Raising seeds

This blog recently put me in touch with a friend I’ve seen only briefly since primary school. She was kind enough to send me my very first piece of blogging fan mail! A lovely parcel which included two packets of Select Organic seeds. Thanks Lorna!

This generous and unexpected gesture has spurred me into action on the seed raising front. Since good quality seedlings are hard to find and rather uneconomical, seed raising is really the basis of my whole food growing strategy. Trouble is, it’s a delicate art with wide room for error. After reading everything I can get my hands on, it all comes down to a teeny, tiny speck of embryonic material which needs exactly the right mix of moisture, air, warmth and light to put out roots, shoots and hopefully, leaves.

I started with toilet rolls and an upturned veggie crisper-turned-greenhouse, which sadly did not stop a marauding brush turkey from upsetting the lot. Unfortunately, the damp cardboard quickly attracted mould and only about half of my efforts are still powering on. My second round of sowing was done in yoghurt containers and milk cartons, all carefully sterilised. I’m dreaming of an Alys Fowler-style greenhouse using recycled lead light windows. For now I’m using windows from an old Queenslander (found on Gumtree) as a series of lean-to’s. They make lovely dappled light out of the bright Brisbane sun.

As it happens, I’ve now got a fabulous collection of seeds. My Dad generously donated a large share of his own, my Tasmanian sister contributed some packets from Southern Harvest, my friend Kate chose some sub-tropical favourites including Rosella bush and I’ve picked up several packets of Green Patch Organic Seeds which are sold around Brisbane. I can’t rave enough about local company Green Harvest, who delivered the day after I ordered and sent copious amounts of helpful info. But my favourite packets are the ones with hand written labels, from a local permaculture nursery, Edible Landscapes. These are the ones carefully and judiciously saved by home gardeners. Seed saving plays such an important role in preserving our ability (and right) to produce our own food. I’ll be giving it a go myself, soon.

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4 Responses to “Raising seeds”


  1. 1 Lesley July 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Good on you, go for it! Mine will be ready start when i get back from Brisbane.

  2. 2 Sam July 17, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Someone on my blog recommended Green Harvest as a good online supplier of organic seeds. I have viewed the website for myself and they really do have a great range of organic and heirloom seed varieties! My virtual trolly is full of seed packets and just waiting for me to push it to the check out 🙂 I have raised plants from Select Organic and Greenpatch Organic Seeds with good results for both. Maybe we can do a seed swap at the end of summer? Surely it’s ok to post seeds across our border? Mr Fothergill, eat your heart out 😉 Sam xox

    • 3 mavisandfrank July 20, 2012 at 4:44 am

      I’d love to swap seeds! Though it is very tempting to simply continue selecting from the millions of amazing options from Green Harvest et al. I want to try them all!

  3. 4 Arthur July 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I love your attitude towards self sufficiency and starting from the basics Ally. The world needs more like you and Sam ! Don’t be disillusioned by the inevitable failures that will come your way and rejoice in your successes. I began growing vegies about 50 years ago and I’m still learning from my mistakes and just by experimenting with growing different plants and varieties and by trying different cultural practices.
    I planted my tomato, capsicum, chilli and eggplant seeds this week. I’m using one of those cheap plastic storage bins as a “hothouse” to raise the temperature in our cool winter climate in order to germinate them and grow them on for an early spring planting. I’ll germinate some more tomatoes in a couple of months for a later planting to extend the harvest into next autumn, providing I can keep the fruit fly and fungal diseases that seem to attack my later crops, at bay.
    Keep up the good work and keep Rose (and Theodore when he is ready) involved. You will be doing them a great service by teaching them where their food comes from and how to produce some of it for themselves.

    Love Dad


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A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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