Four Simple Steps to Cleaning your Seed Trays

Four Simple Steps to Cleaning your Seed Trays

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Waste to Best Visit, Naivasha, Kenya August 2018

Waste to Best Visit, Naivasha, Kenya August 2018

Once in a while an opportunity comes along to meet people who are truly an inspiration to their community and the world. This post is about James Kagwe and Elizabeth Wanjiru (Liz Shish).

I first met James and Liz earlier this year at a permaculture course held in Kenya. At that time we discussed their vision for sustainability and how permaculture has helped change their community. I was fortunate to join my friends Julie and Mark in Kenya last month and see what James and Liz were working on in their village of Naivasha. What they have accomplished is MIND BLOWING!

A few years ago, James and Liz recognized there was a huge need for waste management in Naivasha. Some areas in Kenya do not have waste collection systems in place. The locals’ habit is to throw garbage on the ground because there are no trash bins. Trash is then piled all together with no system of sorting. Garbage is literally lying all over, with valuable materials, such as vegetable scraps, adding to the problem (rather than being exploited for other uses). Animals can be seen grazing on the garbage, including plastics and other materials not suitable as a food source, while at the same time, kids are using scraps of waste as toys. Naivasha was suffering, but is not unique.

Liz and James made the bold decision to do something about these unsanitary conditions. We met up with them for a tour to show us the INCREDIBLE work they have accomplished at the 4 sites they manage. These include:
• Community Garden
• Waste to Best Recycling and Compost Center
• Waste Separation Program in the Estates
• Fully working Farm

In just 5 years, they have educated the neighbors on waste separation, begun a waste management program and built a sorting site where the waste is separated for recycling or composting. Perhaps, the most interesting aspect is that the waste is transported by burro!

The community garden was built in a space that was completely barren, with nothing but dead soil. It is now thriving, and full of life because of their amazing composting efforts (as well as their green thumbs). The garden has not only brought the community together, but also offer a place to hold garden classes to the wider community. Liz and James teach all the classes and also provide spaces for students to grow food.

Finally, we visited their farm. It is a space they use as a demonstration site to showcase different techniques where local farmers can get tips on how to grow food naturally, without chemicals and pesticides. The farmers are currently watering the vegetables and fruit trees with rainwater collected in a series of pits, each one flowing into the next, filtered naturally through the soil.

This visit was a really special treat for me as I am always encouraging people to compost and get inspired by people who are working every single day to be change makers in their communities. James and Liz have most definitely made a difference in Naivasha for both the environment as well as for its people.

Their work is an excellent example of how a small group of people can massively change a whole community. Grateful to them for doing what they do.


#changemakers #permaculture #communitygarden #recyclingcenter #compost #wastemanagement #reducereuserecycle