from small seeds
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.