Category Archives: seed

The spring juggle

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My poly tunnel is starting to fill up, trying to find a slot for a seed tray is slowing becoming impossible, I call it the spring juggle. Every inch is filled with a pot or tray – isn’t spring exciting?

Is it me or is there never enough room? Even if I owned the Eden project there wouldn’t be enough space.

April is one of the busiest months for me, sowing and pricking out becomes a full time job. So far I’ve sown (prepare for a huge list):

Soya bean
Runner bean
French bean
Peas
Courgette golden
Marrow
Squash patty green tint
Courgette all green bush
Courgette F1 Atena
Chard Brightlights
Kale Nero di Toscana
Kale scarlet
Kale curly scarlet
Kale dwarf green curled
Leek prize taker
Lettuce little Gem
Rocket
Quinoa
Kohl Rabi purple and white Vienna mix
Tomato gardeners delight
Tomato Tigerella
Sweet Pepper
Multicoloured corn
French marigolds
French lavender
Basil sweet genovese
Basil red Rubin
Coriander fine leaved
Tarragon Russian
Peppery salad
Purple sprouting broccoli
Sunflower velvet queen
Sunflower giant
Sweet pea giant wave
Cabbage primero F1
Calendula Officianalis
Beetroot perfect 3
Good King Henry
Angelica
Pumpkins
Musk melon F1 Emir
Lupin Russell mix
Stock
Tagetes lemon gem
Night scented stock
Nasturtium home mix
Morning glory Rosa Volant

(Told you it was a long list)

I keep records of when everything is sown, the temperatures, and a tick box for if it germinated. Then you can see where you are up to, and it’s lush to look back on in the winter when planning ahead!

Cyclamen seed and propagation.

In the depths of winter when everything is in it’s deep slumber, the trees look like great looming bones and not a flower is to be seen then a cheery cyclamen pops up pink, white, purple or red their bright colours seem to defy the darkness.

I think they are wonderful their patterned leaves and beautiful colours warm my heart. My mum treated me to some last year and they have been flowering all winter and even now in spring.

I was very excited to notice they have seed pods developing so I will be keeping a close eye on them and will wait to collect them. (I adore collecting seed it’s saves so much money, and I will be honest, it’s like collecting treasure.)

As you can see from my picture they aren’t quite ready yet, I have heard, when the time is right to collect as the stem which holds the seed starts to coil up like a cork screw bringing the seed closer to the ground. A clever little plant indeed! This is how they spread their enchanting carpets of rich foliage and captivating flowers through the woodlands. Clever, because by doing this they bag the space shadowing out the other seedlings with their foliage.

But what to do once the seed pod is ready to be picked? The seeds within will need soaking for 24 hrs and rinsed. Then pop them onto the surface of moist free draining low nutrient compost, covering with a moderate layer of compost which which help push the seed coat off the emerging seedling. They tray should be covered with black plastic as they require complete darkness for germination and a constant temperature, no higher than 15C. Once the seedling appear you should put them into a light position again maintaining a constant temperature. Also they like a bit of humidity this helps the pesky seed coat to fall off.

Fingers crossed these little fellas should be pricked out 8-10 weeks from sowing again into a low nutrient well drained compost. It’s important at this point that. The newly developing corm is just visible above the compost.

After about 8 weeks they should be pricked out into pots, don’t leave it too long! As their leaves will get all tangled together. Again when pricking out ensure their corm is just seen at the top of the compost and watering in will help. If they are too deep the corm may suffer from Botrytis. Be gentle when potting them up and place them into a well structured compost. The important thing is to keep them moist, not waterlogged; after all your hard work you don’t want the crowns to rot away.

To feed 2:1:1 NKP weekly, then once buds appear change to a 1:1:1 increasing to a 1:1:2 as the flowers develop.

Ok this might sound like a lot of hard work, but sometimes it’s good to have a little challenge, something to set your mind to; and when everything looks dark and grey in winter you can look forward to their majestic blooms to see you through to late spring.

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Endlessly fascinating

Here are the micro green seeds germinating on the window ledge. I’ve been growing things now for years but I never tire of the wonder of it.

So delicate yet so strong, longing to live and grow. What an amazing thing to watch and learn from.

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Micro Greens

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I was asked by a company called Suttons Seeds if I would like to try out some of thier new Mirco Greens kits, well how could any keen gardener say no?

They arrived today, gosh there where loads, all sorts of different kits. They appear to have a brilliant range. And Wow, they really did come at the right time too, as I’m am busting at the seams to do some kind of gardening and the fact you can do it all on a warm light window ledge, it’s perfect for frustrated gardeners.

What are micro greens? Basically they are young seedlings that are grown for their first couple of leaves. It says on the boxes these first leaves contain more nutrients and vitamins and are packed with protein, sounds good to me!

Each of the kits contain 3 generous packets of seeds, 3 growing mats, and a handy container with a lid. So three harvests can be had for a few quid. Basically turning your window ledge into a mini allotment. I like the sound of this!

So today I have sown ‘Twinkle tendrils’ which are pea shoots, ‘Ruby Frills’, ‘Rainbow Bright’ and ‘Peppery Passion’.

The Ruby Frills and Rainbow Bright seeds appear to be some kind of chard/Beetroot. And I’m guessing the ‘Peppery Passion’ must be a kind of red rocket or spicy lettuce maybe?

That’s my only complaint at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of info on what the seeds are. I’m one of those types of gardeners who likes to know a little more about the seed, than a pretty name and a picture. The problem with not knowing completely what they are, if I love them, how will I be able to buy them again without buying another kit? But hey, it’s mid winter and I’m growing something, so that’s keeps me happy!

It says we will be harvesting little salads in 3 weeks, so I will keep you posted.

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Seed album

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I’ve tried all sorts of different ways to store my precious seeds over the years. Shoe boxes, tin boxes, padded envelopes, drawers, everything. I like to be organised. So far the best way for me has been an old photo album.

I wasn’t keen on boxes as the seeds fell out of packets and I couldn’t organise them to be in order, drawers were the same. But a photo album, so far, is pretty good.

It’s good as you can organise your seeds on order of months for planting… And my husband calls me a control freak, I’m not, I just like to have everything in order and neat. 🙂

Photo albums are pretty cheap too, not many people use them anymore, see I’m always thinking!

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Sunflower seed collecting and Christmas

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As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of my favourite things to do is collect seeds. I find it so satisfying to keep them growing year after year. Carefully selecting the plants which do well in my plot. Each year it seems to look better and better.

I mentioned Christmas, you are probably curious to know why. I like to have a natural theme when decorating my house for the Yule celebrations. Pine cones, dried flowers, lush huge seed heads all to me sums up how a house should look.

Yule is celebrated in different ways around the world with one common theme. The sun/son is born, so what better Christmas tree top is a Christmas star made from the head of a sunflower!

It’s just how we do things in our house and since we are all passionate gardeners I thought I would share and maybe give you a little idea whilst your pottering around tidying and collecting seeds in your garden or plots.

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Starting to collect seed

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I love to collect seed, it’s like hunting out treasure. As the summer changes to autumn the flowers slowly go to seed.

I’m still dead heading my pot marigolds but the ones I miss I frantically collect their seed. Here are the ones I’ve started to collect.

Green shaft peas
Nasturtium
Poached egg plant
Marigold (French and pot)
Good King Henry
Chervil
Cosmos
Angelica

I will let them dry out in my potting shed then sort the seed from the chaff and packet them up for next spring. Don’t forget to carefully label your seeds nothing worse than wondering what they are in spring.

Best to collect your seed on a nice dry day, and label, label, label!