Sunday, 16 November 2008

Trees For Life

Today Sunday 16th Nov we picked up our Trees For Life supplies for this year. This year we're growing 10 boxes (500 seedlings) of indigenous tree /shrubs for a nearby local council. We usually grow for local farmers/landholders.
This scheme will only allow trees/shrubs indigenous to the region where they will be planted to be grown.

The organisation provides 10 Styrofoam (fruit) boxes filled with propagating mix.
A Grower's Bag with enough seeds, plastic tubes, labels, slow release fertilizer, gravel for mulch and a comprehensive instruction book. Oh and details of who we are growing these trees and when to plant each packet of seed. And two face masks for use when filling the tubes.

I have cleared yet another bench to store these boxes on until their planting dates. The same bench will be used for growing the seedlings once they have germinated. They are covered to stop the Black Ninja claiming them as sleeping spots (or worse). rolleyes

Before the planting date each box will have 60 tubes filled. This takes 2 people around 40 mins allowing for time to get up and stretch your back. This is fun with a good friend (thank you Doc) and the cricket on the radio in the background.

On the day nominated on our instruction sheets the seeds are planted, taking note of any pre-treatments required. (Eg. Acacia trees/shrubs that need pre-soaking before planting).

Each pot of seeds is covered with the correct amount of soil mix...the instruction book gives these details.

Then they are covered with a layer of small gravel which is supplied. This needs to be well washed before use to get rid of any clay. Often the seeds are sown straight onto the damp mix and just covered with the gravel mulch.

The boxes are then moved under shade cloth until germination begins. Some seeds need complete shade and these are covered with newspaper or an old sheet until germination - details again are in the instruction book.

Once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are ready, the boxes are placed in full sun...on a cool, cloudy day preferably, not during a heatwave.

Growing these seedlings takes a fair amount of water so I've shaped the soil beneath the bench (that has drainage holes drilled into it) to re-direct the run-off to the Peach and Orange trees nearby in the garden!

The beginning of the instruction booklet reads:
You are now part of the Trees For Life volunteer growing force, which is made up of 2,000 people who are giving their time and energy to grow over 1,000,000 seedlings for planting throughout South Australia next Autumn.


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