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It is difficult to find plants raised organically without the application of artificial sprays and fertilisers. You may therefore wish to grow your own from seed.
Recapture the taste of a bygone era by growing your own vegetables using compost and organic manures. You wont be disappointed.
Always try to use organically produced seed that has been accredited by the Soil Association. This means the seed has been produced without an artificial regime of sprays and fertilisers. It has been produced by sustainable, ecologically sound, and environmentally friendly production methods. It will also be free of any chemical pre-germination treatments.
The cheapest way to raise plants is by sowing directly into prepared soil the method used for most vegetables, hardy annuals & perennials.
Rake the soil and sprinkle over with an organic fertiliser. Compress the soil by walking with your heels over the surface. Rake over to a fine tilth.
Sowing times vary but usually soil temperature must be above 7o C (45o F). You can start early & warm the soil by covering with a cloche two weeks before sowing.
Some seeds have hard coats that can be softened by soaking in water overnight. Other seeds, such as beetroot, have a chemical inhibitor & should be washed under a cold tap or soaked overnight. Do not sow too deeply as the seed will run out of energy reserves before appearing.
Space crops carefully to avoid overcrowding. Some plants can be transplanted but root crops will fork if transplanted. Biodegradable Growtubes are specially designed for sweet peas, beans, onions and all tap rooted plants. These can be planted out without disturbing the roots.
Water before sowing. Watering after sowing will cause capping of the soil and may prevent germination.
It can be advantageous to pre-germinate some seeds indoors & sow outside after they have started to grow. An electric propagator is a splendid way to get good germination at optimum temperatures.
Most plants can be produced from cuttings. Use an Organic Rooting Powder or Gel.
Softwood cuttings are taken in summer when the shoot is still growing. Take cuttings about 10 cm (4 inches) long. Conifer cuttings are the same but tear the leaves away from the shoots to encourage rooting. Place in organic compost, lay a cold frame & ensure ample but not direct sunlight.
Hardwood cuttings are taken in autumn when the wood is ripe. This method is ideal for many deciduous shrubs. Take just after they have lost their leaves. Take cuttings 20 23 cm (8 9 inches) long. Trim below the lowest bud.. Cut off any soft top growth. Make a narrow trench and line the bottom with sand. Place in trench with about 7.5 cm (3 inches) out of the ground. Refill trench and firm in. Next winter lift and plant out in rows for another season before final planting.