Choosing Your Propagation Site
Consider visibility, airflow, sun and shade, weather and water runoff when choosing your propagation site for your seedlings. Seedling need natural conditions not artificial environments.
Seedlings need daily maintenance - grow them where you can observe them whilst you go about your daily activities.
You only need a few square metres of ground for your propagation site, but it is extremely important that the site has good airflow. A north facing brick wall also holds warmth in cold winter months.
Sun and Shade
Seedlings need the right balance of sun and water to ensure balanced growth. In the early stages of seedling germination the soil needs to remain damp. Shade cloth or a position where the tubes will receive only morning sun or semi-shaded position will help prevent the soil from drying out.
Once the seedlings are 2 – 3 cm high they will require full sun to produce strong sturdy stems.
Seedlings in this image were sown at the same time. Seedlings on the left were grown in a shady position and did not receive enough sun. They are spindly and weak with many still underdeveloped. The root system will be just a weak. Compare them with the seedlings on the right that had a sunny position developed into strong and robust seedlings.
It is just as important to know when seedlings are getting too big. If your seedlings are getting too large and the planting season is months away you will need to slow the seedlings down by putting them in semi shade and back off on the amount of water they get. It is the right balance of sun and water (and nutrients) that will produce strong seedlings.
It is important to listen to weather forecasts. This will enable you to take the right action in order to protect your seedlings. For example in severe weather conditions (hail or heavy rain) you will need to have a sheltered option for your seedlings.
Wind or extremely hot weather can dry seedlings out and cause irreparable damage. Make sure plants are protected while still allowing airflow. Persistent wind will cause high evaporation. The soil will dry out and tiny seedlings, particularly if just emerging, will be damaged. Shelter from the prevailing wind will help prevent this.
If your plants are against a wall or near trees, gutters or awnings be aware that drips can wash seeds out of their tubes or bruise and dislodge tender young seedlings.
Seedling need natural conditions
Do not use glass houses, poly-tubes or any type of enclosed shade house: they are far too hot and humid during the summer growing season for our indigenous species and may encourage fungal infections and produce weak seedlings.