This blog is about my garden located in Melbourne, Australia, where summer heat and long periods without rain can make gardening a challenge. This blog is the gateway to a series of my blogs showing you how I deal with these conditions................5th February 2017.
I have used a cold frame to bring on seedlings during winter for many years, and about 3 years ago I modified it to give all year round protection against extremes of weather.
About 2 years ago I decided to use wicking bed principles to keep my seedlings moist at all times in the cold frame.
I made a very small Ecobed out of a plastic box, just small enough to fit into the cold frame, but able to propagate up to 40 seedlings in their pots at the same time.
I used sieved compost instead of soil, and buried my seedling pots into this moist and biologically active wicking
It worked better than I could ever imagine and I was able to sow seed or strike cuttings all year round. Germination was quicker and more reliable than before, so I didn't use as much seed, and the seedlings grew faster.
I also started to sow larger seeds like peas, beans and pumpkins singly in jiffy (fibre) pots and when ready they were planted out in the garden still in their jiffy pots.
This allows seeds to be sown earlier then before since their first month or so of growth will bein the propagator, freeing up time and space in the Ecobed they are to be grown in.
Timing is very important if we are to keep the Ecobed's soil active with no fallow periods between crops.
About 6 months ago as a further refinement, I designed a unit with more than twice the capacity of the small EcoPropagator replacing the plastic bin with a plastic liner using the walls of the cold frame to support the water tank and wicking media.
This larger EcoPropagator represents excellent use of space in a small garden like mine, but cannot easily be relocated.
I refill my propagators with water about once a week in hot summer weather, and much less often in the cooler months. I keep the compost topped up as it continues to decompose, and I replace it completely each year in spring.
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