DIY the best bet for growing new seedlings
OWNER-operator of one of Australia’s largest seedling production enterprises Adrian Ross spoke at Kandanga recently about some of the issues involved in small scale production.
Mr Ross, of Tiaro’s Wide Bay Seedlings which produces about 50 million seedlings a year, said if you were interested in growing organics then it really was a matter of doing your own.
“For large scale seedling growers the organic market is too small to handle,” he said.
“Our production is geared to very large scale with some growers taking 50,000 seedlings per week.”
Mr Ross said the seedling market was largely controlled by the chemical companies who owned the genetic rights to the seeds.
“There are no genetically modified plants involved in horticulture,” he said. “All plants have been developed by crossing to get certain desired characteristics.”
Asked about the use of compost for seed planting, Mr Ross said Wide Bay Seedlings used a peat imported from Lithuania mixed with vermiculite or perlite that gave a nutritionally neutral potting mix.
“We can add any nutrition required,” he said. “Like a slow release that lasts till the seedlings are ready to put in the ground.”
Thirty millimetres of potting mix is placed in each cell and a vacuum-operated machine puts a seed into each cell.
Trays are watered until a drop of water appears at the bottom of each cell, then placed in germination rooms until the first signs of germination before being moved to an outdoor area.
In some cases, retractable roof tunnel house are used to create enough warmth during the night.
LARGE SCALE: Adrian Ross from Wide Bay Seedlings sells across the country.