For years, when I was planting seeds into punnets or trays, I would press the seeds into the seedraising mix and cover them, or leave the seeds on the surface and sprinkle more seedraising mix over them to cover them. I used to get maybe 60-70% germination. Pretty ordinary.
A few years ago I made one very simple change to this process, and my germination rate immediately went up to well over 90%. It cost me peanuts, takes less time, and made a huge difference!
That change was vermiculite. I started covering my seeds by simply sprinking a thin (5-8mm) layer of vermiculite over the whole tray - and whallah! The vermiculite (made by heating a form of weathered mica) is fantastic at keeping the germinating seeds from drying out or being too wet, or the seedraising mix becoming anaerobic, ensuring a really high germination rate. You can see what it looks like in the background of the photo above.
Vermiculite is freely available locally, but if you can't find it at Bunnings or your favourite nursury, let Desley know and we can give you a sample to experiement with.
More next week!