by Sabine van Osenbrüggen
Are you the early starter type and have already pre-pulled all your vegetable plants and summer flowers on the windowsill? Or are you part of the "late bloomer" team like me and started sowing directly outside in the bed in April? Either way, the Perma Kalender team and I are now sharing some tips with you.
First, take a look at the bag of your seed. Is there an "F1" on it? If so, it means that they are hybrids that have been selected by selecting and crossing the parent plants. The aim of breeding is to improve the characteristics of the plant. For example, you breed them smaller, which could be interesting for cultivation in the tub or on the balcony. Or one increases the yield or the size of the fruits. Often, however, you achieve that the fruits of your plants no longer form seeds and you can no longer propagate them. If, on the other hand, you have bought so-called seed-proof seeds, this means that the plant has flowered, seeds have been formed and taken out. If you plant them, the next plant will have exactly the same characteristics as its parents - it has not been changed. In most cases, organic seeds or organic fruits, from which you can take your seeds yourself, are also seed-proof.
Then let's look at your growing soil. Please do not use soil that still contains peat (have a look at our article from January). It is best to buy so-called growing or herbal soil from organic farming without peat. This is low in nutrients, which means it provides the seeds enough nutrients to grow. Plant soil or fresh humus are very rich in nutrients and can "burn" the tender roots.
What do you seed the plants in? We use old pots from last year or recycled growing plates or pots. We wash these out well or just put them in the sun for a few days to kill any possible germs. You can also use pots made of coconut fiber, or make some from old newspaper or egg carton. Did you know how strong roots are? They often already penetrate the pot fibers during preplanting. It is best to plant with the entire seed pot (when it dissolves) in the ground to avoid damaging the roots.
And now we come to the right time. Here, depending on the plant, it's best to pay attention to the directions on your seed bag. Most seeds can be planted outdoors from April, provided that we are in spring, i.e. the cornelian cherry has flowered. The exception is the delicate vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini and squash, which come into the open ground only after the Ice Saints - in mid-May. An exception is the bean. It doesn't like cold feet at all. There is an old saying that if you lay beans too early, you lay them twice. Here you really need to be patient until May warms the soil (after the Ice Saints) to about 15 degrees.
Growing in your own garden or balcony should also give you variety on your plate, so keep an eye out for varieties you won't find in the supermarket, such as blue kohlrabi, colorful carrots, stem mush or small-leaf basil. And if you want to venture into growing annual flowers, like I do, look for open flowers, your insects like them much better because that's where they find food.
Our three-year Perma Calendar provides plenty of space for all your ideas, observations and findings. Naturally sustainable and produced with a sturdy linen cover:
Now, have a great time growing and check as well our article from May where we describe the phenomenon of the Ice Saints. Discover even more great tips and get a sneak peek at the perma calendar.