Learn how to grow your own Little Garden with hints and tips from one of New World's farmers!
Learn how to plant your Little Garden seeds with our great how-to video
Seedling kit instructions
1. Put the soil tablet on a saucer and pour 50ml of water over it. Put on gloves and mix the water into the soil with your hands to make a wet mixture. Watch the soil expand.
2. Use most of your soil to fill up the pot to around 2cm below the top.
3. Now place your seed mat on top of the soil (take care not to press down too hard).
4. Now use the rest of your soil mixture to cover the seed mat.
Remember to wash your hands when you’re done!
How to look after your Little Garden seeds
Place the pot on a clean saucer or the Little Garden seedling tray in a place with plenty of light and good airflow.
When caring for your seedling keep the soil in your Little Garden pot moist by lightly watering once or twice a day. If the soil feels dry and crumbly, pour a small amount of clean water over the surface.
Within a few days you should see a little plant appear from the soil. Well done! This means the seeds have germinated.
Get your seedlings ready for the outdoors
When the seedlings are taller with at least 2 sets of leaves, they will soon be ready to move into a bigger pot or garden. If more than one little plant grows, you can thin it by choosing the strongest looking one and removing the others.
Seedlings are delicate, so it’s best to get them used to being outside before planting in the garden. Put your seedlings in a warm and sheltered spot outside for 1-2 hours a day and return inside for the night. Do this for 5 days, leaving it outside for a little longer each day before you shift it out into the garden forever.
How to prepare your vege patch
All vegetables, flowers and herbs will thrive in soil that’s rich in nutrients. Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Compost to your soil.
Then you can add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix, a high quality natural-based planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your veges with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season.
Time to move into the garden!
Tips for re-potting your seedlings
Most vegetables, herbs and flowers are suited to being outside in a vege patch, but most can grow well in large pots too – just make sure the soil is kept moist and that the pot is deep enough for the roots.
Most plants like direct sunshine, but check the seed tips for recommended growing conditions.
When repotting your seedlings outside, the best times is early in the morning, or late in the day so the plants aren't exposed to the hot sun straight away. Some plants will grow well in summer, while some prefer cooler weather. Don’t forget to check the Tui planting calendar to see when is the best time to grow your seedlings.
- Water the soil before you repot, this makes transplanting seedlings easier.
- Use your Little Garden trowel to dig a small hole in your garden or pot. Remember to put a stake in the ground for plants that will grow tall, like tomatoes and capsicums.
- Use a teaspoon to gently dig out the seedling. The roots and stems are delicate, so don’t pull or grab the seedling by the stem.
- Place the seedling into the hole and the give your newly homed seedlings a gentle water to help them settle.
Tip: If more than one seedling has grown close together, gently tease the roots apart to separate them. It’s important give each seedling enough room to grow. Check the seed tips for each, to see how far apart to plant your seedlings.
Tip: You can place the whole Little Garden pottle into the soil, as this will break down letting the roots grow. If you do this, make sure to thin the seedlings, otherwise they may not have enough space apart to grow. Make sure the pot is completely under the soil and the top lip is not left sticking out of the ground.
General Little Garden care
The top 4 things you'll need for a healthy vege patch
Good soil – use compost or garden mix to add essential nutrients.
Sunshine – most gardens do well with at least 8 hours a day.
Space – give them plenty of space to grow.
Water – water the soil not the plant. Water early in the morning.
Well watered, well nourished plants will not only produce tastier crops, but will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. Plants use up nutrients as they grow so make sure to replenish these over the growing season. Using a nutrient rich mix like Tui Vegetable Mix along with some compost will help with this. Don’t forget to feed your veges in key growth periods with a specially blended fertiliser like Tui Vegetable Food which is designed to encourage healthy vegetable growth and microbial and earthworm activity in the soil.
Bugs, slugs, snails and birds love to snack on veges and their leaves! Be vigilant protecting against these pests. Keep an eye out and pick them off plants when you see them. You can also try some easy, homemade pest repellent.
Tui tips for caring for your seedlings
Plants need to be fed to stay happy! They use nutrients from the soil as they grow so replenishing nutrients during the growing season keeps plants healthy and maximises production.
Keep adding organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil, and feed your plants with a general fertiliser or one specially blended for your plant or crop – like Tui vegetable food.
Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic at least once a month to help keep your garden healthy and strengthen against insects and disease.
Keep on top of weeding as weeds can harbour overwintering insect eggs and fungal spores. Weeds also use nutrients from the soil that your plants could be using.
