | 1 Comment

35) More tips about germinating beans

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A)# Introduction

At    tip 12) “Sowing beans on absorbing paper”     you can read how to grow bean plants indoors. You lay bean seeds in a tray on moist kitchen paper. On the tray there is a “lid” to prevent the paper and the seeds from drying out. When bean plants are 2 inch high you take them from the paper and plant them in the garden soil.

This method works well most of the time. But now and then something goes wrong. Germinating takes much longer than normal. Or on some seeds there are fungus spots. Or seeds turn to light brown, stink and do not germinate.

When it goes wrong, are bean seeds not good or is kitchen paper method not good?

To find out, I did some extra tests with germinating bean seeds. In this post you can read the tests and the results.

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B)# Lid on the tray with germinating beans

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When you use a tray with 2 sticks or pens and another tray on it as a lid, there is a rather broad air opening between the trays. At 68 F (20 C) the kitchen paper will not dry out so fast and the bean seeds germinate well.

But at a higher temperature, for instance 90 F (32 C), paper can dry out within some hours and then germinating stops.

Better use a tray with a more narrow air opening. Paper does not dry so fast then and bean seeds remain moist. In a tray with narrow air openings, bean seeds germinate faster than in a box with broad air openings.  This counts for higher  temperatures and for room temperature.

You can use the original lid of the tray (e.g. ice cream box). Do not press the original lid on the tray when it can fit tight on the box. During opening or closing, the box can be moved and bean seeds can roll or turn.

Next proposal is better:

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Lay the original lid “loose” on the tray (so no pressing on it). There is a narrow air opening between lid and tray. The kitchen paper will not dry out so fast. Bean seeds get enough fresh air. When using this “loose lid” on the tray, germinating works well.

In  tip 12) “Sowing beans on absorbing paper”   this lid is described as the best one when using one tray. So use the original tray and lid, put in moist kitchen paper, lay bean seeds on and put on the lid without pressing.

When germinating many beans, use 2 or more trays. Do not stack the trays with “loose” lids. Due to the weight of the top trays, the lid of the lower tray can “snap shut”, resulting in too narrow air holes. During opening, the lower tray can be moved and bean seeds can roll or turn.

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When the original lid is missing or when that lid closes hermetically, you can use a lid that is made of “a piece of cardboard in a plastic bag with rubber bands  around it”.

This lid is made as follows;

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Needed: a piece of cardboard, 2 rubber bands, a plastic bag with “square corners”.

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Cut the cardboard to the right size. The cardboard is some bigger than the tray. Slide the cardboard into the plastic bag. The slanting corners of the cardboard make sliding in easier.

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Fold over the plastic bag. Put 2 rubber bands around the whole. These bands keep the lid in shape. And the bands form a narrow air opening between lid and tray.

When the folded bag is too broad, fold open, cut away a piece from the bag (near the opening) and fold over again.

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B1) Remarks:

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  • In stead of a freezing bag with close strips you can use a “normal” plastic bag. As long as the bag has square corners so it fits well over the cardboard.
  • Further in this post I call a lid made of “a piece of cardboard in a plastic bag with rubber bands  around it” a “cardboard lid”.
  • Such a cardboard lid is easy to make. No holes to be drilled in the trays and no sticks or pens needed.
  • In a tray with a cardboard lid, beans germinate a little faster than in a tray with another tray on sticks as a lid. At a narrow air opening, humidity in the tray is somewhat higher. Bean seeds absorb water for a longer time and germinate somewhat faster.

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  • You can stack more trays with cardboard lid. Useful when germinating many bean seeds.

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C)# Germinating on a “warm apparatus”

At a higher temperature, bean seeds germinate faster than at room temperature. Germinating goes well when you put the tray with seeds on a “warm apparatus”. Heat “flows” through the bottom of the tray towards the bean seeds.

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On this photo you see boxes with germinating beans. The tray at the left side of the photo was at room temperature. The tray at the right side stood on a warm apparatus.

During germination there was a lid on the tray with bean seeds. At room temperature there was another tray on sticks on the tray. On the warm apparatus there was a cardboard lid om the tray.

