I often call myself a lazy gardener... but really that's just an excuse to break the rules as I look for more efficient ways to use my time and energy.
One area of gardening I avoid cutting corners is in growing seedlings. These babies get the very best care and attention.
Read on to see just how much time these take to grow, and what makes them very, very different to what is sold in garden centres.
Where it all begins: seed raising mix
So although there's nothing quick and easy about growing plants here at Blue Borage, the easiest bit of my work is making seed raising mix.
Three simple ingredients, mixed in equal ratios: coconut coir, pumice sand, and sifted compost. I often wonder why these ingredients aren't sold in bulk - do we really need so much plastic packaging in our garden centres and supermarkets?
Consumers could all start asking this question. If that happened then ever so gently, the gardening sector might start to move away from single use plastic. I think it could take thousands of informed consumers all asking for change at once - are you one of them?
Seed Trays: well orchestrated timing and non-stop care
As much as possible, the seed sowing here happens in a rhythm determined by the moon and planets, and I follow the biodynamic moon calendar published by Brian Keats. Careful observation of which constellation the moon is passing through determines whether the seeds planted that day are flowers, leafy greens, root crops or fruiting vegetables.
|Flowers||Leafy Greens||Root Crops||Fruiting Vegetables|
|Cauliflower, Broccoli, Sunflower, Marigold||Lettuce, Cabbage, Mizuna, Spinach, Kale||Carrot, Beetroot, Daikon, Turnip||Pumpkin, Tomato, Cucumber, Peas, Chilli|
The seed trays are handled with utmost care: rushing is liable to send one toppling over, which can easily result in a loss of $900 worth of food. It's amazing to think that one seed tray can hold that much produce, right?
Second stage: the magic of home made potting mix
The potting mix here at Blue Borage is a little like alchemy. Worm castings are essential, as is a little bit of native garden soil. Well aged leaf mould is another favourite ingredient - except there's never enough leaf mould. Home made biodynamic compost is what makes the potting mix top quality, and I will often line each container with a few twigs and small sticks as a form of hugulkultur on a small scale.
An example of the borage plants - happiest on their own, with a generous amount of soil to get started in. Click to go to the shop and order yours to collect from Titirangi after lockdown is over.
I used to sell these boxes of seedlings, but more and more I'm devoting my attention to helping people set up their own seed sowing mini operation, so that the plants going into their gardens have had a whole life in one home.
This is where the container gardening package provides a 2 month 1:1 service, with in-person sessions and remote mini consultations whenever you have a question - I use the app Voxer for people to flick through a photo and question. It feels a lot like Instagram DMs, and means I can be out in the garden tending my own seedlings, and catch your question when I come inside for morning tea etc.