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A Little DIY

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:20 am
by pd
For the busy propagator in particular there are three items that can easily be made if you have some spare time, a saw, a plane, a sharp knife and some odd bits of wood.
The dibber (maybe a UK term) but for inserting seedlings; the compost presser for pots and the compost presser for seed trays.

I spent a little time and made these for a friends potting shed.



Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:22 pm
by TheLorax
May I please have a closer up photo of the underside of your compost presser for seeds. I'd like to see how you did that to align with all the holes in the cells.

The compost pressers look really handy.

Actually, everything looks really practical.

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:56 pm
by pd
The presser board in no good for celled seed trays; only for standard ones.
It is not a pegged one. Just a flat one the exact size of a standard plastic seed tray.
Those new to pricking off into trays will soon learn how to space their holes using a dibber.
The pegged ones I have made I have used boot studs placed appropriately. My personal choice for spacing would be 6x10 in a standard seed tray, but this might vary with the plant type to be pricked out. For begonias I would prick off many more to a seed tray.
Drilling for and placing wooden pegs would be too laborious and not necessary as only a slight indentation is required to mark the position of the holes to be made with the dibber.
Hope this answers your question. Please get back to me if not.

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 2:46 pm
by TheLorax
I sow seeds in standard 1020 flats, most notably grasses. Most I sow in trays that have cells. I still like the idea very much. Often times the medium I use for seedlings is so fluffy it compacts down too low with watering and I've got a little seedling germinating out of an inch of medium which needs to be transplanted immediately.

I keep looking at those round compost pressers and like them more and more. I've not seen anything like that over on this side of the pond but I use several standard sized pots so it wouldn't be that difficult to make my own as you did.

I use a different type of dibber. It's specifically for seeds and it inserts one seed at a time into a cell. I think it cost me all of $2 and I picked it up many years ago and it is still serving me well. I'd hate the thought of losing it because I've not seen the particular type I have for sale anywhere lately.

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:20 pm
by pd
Yes, I understand what you write and it brings home to me that we have many different techniques both at home and across the continents.
From my point of view our discussion was about pricking off seedlings to trays - seed sowing into trays is yet a different technique although the presser board is still brought into use after levelling the compost by hand. It just gives that clean level surface on which to sow the seed.
I've never come across a dibber with which to sow seeds.
Where I couldn't use a presser board I think I would overfill if using a 'fluffy' compost and let the initial watering take it down to the required level. Water before pricking off or sowing and allow the trays to stand for an hour or so.
What compost mix do you use for your seed sowing?
While working for local government I had to change over from the standard John Innes loam composts to the loamless ones, but my preference will always be for the former.

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:59 pm
by TheLorax
What compost mix do you use for your seed sowing?
Depends on the seed. I mostly propagate species that are indigenous to North America with carnivorous plants being the forerunners. I have played with ornamentals in the past for the experience but I admittedly waste them after I am done experimenting. I have a mortar mixer and large bins of assorted composts, Turface MVP, peat, gray pumice, perlite, vermiculite, Hydroton, charcoal, assorted chipped wood and bark, etc. that I use when creating my own medium.

I like loamy composts.

I've been pushed out of the kitchen into the greenhouse for starting seed. I used to have a water source when I worked in the kitchen and always hosed down my medium before I re-filled. Didn't have the water line in for the greenhouse so I was tapping down the medium on the table when I should have started hauling water back there. I paid for being lazy. The water line is in to the greenhouse now. Still needs to be hooked up but with the work I created for myself this past season, I'd probably buy a 100' hose to get water back there to avoid having to transplant seedlings prematurely.

Posted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:59 pm
by pd
You appear to have things well organised there.
Coincidentally I was recently looking at the impressive variety of indigenous and naturalised plants in the USA. Much more varied than here in the UK, but I'm sure that's understandable considering the vastness and climatic variations of your continent.

I don't usually look at 'blogs' but I cam across this one -


After spending most of my working life with cultivated plants it is a welcome change to become familiarised with our native flora. Good subjects for my photography endeavours

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:43 am
by TheLorax
I'm working at becoming better organized. I haven't quite arrived yet but I'm doing much better. I think purchasing large bins was a major step in the right direction. I had so many bags spread out everywhere that I frequently ended up buying new product when I hadn't use what I already had. If the products aren't able to be located easily or if they end up buried under other product, one doesn't know what one has. Some of my potting benches came from the UK. You folk have such nice products and the benches are not only fully functional but aesthetically appealing also. Nice work stations!

Yes, it is good to touch base with the species native to where one gardens. I look forward to any photos you will be in a position to share.

You do realize we Americans owe a lot to you over there on the other side of the pond? You Brits were collectors and the records maintained regarding location data of plants collected in the US in years gone by has proven invaluable.