Understanding our Sowing Information

This page contains all the information you need to know to understand our sowing information.  The information on this page is of a general nature and does not take into account particular varieties, climates or situations.  For information on a particular variety please view the product description of that particular seed variety.

 

Below are explanations of the terms and symbols we use on our seed packets and throughout our website.  Please note a simplified copy of this information is also sent out with all orders.

 

How to sow your seeds

  1. Sow seeds into soil or seed raising mix at the depth indicated on your packet  
  2. Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.  
  3. Be patient.  Some seeds take longer to germinate than others.  Germination should take 1-4 weeks depending on variety and weather.
  4. Protect seeds and young seedlings from pests, pets and weather.

 

Seed sowing tips:

  • If you don’t have the recommended sowing depth a good rule of thumb is to sow the seed at a depth equal to twice the width of the seed itself
  • Sow seeds thinly.  For most varieties sowing seeds thinly is a good idea; this will ensure your seedlings are not overcrowded and save you thinning them out later on.  Seedlings that are over crowed have to compete for resources and are more susceptible to disease.
  • When sowing seeds in warm weather it can be difficult to keep soil moist.  A good trick is to cover the soil with plastic, or paper until germination occurs; this keeps moisture from evaporating.  As soon as seeds germinate remove cover.
  • To make handling very small seeds easier they can be premixed with (washed) sand or dry seed raising mix.  This makes obtaining an even sowing much easier.
  •  “Hedging your bets” is always a good idea especially if you’re growing something for the first time. ie: maybe you should try sowing some seeds direct and raising the others in containers?    

 

Method

It is important to use a sowing method that suits the plant you are growing.  If you use an incorrect method you may have poor results or your seeds may fail to germinate.   Our seed packets will tell you the recommended sowing method(s).

 

Sow direct: This means that the seeds are best sown directly into the garden.  Seeds normally produce fast growing and strong seedlings.  Young seedlings may still need some protection from harsh weather and pests.

  • Before sowing: Remove any weeds, cultivate the soil well and make sure the soil is moist; not wet, not dry.
  • Sow seeds to the recommended depth.  If you have heavy soil consider covering seed with a seed raising mix or vermiculite to aid germination.
  • Seed spacing is determined by the size of the mature plant.  With smaller seeds it’s often best to sow a little bit more than needed then thin them out later, leaving only the strongest seedlings.  Larger seedlings can normally be spaced correctly at the time of sowing. 
  • Soil should be kept moist at all times; never wet and never dry.  If the soil gets too wet: the seeds may rot before they germinate.  When watering take care not to disturb the seeds or seedlings.
  • Protect from pests such as slugs, snails, birds and pets, and extreme weather.

 

Raise seedlings: This means seeds are best started off in trays or other containers and then transplanted to their final position once they are established.  These seeds normally produce slower growing and weaker seedlings that need more care and protection from weather and pests.  Seedlings can normally be transplanted to their final position once they are large enough to handle (around 5-10cm tall).

  • Choose a pot, tray or other container that has good drainage and has enough depth to allow unrestricted root growth.
  • Fill containers with a good quility soil.  Consider adding 1-2cm of 'seed raising mix' on top to aid germination; seed raising mix has superior drainage and moisture retention, and is very light making seed growth very easy.  (TIP: seed raising mix is essential for very small seeds and seeds that are slow to germinate)
  • Keep containers in a sheltered position: indoors, in a greenhouse or covered in the garden.  It is important to protect from extreme weather elements and to maintain an even temperature.  Keep containers out of direct sunlight; the sun can fry young seedlings and dry out your seed raising mix
  • Soil should be kept moist at all times; never wet and never dry.  If the soil gets too wet: the seeds may rot before they germinate.  When watering take care not to disturb the seeds or seedlings.
  • Take care when transplanting, try not to disturb the roots.  Small seedlings are very delicate, don't let them dry out; it’s best to transplant when it’s cooler or late in the day and always out of direct sunlight.

 

Position

To get the most out of your plants make sure you give them the conditions they do best in. Sunflight and soil type are the most important factors here:

 

Full sun: Plant likes 6 hours of sun or more a day   

Part Sun: Plant likes 3 – 6 hours of sun a day  

Shade: Plant likes less than 3 hours of sun a day

 

Well drained soil: Soil should have excellend drainage and not pool or become waterlogged after watering.

Moist soil: Soil should retain moisture well without being too wet.

 

Plant life cycle

Always consider the life cycle of a plant before choosing a position.  eg: You may want to plant perennial vegetables together in a different part of the garden, so they are not disturbed when soil is cultivated at the start of every season.

Annual: Plant completes its life cycle within 1 year (then dies)  

Biennial: Plant completes it’s life cycle in 2 years (then dies)

Perennial: Plant has a life cycle of more than 2 years  

 

Measurements and spacing

↓ Sowing depth: This is the recommend sowing depth.

≡ Rows: This is the recommended row spacing

↔ Plant spacing: This is the recommended plant spacing (Also gives an idea of plant width)

↕ Plant height: This is the approximate plant height

 

Days to harvest, maturity or flowering

This is simply the number of days until the plant reaches the purpose for which it’s normally grown (ie: the time it takes for the plant to fruit or flower or until the leaves are ready to be picked, etc.)

 

 

Frost Hardiness

Frost tender: Plants will be injured or killed by frost and cold weather.  Plants will probably not survive winter.

Half hardy: Plants can tolerate some frost and cold weather but will probably still not survive a full winter.

Hardy: Plants have the ability to survive frost and cold weather.  Plants should survive winter.  *Note: Some plants may become dormant or grow very slowly during cold weather.  Some young plants are still sensitive to cold weather until they are established.      

 

When to sow

It is important that seeds are sown at the appropriate time of the year. All varieties are different; some prefer hot weather, some prefer cold weather, some like intense sun, some like frost. 

 

AUSTRALIAN SEASONS:
Mid Summer Late Summer Early Autumn Mid Autumn Late Autumn Early Winter Mid Winter Late Winter Early Spring Mid Spring Late Spring Early Summer
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

The table above shows the Australian seasons by month.

 

The recommended season to sow each of our seed varietes is available in the product descriptions on this website and is also printed on our seed packets for sowing times more specif to your climate we recomend you use our sowing chart:

 

Sowing Chart: Our sowing chart gives an overview of the approximate sowing times for common vegeables, herbs and flowers throughout the Australian Climates. Download our sowing chart here.

 

Australian Climates:

Make sure you know your climate.

  • Cold Climate: All of Tasmania, Melbourne, Mt Gambier, Orbost, Canberra, Orange, Armidale, Toowoomba, Dalby, etc.
  • Moderate Climate: Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Alice Springs, etc.
  • Warm Climate: Brisbane, Bundaburg, Carnavon, etc.
  • Tropical Climate: Broome, Darwin, Cairns, Townville, Rockhampton, etc.

 

 

How to store your seeds

To avoid any unnecessary loss in quality store your seeds in a dark, dry, cool location.  A cupboard or a drawer is normally sufficient for short term storage (ie: 6 months). 

If you intend to store your seeds for a longer period we recommend you store them in your fridge, this will dramatically increase the life of your seeds.  Seeds should be put in an airtight container/jar together with some desiccant/silica gel (if unavailable an envelope filled with powdered milk or rice is a good alternative).  Make sure not to freeze your seeds, if done incorrectly freezing can kill seeds instantly.  

When removing your seeds from the fridge allow the container to come to room temperature before opening, this avoids condensation.