Starting Seeds Using the Wick Watering Method

Douglas C. Grant shares his knowledge of starting seeds indoors using a wick watering method that ensures your seedlings are always properly watered.

| March/April 1975

Growing plants indoors can be a pain but not at my house, now that a few suggestions passed on to me by a professional have taken a lot of the worry and work out of this project. As a result, I grow lettuce all winter and do nothing more than plant and harvest. No watering, no daily inspection of soil, no anything except fresh greens when others are picking over the tired grocery variety. In the spring, my mini garden is converted to a plant starter for the outdoor patch. Once again, the Sow and Forget Method of starting seeds  makes the job easy and trouble-free, with fantastic results.

Starting Seeds Using an Indoor Planting Method

The basic tool behind the Sow and Forget Method is a supply of wicking. This isn't easy to find, but is certainly worth looking for and lasts for years once you have it.

The wicking I use looks like ordinary sash rope but is made of fiberglass (there may be other types I'm not familiar with, so I'm open to feedback). Apparently this handy material is so little known that few garden stores stock it. The only outlet I've found here in Cincinnati is the Garden Center, which buys the wicking wholesale in rolls and sells it by the foot as a non-profit service to garden club members and area residents.

You'll also find wicking listed on the back page of Melinger's Garden Catalog. The product sold by that firm is primarily designed for watering potted plants, but could probably be adapted to flats. Perhaps MOTHER'S General Store could include a roll of wicking on one of her shelves.

The beautiful thing about this indoor gardening aid is that it eliminates all concern about how much water to give young plants. The wick delivers exactly the right amount of moisture at all times automatically. Here with thanks to the professional who taught me is how to use wicking effectively.

Cut the cord into lengths of approximately 10 inches and fray about three inches of one end. Then poke a hole in the bottom of your planting container, feed the unfrayed end through from inside, and spread the raveled portion to cover as much as possible of the pan's surface. Finally, dump in the potting soil.

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