Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Growing => Growing FAQs and other Information => Topic started by: DD. on November 09, 2008, 20:46

Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: DD. on November 09, 2008, 20:46
Apologies to those who have seen this before, but it keeps cropping up & I've been asked to make a specific link to it from the "Useful Sites & Topics" sticky. So far it's only existed tagged onto other threads & is harder to find.

This might seem a bit painstaking, but I find it well worth the effort......

I use cat litter trays, as they are nice & deep, be sure to make holes in the bottom though - a hot skewer will do the job. Don't try to drill them - the plastic will crack! I use compost from grow bags, as it seems one of the cheaper ways to buy it.

Now here's the painstaking bit, I plant the seed, (mid-March), individually 1" apart 1/2 deep. That way they don't crowd each other out. I get nearly 100% germination in the cold greenhouse.

One of these trays will produce 96 plants. Compost has to be kept moist. When a reasonable size they can be moved outside to grow on. I then transplant when they are the thickness of a pencil.

1st photo is at the early stages of germination.....
2nd at pencil thickness....



Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: mumofstig on November 09, 2008, 20:52
gonna try this next year........just 1 question...

do you have to feed these again before transplanting or is there enough feed in the grow bag compost to last till transplanting? I just want to get it right!
Thanks
Lesley
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: Aunty on November 09, 2008, 21:08
I'd forgotten thatr tip Dave.  I'm definitly going to have a go at that next year  :D
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: DD. on November 09, 2008, 21:38
Quote from: "mumofstig"
gonna try this next year........just 1 question...

do you have to feed these again before transplanting or is there enough feed in the grow bag compost to last till transplanting? I just want to get it right!
Thanks
Lesley


No, I just leave them to it.

I also use exactly the same principle with radish. Come out perfect with no slug nibbles!
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: vegmandan on November 09, 2008, 22:12
Another similar thing that I find useful are the polystyrene boxes that the greengrocers get Broccolli delivered in.

They just chuck 'em away so they'll give you them for free.

Same idea,deep sided so you get good strong plants ready for planting out,and the polystyrene helps to keep the warmth in at night.

They come in all sizes 12"x18" to 2ftx2ft.and are handy for all sorts of other stuff as they have a lid on too. :)

(http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii247/vegdan/DSC00701.jpg)
(http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii247/vegdan/DSC00885.jpg)
(http://i266.photobucket.com/albums/ii247/vegdan/DSC00972.jpg)
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: Trillium on November 10, 2008, 14:40
Good ideas but styrofoam cases are mostly banned over here and I'm not sure the cat will let me have her 'duty pan'.  :?
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: DD. on November 10, 2008, 15:46
Quote from: "Trillium"
Good ideas but styrofoam cases are mostly banned over here and I'm not sure the cat will let me have her 'duty pan'.  :?


Some people really like to create obstacles! :lol:
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: SalJ1980 on November 10, 2008, 18:47
Thanks for that DD! Now can I get some advice from the leek doctor please?  :lol:

I tried sowing leeks this year but they just got to the stage when they were about as thick as a (thin!) blade of grass, and then they all just fell over and stopped growing. My spring onions did the same. I love both veggies and want to grow them next year - preferably successfully! Help please!  :D
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: DD. on November 10, 2008, 19:36
Errrrr TBH, I don't know.

I've never encountered any problems with leeks, so it's outside my sphere of experience.

By book tells me that leaf wilt can be caused by too much fresh manure or nitrogen in the soil, but I really don't know & I'm not a guesser!
Title: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: Trillium on November 10, 2008, 21:46
Leeks falling over - probably got hit by damping off fungus. You'll need to spray soil with a proprietary solution specifically for this, or a strong brew of Cooled chamomile tea. In future be less generous with the watering and make sure drainage is good and there's no cold draft on them just yet.

As for the styrofoam - our ecology laws here are changing due to decreasing dump sites and styrofoam is a terrible offender. Even the famous double arches replaced their styro containers with cardboard type ones which will compost better. Most veggies now come in cardboard boxes.
Title: Loads of leeks.....
Post by: Paul Plots on November 10, 2008, 23:30
DD says:
Quote
This might seem a bit painstaking, but I find it well worth the effort......


Sowing leeks in large deep trays works brilliantly. My 93 yr old Dad starts the leeks off in his unheated greenhouse for me every year. He sticks a whole packet of seed into one tray in three rows giving about 30 plants per row.

The leeks grow close together in the tray but are easily separated at planting out time especially if grown in compost with high peat content.

The leeks are eventually placed out in a cold-frame and then, in Spring out in the open. Once pencil thick I take the tray (1 or two) to plant out on our plot. Normally excellent results...

That big firm up the road beginning with "B and" something sell the trays we use at about the same price as the average cat litter tray...I think.

I must take some pictures and figure out how to get them on to this site! :?
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: nipper31 on March 12, 2010, 12:43
My leeks get to pencil thickness and then I plant them out but they never really seem to get very fat or long  ??? they might get to double the thickness of a pencil but no more than that...what am I doing wrong  :unsure:
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: bigben on March 12, 2010, 12:55
what is your soil like Nipper? perhaps they need a good feed, some manure into the soil prior to planting perhaps. If your soil is already fertile then I dont really know why they are not growing.
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: nipper31 on March 12, 2010, 13:14
what is your soil like Nipper? perhaps they need a good feed, some manure into the soil prior to planting perhaps. If your soil is already fertile then I dont really know why they are not growing.

The soil mustn't be very fertile then, I took over the plot in 2007 and this will be my third growing season. Some ground is still in desperate need of cultivation  :ohmy:
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: Swing Swang on March 15, 2010, 08:54
I'm just wondering what are the advantages to this method. I tend to sow my leeks directly into a seedbed (outside) and cover with a coldframe. Consequently they need less attention, particularly with respect to watering; and germination with leeks, even in cold soil is pretty good. The only advantage I can see with the cat-litter trays is that they don't take up garden space early on in the season, or am I missing something else?

SS
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: beanqueen on March 15, 2010, 09:23
The reason I dont grow in a seedbed is marestail....lots and lots! Seeds dont stand a chance.

Am trying the cat litter system this year,...thanks to DD for the info
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: bigben on March 15, 2010, 09:46
I can see the benefits of a dedicated seedbed especially if it is covered with a cold frame. I suppose the litter tray has the advantage of being easy to get the leeks out at the end and assuming you start with sterile compost you should have no worries about competition with weeds.
Title: Re: Growing Leek Seedlings In Cat Litter Trays
Post by: maxie on March 15, 2010, 11:37
I grow my leek seedlings similar to dd but i always struggled to get them to thicken up,so i potted them on into fresh compost and now get much better plants.