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The same trays with lids removed.  All bean seeds have germinated on moist paper for 5 days. The left tray was at 66 F (19 C). The right tray was on a hood of the central heating unit that supplies hot tap water too, at a temp between 71 and 91 F (22 and 33 C).

As you can see, germinating on a central heating unit is much faster than in a room at 66 F (19 C).

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Remark (germinating old bean seed on a warm apparatus)

schimmel 1 Bean seeds can be 1 or 2 years old when used. When germinating “old” bean seeds on moist kitchen paper at 20 C (68 F) seeds can show blue fungus spots. See photo above. Most bean seeds will grow into normal big bean plants. But some seeds will mould and rot so they will not turn into good bean plants.

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You better germinate “old” bean seed on a warm apparatus, for example a central heating unit. Bean plants “grow faster than the fungus” so fungus will not or hardly attack the seeds and plants. On the photo above you see “warm germinated” bean seeds in the left side tray. In the right side tray there are bean seeds that germinated just as many days as the seeds in the left tray. And all seeds come from the same package. In the left tray there are many healty and big plants. In the right tray some seeds have blue fungus spots already.

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D)# Germinating in garden soil, potting soil, masonry sand or on kitchen paper

A colleague gardner uses  moist masonry sand to germinate bean seeds in. The method works well, he said.

This way of germinating has been described in a gardner book published in 1970.

To test this method, I germinated bean seeds “Miracle” in moist masonry sand, in moist garden soil, in moist potting soil or on moist kitchen paper. I did these test during warm summer weather. Germinating temperature was between 68 and 88 F (20 and 31 C) in the day time. During night, temp was about 72 F (22 C).

During germinating there was a cardboard lid on each tray.

On most photos in this chapter, there are 4 trays with;

  • garden soil (photo top left)
  • potting soil (photo top right)
  • masonry sand (photo bottom right)
  • moist kitchen paper (photo bottom left)

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Bean seeds laying on moist kitchen paper or on “moist soil”.

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On all seeds laying on “moist soil”, a thin layer of “moist soil” has been strewn. Layer thickness about 1/5 to 2/5 inch thick (0,5 to 1 cm).

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Germinating results after 2 days at 68 to 88 F (22 to 31 C)

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Germinating results after 4 days at 68 to 88 F (22 to 31 C)

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Germinating results after 5 days at 68 to 88 F (22 to 31 C)

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Bean plants germinated for 5 days in masonry sand (left) and on moist kitchen paper (right).

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Germinating results after 7 days at 68 to 88 F (22 to 31 C). All bean plants from masonry sand  +  the largest bean plants from the other trays have been put in the garden soil.

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The photos show that germinating is fastest in moist masonry sand. Masonry sand is “clean” and it does not contain fungus or bacteria that can attack bean seeds or delay germination. Bean seeds are surrounded by moist grains of sand . During germination, bean seeds can absorb water slowly and uniformly.

Germinating on moist kitchen paper is about just as fast as in moist garden soil. This germination is somewhat slower than in moist masonry sand.

In moist potting soil, germinating is slowest. Potting soil is (a little) acidic. That can be the reason for slower germination.

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E)# Bean seeds germinating in a layer of water

Another colleague gardner sowed dry bean seeds around stakes in moist garden soil. After sowing he watered the soil (with the beans sown in it). After 2 days he repeated watering and 2 days later he watered the soil again.

These bean seeds in his garden did not rot, as might be expected. All seeds germinated well. From each bean seed a bean plant was growing along the stakes.

Do bean seeds germinate well in extreme humid conditions?

The next test show the results.

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Three trays. In each tray there are 10 bean seeds “Miracle”.

  • In the left tray, bean seeds on 6 layers of moist kitchen paper.
  • In the central tray, bean seeds on 1 layer of kitchen paper. Seeds half immersed in water.
  • In the right tray, bean seeds on 1 layer of kitchen paper. Seeds completely immersed in water.

On each tray a carboard lid is laid. Bean seeds germinate at temperatures between 68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C).

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The same trays after 5 days of germinating at temperatures between 68 and 77 F. Lids have been removed.

