This blog is about my garden located in Melbourne, Australia, where summer heat and long periods without rain can make gardening a challenge. It is the gateway to a series of my blogs showing you how I deal with these conditions....John Ashworth 22/04/2017.
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 and built a cold frame to fit neatly around it. It was big enough to propagate up to 40 seedlings in their pots.
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.
This larger EcoPropagator represents excellent use of space in a small garden like mine, but cannot easily be relocated like the Small Propagator.
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.
About 6 months ago as a further refinement, I designed a unit with more than twice the capacity of the Small Propagator replacing the plastic bin with a plastic liner using the walls of the cold frame to support the water tank and wicking media.
Check out the above links for more details. These links take you to the relevant pages in my supporting blogs.