WWOOFing Part 18: Building a Seed Table
Another way to start seeds outdoors or get seedlings started earlier than they might otherwise be planted directly in the ground is to use a seed table. Similar to the ideas behind green houses or cold frames, seed tables trap solar radiation through the clear (plastic or glass) roof, increasing germination rates. They also just provide a convenient surface and set up for your trays of seedlings. Trays are designed to be set on the slats of the table surface, which is deliberately not solid so as to provide an opportunity for water to drain through. Our table will eventually be fitted with a solid sheet of some material below the slats that will allow the runoff from watering to be collected and reused.
The seed table was an original design by my WWOOF host, based on a previous design from his friend Ben who owns New Day Farm. It uses scrap 1 x 8s for the frame, thereby reducing construction costs and using otherwise undesirable wood, but this does necessitate pre drilling for all the holes to avoid splitting the wood. We were still able to finish constructing it within a few hours however even with the pre drilling.
Great idea. I hadn’t seen a construction like this. Most people overhere (belgium) pre-seed indoors or in a greenhouse, because it’s too cold in early spring (frost). So the seedlings really need to be sheltered. They can only go outside from May 15th onwards.
Although with changing climate conditions, that could change in the years to come ….
These are perfect for humid areas in the southeast part of the US where overnight temperatures consistently stay above freezing once early spring comes but I had never seen one before I was in Tennessee (I’m from the northeast and we do the same things as you all do since most things can’t go outside until May). However, I could see this working in other areas with a few modifications. I thought it was a neat idea too and a great alternative to more elaborate greenhouses and whatnot.