This is post 7 and the final post of the series I started writing to chronicle my farm journey from preparing the land to harvesting produce. It had been a wonderful journey thus far and if you haven’t read my earlier posts, then please click on post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5 , Post 6 to read them. This post is all about sowing seeds to harvesting produce.
Okay, you read about preparing the raised garden beds and now it’s time to get the seeds ready for planting.
Now, there is quite a lot of information available on which seeds can be sown directly and which ones need transplanting. Though I have read-up as much as I possibly can on this subject , I am going to do what makes sense to me…if it works out then all’s well, and if doesn’t, then I learn something new. That’s the only thing I plan to stick to.
4 July 2018
Today marks my tryst with seed preparation, the seeds that would hopefully grow and give this novice gardener some hope; A hope that I can make it in this field of organic farming despite all odds. Despite all doubts. Despite no experience of farming. Despite all eyes questioning my decision; Yes, despite all that! I am moving forward with just one thing going for me and that is my strong desire, passion and belief in my dream. Hoping that is enough…
So the first step is – Soaking the seeds:
- Pre-soaking the seeds before planting them is a sure shot way to jump start and speed up the germination process. But remember, not all seeds require Pre-soaking…the tinier ones can be scattered on some good soil and they grow easily.
- The ideal soaking duration is 8 to 12 hours. I have soaked my seeds today morning in lukewarm water and I am planning to sow them in the evening.
After much contemplation, I have decided to start my seeds in small dhonnai (biodegradable disposable bowls made of dried Mantharai – Bauhinia tree leaves). The reason being, if I use small plastic bags (like the ones used in Nurseries) I would have to discard them all while transplanting. Imagine how many plastic bags would that be? And if I use seed trays (which I had used earlier) it sometimes disturbs the roots while transferring seedlings. To avoid disturbing the roots during transplantation process, I have decided to use these one-leaf-thick dhonnai, which can be placed in the soil directly as they are biodegradable and will slowly decompose in the soil. I am also using some paper cups as I don’t think I have enough dhonnai.
The seeds have been soaked for 8 hours and are ready for sowing. I sow them and water them well. After that I cover them with newspapers and kept them all in a dark place (my store room) . This is to help keep the seeds moist and aid in germination.
I keep checking on them everyday and slowly each one starts germinating. And within a week most of the seeds have germinated. Every time I see a seed germinating, its like witnessing a miracle! Imagine waking up everyday to see a few more seeds sprouting.
It seems like a validation of all the silent prayers sent up while sowing each seed and while watering them each day and making sure we give them the right conditions for germination.
No matter how many times you have done this before, each time it feels like a blessing!
The seeds that need transplanting had been sown and ready at home. So this week at the farm,the seeds that needed to be sowed directly on the patch had to be sowed.
16 July 2018
We are so happy we got the raised beds ready just in time for sowing season (Aadi pattam- according to the Tamil Calendar). We didn’t waste any time in sowing seeds on areas identified for each vegetable. I had prepared a blue print of all the vegetables, flowers and herbs after referring to a few companion planting charts.
Two patches were designated only for growing varieties of greens and then one patch just for raising seedlings for transplantation. One patch for climbers and creepers – pumpkin, cucumber, and some gourd family members. One for Radish, cauliflower, long beans, Cabbage and lady’s finger.
7 August 2018
Another very important task that got accomplished today is building trellis for the climbers. Most of the gourds that were sowed including cucumber, pumpkin and snake gourd have started growing and their lateral shoots and tendrils have started looking for support, so we had to act quickly and build a trellis to support their growth. My climbers and creepers are coming up well and that’s just an indication that it’s the optimal season for them. It’s beautiful to look at how they are extending their tendrils up the trellis that we made for them just last week.
Just look at the produce our hard work got us. This was unbelievable to say the least. This made my farm to table dream come alive. I have been able to do just that in 3 months time. Since September I have been harvesting enough produce for my family of four. Except for onions and potatoes, I have been able to get more than 35 varieties of vegetables from my farm, all grown absolutely organically.
If that doesn’t make you hopeful of making it as an organic farmer, what will? Come on, if I could do this, I am sure you can too. Just don’t give up on your farm dream.
May all your dreams come true!