Keep your garden well watered. Regular deep soakings are better than shallow watering. Water early in the day or later in the evening, taking care to water the soil not the foliage where possible, to limit encouraging disease. Collect rainwater in buckets or barrels to help save on water!
A well watered, well nourished vegetable garden will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.
Thanks to Tui Garden
More gardening tips
Growing from seeds FAQs
How long will the seeds take to sprout?
With the right care and attention, most seeds should sprout within 1-2 weeks of being planted, though some may take longer.
Do I have to put the whole seed mat in the soil?Yes, the seed mat is only small. Fill the little pot with the soil to almost the top. Place the whole seed mat on the soil and then fill the pot with the rest of the soil, covering the seed mat.
Do I have to use all of the seeds in the sachet?
No you can plant a couple at a time if you like, but for better results plant all of them and then separate them when re-potting them into a bigger pot or garden.
Where should I put my seedlings to grow?
Place them on a tray or plate in a spot inside with plenty of light and good airflow, but not in direct sunlight.
How do I prevent mould on the Little Garden seedling tray?
This product is made out of natural sugarcane material. It is water resistant not waterproof. Due to the natural material used, mould could appear on the product. To avoid this happening ensure that the tray is placed in plenty of sunlight, with good airflow and away from humid conditions.
Can I put the seeds in a green house?After you've planted the seeds into the little pots you can put the pots in a green house and this should help the seeds to sprout. Please water the little pots frequently at the beginning.
Can I put the seeds directly in the soil outside?
For the best results it’s recommended that you put them in the little pot first until they germinate and sprout. When the little plant is big enough, provided the conditions are warm enough to grow that Little Garden crop outside, you can shift it into the garden, but don’t plant it anywhere that’s too cold or windy, and you’ll need to take steps to protect the seedling against pests e.g. snails.
Can I use potting mix instead of the soil tablet?
Yes, but it’s recommended you use the soil tablet because it’s been specially formulated to grow seeds.
Do I have to remove the seeds from the mat?
No, you shouldn’t remove the seeds from the little seed mat. The seeds should sprout from the mat, which is made from biodegradable paper.
How many times do I have to water them?
While the seeds are sprouting into little plants, mist with water once or even twice a day. It's important that the soil isn’t too dry or too wet.
Do I have to use compost or plant food?
No you don’t. When the plant is growing in the garden or a pot, you might want to use compost or plant food. But it’s not necessary until then because all the food the plant needs is in the soil.
Re-potting and re-planting FAQs
How do I know when to re-pot the plants into a bigger pot or the garden?
You can find the right time to plant each seed variety on their specific cardboard wrapper and in the table on the Little Garden collector tray accessory if you have one. Most of the seeds should have sprouted into plants that are a few centimetres high and have some sets of leaves before you need to re-pot or re-plant and sometimes the roots may also have grown too big for the little pot supplied.
What do you mean “re-planting”?
Once the seedlings have sprouted and grown too big for the little pots we have provided as part of the Little Garden seedling kit, they will need to be re-planted in bigger pots or, if it’s warm enough, in your garden.
How do I re-pot my plants inside?
1. Find a bigger pot with holes in the bottom for drainage.
2. Prepare some potting mix by loosening and slightly wetting it.
3. Dig a hole about 5cm deep (or 3cm deep if removing the seedling from the little pot).
4. Put the entire little pot with the seedling in the hole. If removing the seedling from the little pot to re-plant, handle with care.
5. If planting multiple plants, leave enough distance between them.
6. Make sure the original little pot is completely buried under the soil if you have left the seedling in the little pot to replant.
How do I re-plant my plants outside?
1. Wait until the weather outside is warm enough for what you want to plant (there are full details on when each seed type can be planted outside on LittleGarden.co.nz)
2. Find a spot that’s not too exposed to the weather.
3. Prepare the soil by loosening and slightly wetting it.
4. Dig a long hole about 5cm deep (or 3cm deep if removing the seedling from the pot).
5. Put the entire little pot with the seedling in the hole. If removing the seedling from the pot handle with care.
6. If planting multiple plants, leave enough distance between them.
7. Make sure the original little pot is completely buried under the soil if you’ve left the seedling in the little pot to replant.
Can I put the re-potted plants outside?
Yes, as long as the temperature is warm enough for that Little Garden crop.
When can I put the little pots in the garden?
The best time for re-potting is set out on the cardboard wrapper for each Little Garden seedling kit. Some plants will grow slowly and might even die if you plant them outside when it is too cold.
Does it matter what sort of pot I use to re-pot the seedling?
No, just as long as it has drainage holes.