August and September are the perfect months to start planting veggie seeds in Hong Kong! In order to prep before planting, the first thing to do is to clean your seedling trays. No need to buy new ones every year – it’s better to buy sturdy trays and reuse them!
First, let’s talk about why we need to clean our trays?
If we reuse dirty trays from the last seed planting, there may be some pathogens left behind from the last growing season, leaving new seedlings more susceptible to disease and dying off of seedlings. Making sure that your tools and equipment are clean is a simple way to prevent mold, fungus and other diseases from damaging your newly sown seeds.
Sanitizing is a relatively easy process and well worth it to help ensure that your seeds will thrive.
How do we do it?
There are many ways to sanitize your trays such as using boiling water or spraying them with a vinegar and water solution. Keep in mind that these methods may not completely sterilize your trays and tools.
One method that is safe and provides anti-bacterial and anti-fungal protection, plus kills mold and mildew, is to use hydrogen peroxide (H202) at 3% strength. It’s best to use food grade hydrogen peroxide since you’re growing food that you’ll be eating! You can find food grade H202 in bulk at Live Zero in Sai Ying Pun! :
So, here’s how to do it:
- First step is to brush off any old organic matter from your trays with a cloth, brush or scrubber. Make sure to brush off all sides of the tray.
- Grab a bucket, fill with with soapy water and wash your trays. If you don’t have a bucket, a large sink, tub or your shower will work just fine.
- Next either soak your trays in the hydrogen peroxide solution or fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide, spray your trays and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse trays and dry in the sun
Now that your trays are all cleaned and sterilized, it’s time to plant your seedlings! Stay tuned for the next post on how to make a simple seed starting mix!