Over the past few weeks I have been slowly planting up some of the varieties we hope to grow in the garden this year. I’ve got about 20 types of chillies (I’m in a chilli growing competition, more on that soon), as well as tomatoes, beans, beetroot, and cucumber. I’ve also put in some sunflowers because I promised my wife, on a whim, that we would try to grow a hundred of the things, and I suppose with that figure in mind you have to start somewhere.
However, we are also entering a period of chaos, whereby there will be a lot of travelling. Thrown into this mix is the 2 month old who hence force will be referred to as the Petit Garçon. Petit Garçon is wonderful, however his very presence means that we have little time for looking after the seedlings. In previous years I would have watched over them lovingly, gently making sure they had enough water and sunlight. This year I’m more slapdash about the whole thing, and rather more concerned with keeping PG alive.
One brilliant discovery that we’ve made along the way, however, is using a storage tote instead of a propagator to get the seeds started. I first saw this used on JebGardeners YouTube channel – which you can find here – and I thought it was a genius idea. Instead of an expensive purpose made propagator, you use a clear plastic storage tote. Why? Well…
- They are often cheaper
- They have a larger capacity
- They can be used for something else in the off-season, and thus don’t take up as much space
Added to that, they are pretty genius because we’ve discovered, by accident, that they are self-watering.
At the moment my seedlings are happily growing in the tote, and haven’t needed watering for about a week. The humidity in the tote, added to the sheer size of it, means that water evaporates from the bottom, collects on the top, and then falls onto the seedlings below – like a mini water cycle. This means that we are free to neglect the seedlings, safe in the knowledge we’ll have something to plant later in the year!