Results:

  • On moist kitchen paper, all 10 beans have germinated.
  • Only 6 out of 10 bean seeds that are half immersed in water have germinated. The other 4 bean seeds did not germinate due to to absorption of too much water. These 4 seeds have been “drowned”.
  • All bean seeds that are completely immersed in water did not germinate. All “drowned”.

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On this photo you see the same 10 and 4 drowned seeds, a few days later. Seeds rot, stink, became soft, have fungus and will not germinate anymore.

Good bean seeds germinate well at moist conditions in the garden soil, when water can sink into the underlaying soil. As my colleague gardner demonstrated.

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F)# Bean seeds in a freezer

Do bean seeds germinate after some days in a freezer at 0 (zero) degrees F (- 18 C)?  Here are the results.

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Bean seeds “Miracle” have been put in freezing bags with zip lock. Bags with beans have been in a freezer at 0 F (-18 C) for 1,2,3,4 or 5 days. Three seeds per group. Three seeds ( column “0”) have not been in a freezer.

After that, seeds have germinated on moist kitchenpaper at 68 to 77 F (20 to 25 C), see photo above. Numbers on the paper (0,1,2,3,4,5) indicate freezer times in days. On the tray there was a cardboard lid.

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On this photo the same bean seeds after 3 days of germination at 68 to 77 F (20 to 25 C). All seeds but 2 have germinated. On these 2 seeds (one in group 3, one in group 5) are dark (fungus) spots.

All well germinated seeds growed to normal bean plants. Two seeds with fungus spots turned to light brown and did not germinate.

Bean seeds that were in a freezer at 0 F (- 18 C) for 1 to 5 days germinate approximately as fast as bean seeds that were not in a freezer.

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G)# Bean seed with bad germination capacity

Bean seeds are sold in bags or boxes. On the packaging there is (always) a “best before” date. Mostly this date is a few years later than the purchasing date.

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These 2 boxes with “Miracle” bean seeds have been bought in a garden shop in January 2013. The two boxes have different “best before” dates (as intended).

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On the boxes there are 2 different numbers (246886, 305116) and 2 different “best before” dates (in Dutch “BRUIKB. TOT”) (1.1.2016,  1.1.2017). According to the packagings information, bean seeds can be used for almost 3 to 4 years.

Further in this post, the bean seed in the box with “…1.1.2016” is called “old”. With ….1.1.2017 is called “new”.

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G1) Germinating in a tray with moist masonry sand

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On a mixture of moist garden soil and moist compost (1 to 1), 2 rows of 10 bean seeds “Miracle” have been laid. This mixture is similar to the garden soil where is sowed in.

The top row on the photo contains “old” seeds. The bottom row “new” seeds. This is also on the notice (O or N).

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On this photo the tray has turned a quarter. On the notice there is O (old) and N (new). On the bean seeds a thin layer of moist “garden soil/compost mixture” has been put.

Then a cardboard lid has been put on and beans have germinated at a temperature between 68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C).

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On this photo you see bean seeds after 2 days of germination.

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And after 4 days of germination.

At the “new” bean seeds, 10 small bean plants have grown. At the “old” bean seeds there are no plants visible.

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The 10 “old” bean seeds have taken out of the garden soil/compost mixture. These seeds have been rinsed in water and laid on a piece of paper. Seeds are brown and on some seeds blue fungus is visible. A few seeds are soft. No germination occured.

“Old” bean seeds germinate very poor (or do not germinate) in a moist mixture of garden soil and compost.

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G2) Germinating in moist masonry sand or on moist kitchen paper

From the test described at D)# Germinating in garden soil, potting soil, masonry sand or on kitchen paper you see that bean seeds germinate fastest in moist masonry sand.

That’s why a test with “old” Miracle bean seed in moist masonry sand has been executed. And also a test on moist kitchenpaper.

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G3) Masonry sand test

In 2 trays, 30 seeds of “old” Miracle have been laid on moist masonry sand and covered with a thin layer of moist masonry sand. On each tray there was a carboard lid. One tray was kept at a temperature between  68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C). The other tray stood on the hood of the central heating unit that supplies hot tap water too.

