Purchasing Small Flower Willow Herb dried and in the cardboard sealed cup from SmallFlower.com may be expensive for many, so growing the herb may be an alternative for health and living longer free of pain. Horizon Herbs.com was selling the infinite tiny dust like seeds last year so I bought 10 packs.
My intentions were to utilize a growing space in my Hoop House 4’X10’ section, and with the earlier warmth of the greenhouse clear plastic “hoop”, closed up at night in the 40F evening chill, perhaps colder on some nights, I could set out individual plants. My hoop house is actually 10’ x 20’ in size. The solar greenhouse is two story and about 600 square feet.
My reference for growing was on the seed pack and my favorite herb book: “Health through God’s Pharmacy” which suggested techniques for growing and harvesting. Now as summer is about to pale, my notes on actually growing and various harvests seem promising.
I started with a growing flat, a 12” by 20” by 3” high plastic container with many, many drain holes about a ¼”. I could have made a simple box of those dimensions and put a piece of window screen across the bottom. Fine small drain holes are required.
I spied seed starting mixture at Wal*Mart Garden section right after the Xmas rush. This weed free, screened mixture would save me lots of time making my own seed-starting medium as the seeds are like dust. I normally use just potting soil for tomato and such seeds.
I first placed the container, filled with the seed-starting medium about ½ full. Then I set it in a plastic cement mixing container from Lowe’s which is about $10.00 and 2’x3’x6”, (approximately). I always bottom water my seeds and plants. With this I put the seed flat in the larger dry container. Now I add water to the bigger container until the small seed flat starts to float. Then it sets until the water has uplifted into the seed starter mix and is wet. This may take a couple of hours. If you put too much water in the larger container the water pushing up will cause the soil medium to become lumpy, then you have to remove the flat and dry it out-then smooth the medium.
The seed starting flat, with just enough water in the medium will have a darker color and is easily pushed down with a tamping board-FLAT. I then mix a handful of the seed starting mixture with the seeds The tiny seeds ever so lightly are sprinkled over the medium-evenly just like a pepper shaker on the kitchen table.
It is a good idea and beneficial for seed starting to use a “Gro-Mat” bottom heat, which at 70F will ensure that the seeds are conditioning to “think” it is spring and will send down the tiniest root, the green top part of the emerging plant will look like green dust. Actually it is hard to see the beginning start of the plant, but in a couple of days the overall green will appear. You will have to monitor the heat on the flat as you could dry out the flat and damage the seed.
The seed starter flat will require occasional watering-NOT WITH A HOSE. Set the flat down into the larger plastic cement-mixing container with just enough water at the bottom to be sucked up and nourish the tiny plants.
At this time you will need to start another flat with about 3/4 full of the seed-starter mix. You want this bottom-watered medium to be just squeezable into a small ball and hold its shape.
When the tiny plants are about two inches tall and have started their first “sun leaves” you can start lifting them up with a spoon and transfer them to the 2nd flat. Ensure a couple of inches between the plants. When lifting the plant with the sun leaves notice the root is straight and not fuzzy with side roots that would be observed if the second leaves appeared. Surprisingly this is a tough plant and will most likely be transferred without damage if contained in a small bit of medium around the root. The 2nd leaves are also forming a longer root that we do not want to damage. GENTLE is the rule.
I apply this seed starting technique to most of my starter plants. Now we go back to the Hoop-House.
End Part 1
God Bless Mother Nature and her bounty..
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