These are the continuing adventures of the seedship enterprise currently occupying the only decent-sized window sill in the house and half the greenhouse. Regulars will remember that my initial seed exploits involved three sources of seeds. It’s fair to say that results have been a bit mixed.
Unless a particular plant is REALLY averse to root disturbance, I sow into small pots rather than larger seed trays. Seedlings then get pricked out into module trays – the ones that have 40 cells and fit into a standard seed tray. They then advance into an appropriate pot where they will grow on until planted out in the fullness of time.
So, in no particular order, the results of my efforts so far are:
Hardy Plant Society Seeds
This has been the first year that I’ve benefited from the HPS seed distribution. My choice was mainly grasses though I added some more flowery things for variety. Quantities of seeds received varied between varieties but were generally enough for a single sowing. No chance of a second if the first failed. And I’ve had a very mixed bag of results. Where, e.g. Stipa tenuissima and Briza mazima, there were goodly quantities of seeds, germination and subsequent growth has been excellent. But where the seed quantities were small, e.g. Stipa gigantea which managed a single baby out of half-a-dozen or so seeds, germination has been poor or hasn’t happened yet. But I’m allowing more time for the non-germinators at least.
Gill gets a whole section to herself, not least because she not only sent me a very generous selection of seeds but also a helper to assist with the seed raising. I’ve already sown two batches of most of the seeds she sent me and have enough for a third batch of most. And they’ve generally come on in leaps and bounds, save for Cardiocrinum which are currently in their refrigeration stage and won’t appear for some weeks yet. My only disaster has been with some Tagetes, which looked fine one morning but were nowhere to be seen the next, save for one survivor. I’d wondered if I’d pricked them out too soon but the absence of any bodies makes me wonder if something has got into the greenhouse for a snack and then nipped back out again – I’ve carefully hunted for an itinerant slug without success. Still, a second batch is doing nicely on the window sill.
Meanwhile the cosmos decided to get very leggy and flop over. I’ll be re-potting them tomorrow using the secret gardening trick of planting deeper to hide the evidence.
Ol’ Ben, down in Cornwall, has been my annual seed supplier of choice for a few years now. I have quite a few packs of his to sow once the current lot are processed through the developmental chain and I can get into the greenhouse. I know he’ll say that I could sow his hardy things outside in autumn and again now in spring but I’ve got to get real. If resident cat finds a little patch of seedlings, his thought process says “bed” and he curls up on them. Worse, a neighbour’s cat has managed to bypass his territorially-protective aggression and is allowed to defecate with abandon, a process which generally involves digging a hole and then digging all around the aforementioned hole to cover the evidence. So nothing can be planted out until it’s big enough to survive invasion.
But I’ve now managed three batches of sweet peas. I’ve given up with toilet roll cores. The feel of Cushelle loo paper panders to the delicacies of my nethers whilst not disintegrating in use and exposing my fingers to a fate worse than death. But the cardboard cores are weeny and weaky and, generally crap (notice the cunning pun there?) for seed sowing. So I’m using bio-degradable root trainers that I discovered in a local DIY place after failing to find anything in a local garden centre (I’ll be writing about that next week so tune in for a little rant). Sowing five seeds to something a bit more than an inch in diameter is just about right for me. And I now have enough to fill my long raised planter.
I now need to decide what to do. I have limited window sill space and want to progress with sowing more annual flowers. But my dilemma is when to give up on the non-germinators amongst the HPS selection.
Meanwhile, I remain befuddled by Thompson and Morgan seeds. I received a pack of sweet pea seeds with a gardening magazine just as I was sowing the final batch of Higgledy ones so sowed 5 in each of two root trainers. The Higgledy seeds have all done their job and are now about 2 inches tall; the T&M ones haven’t done anything. It can’t be growing conditions as they’re in the same propagator in the same compost. I’m open to suggestions.
Not a lot of photos in this post, sorry. I’ve got a new camera. Decided to upgrade from a Canon compact to a Panasonic bridge. Need to find the on switch. Then read the manual to find out what all the knobs are for. Life is exciting!