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On this photo “old” bean seeds after 6 days of germination.  Left tray (“20”) was at a temperature between  68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C). Right tray (C) was on a central heater hood.

In the tray that was on the heater hood, 2 bean seeds out of 30 germinated. In the other tray no seeds have germinated. So “old” bean seeds germinate poorly in moist masonry sand.

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From the left tray (“20”) 30 bean seeds have been taken out, rinsed with water and dried on paper. From the right tray (“C”) 28 bean seeds. All 58 bean seeds have not germinated.

On the photo above you see some of these not germinated bean seeds (left photo “20” group, right photo “C” group). All seeds look more or less like each other. Some seeds have blue fungus spots.

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G4) Test with moist kitchen paper

In 2 trays 30 seeds of “old” Miracle have been laid on moist kitchen paper. On each tray there was a cardboard lid. One tray was at 68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C).  The other tray was on the hood of a heater unit.

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On this photo you see “old” bean seeds after 6 days of germination. The left tray (’20”) was at a temperature between 68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C). The right tray (C) on a heater unit.

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The beans on the left photo have germinated between 68 and 77 F (20 and 25 C). The beans on the central and the right photo on a central heating unit.

When you click on the photo it will appear screen wide.

In each tray some seeds have germinated. On many seeds there are blue, black or green fungus spots. Some seeds are brown and did not germinate. These brown seeds absorbed too much water and have “drowned”.

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The 20 seeds that do germinate are put in a tray with moist garden soil. The photo above shows the bean seeds (bean plants) right after putting in garden earth. On the tray a transparent hood has been put.

Within 3 to 6 days, 10 bean seeds grow into small bean plants. Some bean plants look a little “odd”. These odd plants will grow normally into big ones.

Ten (10) bean seeds in the tray did not survive. These seeds have rot.

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G5) What to do?

When you buy bean seed in a shop, look at the “best before” dates on several packages and on several (bean) species. In this way you can find out what is old and new bean seed.

Are 2 “best before” dates present at the desired bean species, buy seed with the last “best before” time. So seed that will last longest.

Are there any doubts about the germination capacity, you can do a “germination test” with about 5 to 10 seeds.

Easiest test is in a tray with 6 layers of moist kitchen paper, as described above in this post. Put on a cardboard lid and put the tray on a “warm apparatus”. When roots are visible at some bean seeds after 2 to 3 days, seed is okay. Good bean seeds have no (big) fungus spots, do not turn to brown (or maybe 1 or 2 seeds) and grow into good bean plants.

Another test is in moist masonry sand, see description above. Within 1 day there are “swellings” on the sand from the thicking bean seeds. This is due to water absorption of the seeds. When (at some seeds) roots or seed parts are visible above the sand within 2 to 3 days, seeds are okay.

For some species germination capacity decreases faster, for example at the “Miracle” beans as described above.

At some other bean species, germination capacity can be good for a long time. One never knows. A germination test can give you more information.

Complaining at a shop or a supplier about “bad seed” is very difficult, I think. Supplier will alert to the “best before” date. Or will tell you that the weather or your garden soil is not good.

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H)# Bean seed absorbs water too fast

For germination, bean seed has to absorb water.

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Each bean seed has a tiny opening to let water in. On the photo above, black arrows point to this opening.

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When a bean seed absorbs water too fast, seed turns to light brown. Seed does not germinate anymore. Very often (blue/green) fungus spots appear on the seed. Like the 4 seeds, left above on the photo.

Too fast (or too much) water absorption can happen when seeds are immersed in a layer of water. This is described at E)# Bean seeds germinating in a layer of water.

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boonkiem 2Too fast absorption of water can happen when there is a layer of moist kitchen paper on the bean seeds.

boonkiem 10Or when you spray much water on bean seeds laying on moist paper.

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H2) Recommendation

  • Lay bean seeds on moist kitchen paper.
  • Do not spray water on the seeds. Do not lay moist paper on the seeds.
  • Lay a cardboard lid on the tray so the air in the tray will get moist.
  • The bean seeds germinate well in moist air. Seeds absorb water gradually and continuously.
Posted in Beans | 1 Comment