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Technieken (Voor-)zaaien

Pre-sowing zucchinis and cucumbers

The best time to pre-sow zucchini and cucumbers (and pumpkins) indoors is from late April to late May.
Komkommer Iznik
Our cucumber
Many gardeners do it earlier, but you don't need to: the plants grow super fast.

Plus, caring for your plants on the windowsill isn't so easy. They often don't get enough light. So, the less time you spend growing them indoors, the better. (You can even start as late as mid-June).

How do you pre-sow cucumbers, zucchinis and pumpkins?

It's super easy. If you have the Planty Gardening app, use that. If not, read more here.

1. Start by pre-sprouting the seeds

Pre-sprouting - or pre-germinating - means letting your seeds produces a root before you sow them.

If you pre-sprout your seeds you can be sure your seedlings will grow well. And you want to be sure: these zucchini seeds aren't cheap. Why risk it? 😉

Here's how to pre-sprout: get a piece of paper towel moist, fold it in half, put the seeds in between the 2 layers. That's it.
Voorkiemen tussen vochtig keukenpapier
Pre-sprouting between damp layers of paper towel
I put the paper towel and seeds in closed deli containers so they stay moist. The seeds only germinate above 20°C. If the temperature's lower than that, and they won't sprout.

Check every now and then for a root. Sometimes roots appear after 2-3 days, and sometimes it takes a little longer.
Zucchini seeds with new roots

2. Put the pre-sprouted seeds in pots

Here's what you need:
  • pre-sprouted seeds
  • big sized MM-Airpots
  • MM pre-sowing mix

Fill the air pots with the mix.

(No air pots? You can pre-sow in normal pots. Just use bigger ones: at least 12 cm in diameter.)

This mixture is ideal because seedlings don't need a lot of nutrients yet. The MM-Mix alone is too rich. Too many nutrients and they'll grow too fast: the plants become limp instead of sturdy. The mix also helps retain moisture.

Once you've filled up your pot, add the seeds: put 1 zucchini or pumpkin seed in each air pot, 2 per pot for cucumber seeds. Be careful: you don't want the root to break off.

Then put the pot in a bowl or saucer, add some water, and put it in a warm place on the windowsill.

That's it.

Seedlings in the windowsill

When you pre-sow like this, your seedlings pop up fast. When that happens, put your pots in a light - but not too warm - spot.
Pre-sown zucchini seedling just coming up
Four to five days later, this is what they look like:
Seedlings from cucumber, zucchini and pumpkins

Growing up

Pumpkins, cucumbers, and zucchinis grow really fast.

Since I usually start pre-sowing at the end of April/ early May, the plants are ready for a cold frame after a few weeks. If you don't have a cold frame or greenhouse, then gradually let them get used to the outdoors around the end of May. Put them outside - pots and all - for a little longer every day.
Wennen aan de buitenlucht
Getting used to the outdoors
Wait until the end of May to transplant your plants. By then, they should be nice and strong.
Jonge courgetteplant bij het klimrek
Young zucchini plant on the trellis
Put them in a square patch under a sturdy trellis.

That's especially important for your climbing zucchini. Because eventually, it will turn into this:
Volwassen klimcourgette bij het klimrek
Adult plants fill up with zucchinis and can get pretty heavy
You can find our climbing zucchini and our special snack cucumber in the shop. Both do great in a greenhouse or outside in your garden box.

The seed bags are sold separately or as part of the Climbers seed pack. This seed pack also includes our super sweet cherry tomato, delicious snow peas and Romano pole beans. Plus, they're cheaper when you buy in bulk😉

We've got pre-sowing mix and the MM-Airpots too. It's all there in the shop.

Baby pumpkin on the trellis

Have some space left in your garden box? Try a baby pumpkin. These small pumpkins aren't too heavy and can hang from your trellis.
Baby pumpkin on the trellis
Have fun in your Makkelijke Moestuin!

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