Big things

from small seeds

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Peter Cundall

NO mat­ter how long we have been gar­den­ing, we never lose that an­cient feel­ing of tri­umph when our seeds ger­mi­nate.

The sight of rows of tiny green noses thrust­ing out of the soil never fails to lift the hearts of even the most ex­pe­ri­enced gar­dener.

Most veg­etable and flower seeds we sow are rel­a­tively easy, but it all de­pends on a com­bi­na­tion of tem­per­a­ture and mois­ture.

Take car­rots for ex­am­ple. From the time seeds are sown un­til new seedlings ap­pear can take al­most three weeks.

That’s be­cause the tiny seeds must be sown close to the sur­face and they dry out eas­ily dur­ing the ger­mi­na­tion process.

Most bush and climb­ing bean seeds ger­mi­nate in about a week.

The most com­mon cause of fail­ure is over- wa­ter­ing dur­ing the ger­mi­na­tion pe­riod.

Beet­root and sil­ver­beet seeds ger­mi­nate in just over a week in warm con­di­tions. Sweet­corn is also up and mov­ing within 10 days of sow­ing, but can also rot in the ground if over- wa­tered.

Pump­kin, cu­cum­ber and zuc­chini seeds all ger­mi­nate rapidly in warm soil, usu­ally in just over a week.

Let­tuce seeds can be very slow to ger­mi­nate in sum­mer. It helps if un­opened pack­ets are given a good chill­ing in a re­frig­er­a­tor for a few days.

Pars­ley seed has al­ways been con­sid­ered to be dif­fi­cult to ger­mi­nate. How­ever, the trick is to sow the seeds in the ground or a con­tainer and pour very hot water over the seed bed. This heats up the seeds briefly be­fore the soil cools them again. This is enough to trig­ger off ex­cel­lent ger­mi­na­tion in about 20 days.

The eas­i­est are radish and turnip seeds. They are up and mov­ing in three or four days.

Cel­ery seeds are sown dif­fer­ently. Sow shal­lowly into pun­nets filled with seedling-rais­ing mix. Place the pun­nets into a drip- tray filled with about 3cm of water. This keeps the soil con­stantly sat­u­rated. The seedlings come up in about 12 days and when they are large enough can be trans­planted.

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