Monday, October 1, 2012

Cheap thrills

Call it 'cheap thrills' but I love growing plants from seed. Now I know that a couple of postings ago I was complaining about my capacity for impatience, but I'm not completely bereft of patient waiting genes, and seed-raising is one of the better uses of patience in this plant filled world where I like to spend so much time. Besides, watching seeds come up provides lots of cheap thrills, especially when they come up overnight and you wander outside and there's a new facing smiling up at you from their pot or patch of ground.

OK, on a 'level of difficulty' scale of 1 to 10, where
1 is a weed and 10 wins a Nobel Prize, raising these
'Tiny Tim' cherry tomato seeds are about a 3, but
they're my little toms and as the plants grow only
50cm tall they're exactly what I want for one spot
in the vegie patch. All I need is four plants.

Not so much seeds sprouted as seeds almost ready to
be harvested. These are the 'Microgreens' which came
as free seeds attached to the cover of 'Burke's Backyard'
magazine. I always like to roadtest the free seeds for
myself, just to make sure readers are getting value.
The idea is that you harvest these mini greens for
salads and sandwiches, and hopefully they will also
regrow for you. So far so good, they look delish.

Beetroot coming up amid a sea of mulch. These things
grow best from seed, hating being transplanted as
seedlings. One good tip I've learned is to soak the
corky-looking beetroot seeds in water for a few hours
prior to planting. I did an experiment, and the soaked
seeds came up days earlier than the unsoaked ones.

Still in the teensy-weensy baby stage, this is a sprouted
oregano seedling. The mustardy coloured 'boulders'
also in the pic are slow-release fertiliser grains. To
think this little baby will one day be a far-spreading
beast of a herb is hard to imagine, but then again
lots of footballers looked harmless and cute as babies.

Looking remarkably like oregano babies at this very
first stage of life, this is corn salad.

Chervil seeds come up thin and spindly, only to turn
into lacy, delicate little things a bit like parsley. The
lesson here is don't let plant babies fool you!

Just for fun, I'm going to collect some
seed from some plants I value and have
a go at raising new plants from them.
This is a wonderful plant called perpetual
spinach, which has provided a constant
supply of leaves from early autumn all
the way through winter until now, when
it has finally decided to go to seed. I'm
keeping a lookout for flowers, then I'll
pop a mesh bag over the flower heads
and hopefully will end up with seeds to
sow later on. Expect a blog on this one!

And speaking of future blogs, here's another seed-
collecting effort about to begin. This is the seed head
of the rapidly fading scadoxus which I have featured
here a few times recently. There are four flower heads
forming stacks of seeds now, and I have bagged up
three of them in the hope of collecting the seeds and
germinating them. This unbagged one is my 'Plan B'
option: no bag, just collect the seeds and sow them
in a tray. If it works, brilliant, and if it doesn't, I am
sure I'll still learn something useful (not sure what
that'll be, and I'd rather succeed, thanks!)
Seeds put you so close to the full cycle of life of plants. I couldn't possibly be a gardener without growing at least some plants from seed. 

Some bloggers have a wonderful, inspiring mastery of seed-sowing and growing, and to point you in an interesting direction, if you haven't visited Michelle's blog called From Seed to Table, that would be an inspirational (and very informative) place to start.


Lithopsland said...

Although I'm new to growing from seeds, I agree that it is much fun; to see plant life grow from small specks, although with Lithops seeds, it really does test your patience because they grow super slow, but it makes it so much more rewarding. All of your seedlings look great! And those microgreens do look v. good. ;) Wow, cannot wait to see how your scadoxus seed collecting process goes. If you need someone to test them out, please feel free to let me know. ;) Best.

Missy Piggy said...

I have much more luck with seeds - they "mostly" seem to sprout. I'm always nervous buying seedlings - transplanting them is traumatic (for me) as I think I'm doing them so much damage! I bought a sage seedling today - as I want SAGE now, but I'm not sure I did the transplant very well. Sigh.

Jamie said...

Lithopsland, I'll let you know how I go with the scadoxus seed collecting. If it works, I should have plenty.

And Missy Piggy, one tip with seedlings is to use a seaweed product (eg, Seasol or Uplift Plant Starter) to help the seedlings settle in. Apply a dose (as per pack instructions) fortnightly for the first six weeks and they should get well underway.

Lithopsland said...

Hooray! Thanks Jamie, I hope it woks. ;)

pest control gold coast said...

Gardening needs a lot of time and patience. If you don't have the two you'll never enjoy gardening. Nice post!

Lucy said...

I agree. Seeing seeds turn into seedlings is always amazing. Maybe one should be most impressed by the ones which take their time and eventually emerge. But I like the excitement of those which come up straight away - en masse.

dirtgirl said...

Jamie, I agree about growing seeds. Although by nature I am impatient with everything else in my life, growing from seeds is just so much fun! I have heaps of trays underway at present and every day I am out there like a mother hen clucking around the new sprouts with delight. I too have the 'free' seeds from Burkes Backyard coming up. Still waiting on my Sage seedlings to appear, they have been in for ages! However I said the same about the Thyme seeds and suddenly after weeks they all began to sprout.

Alice said...

Wow! Take a lot of patience although it is indeed a lovely sights. Thanks a lot for the share.

Alice @ eGardenSheds

patientgardener said...

I'm a seedaholic - any seed will do. Though the more challenging the better these days. I am really chuffed as I have got a bird of paradise to germinate, now I know it could be 10 years before it flowers but hay it germinated!