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There is nothing more satisfying than watching your seeds grow into seedlings and then go on to become fully fledges plants, fruits, vegetables or flowers. How you start their growing can be done in many ways.
My preference for growing things starts with a propagator and propagators come in all different shapes and sizes, so depending on where you want to place yours would depend on the size you would purchase and with the differing sizes comes a differing price. My own propagator is known as the Kitchen Garden Propagator and it is available quite widely online from places like Amazon and on the high street from stores such as Homebase and Wilkinson's and it should cost you around £10 if it is more expensive I would shop around to find a better deal because I have seen some sites online selling this exact product for £29.99.
The Kitchen garden Propagator is sold in a cardboard box which is quite large, around 80cm long and 15cm wide and on the front is a picture of the entire contents of the box and a little bit of information about what the product is. Within the box there is the watering tray which everything sits on, two seed trays with holes, two vented propagator covers, five flower pots which measure just under 8cm in size and a small booklet with further information on how to use your propagator.
So what is the point of a propagator? Well to begin with the term 'plant propagation' refers to the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources such as seeds, plant cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. A propagator is used to germinate seeds and begin the growing process and it acts as a womb to those seedlings by protecting them and giving them the right amount of heat, light, water and nutrients needed to help them to grow. The process is helped by how you plant them, where to sit the propagator and what soil you use.
This propagator set is brilliant for anyone who likes to grow things but doesn't have a lot of space because it sits on your kitchen or lounge window sill without taking up valuable space that you need for other things. The watering tray is a flat surface and it used to collect excess water from plants after they have been watered and you can either pour this away or leave it on the tray to allow the roots of your seedlings to use it as and when they need to. On the tray you place a propagator at either end with their lids and leave a space in the middle for your plant pots. I have placed my plant pots on some stones, just to make it look a little more decorative and the stones were free because they came from my allotment. Once you have everything set up and know where you are going to place the propagator set, you can then begin to sow your seeds. The first thing you need is decent soil, one which is best for seeds and sowing, usually a multi-purpose compost, which you can buy in any garden centre or stores like B&Q which have a dedicated gardening section and then you need to choose what it is you would like to grow. The first thing I ever grew in mine was Sweetcorn, Pumpkins, Butternut Squash and Cucumber seedlings, things that are quite easy to grow and re-plant and obviously something that I like to eat as there is not much point planting something you don't like. You can find many handy hints and tips on what is easy to plant and grow, especially if it is your first time at using something like this. Some vegetables require a lot more attention than some, so it depends on how much time you have and how much effort you want to put into growing things.
When it comes to planting your seeds, at the bottom of the propagator trays are holes and it is these holes that I use as a guide to plant my seeds. What you need to do is fill the tray with soil, not right to the top, probably 1cm below the lip and then using a pencil make a hole in the soil, using the tip of the pencil to find that hole and in each hole place a seed half way down and then cover it up. In these propagators you should be able to plant at least 15 seeds and then once you have completed the task in both propagator trays, all you need to do is water them, place the propagator lid on securely and then sit back and wait for your little seedlings to sprout.
I keep my propagators on the kitchen window ledge and try to ensure they get as much sun as possible during the daytime and I check every other day as to whether or not they need to be watered. After about 2 weeks you should see some seedlings begin to appear and break their way through the soil. From this initial stage they should remain covered until your seedlings are well established and touch the lids of their propagators. Once they reach this stage after 5-6 weeks and in some cases less time, you can begin to separate them and put them into the plant pots which accompanied your propagator sets. Naturally if you have 30 seedlings you will need to buy more plant pots to transfer them too because you only get 5 with this set and again you will need more soil to plant your seedlings and to re-fill your propagators to begin the whole process over again.
For me propagators are a much needed item as an allotment plot holder and they are constantly in use. The best thing about it is that it is so easy to use, it doesn't require a lot of time commitments other than checking when you need to water the seedlings and the propagator does all of the work for you from when you plant your seeds to when the time comes to move them into bigger pots.
This product is something that I would highly recommend for any budding gardener wanting to grow their own fruit and vegetables, its simple to use, inexpensive and you don't need to commit a lot of time to it.