Archive for the ‘Carrots’ Category

Spring at last!

October 1, 2015

Well…the mornings are still colder than I’d like, but there have been some warm days and all the fruit trees and wattles are flowering and we have passed the equinox.

So what’s happening at the foodnstuff residence?

Asparagus. I’m eating about 3 meals a week. When there’s not enough for a meal on any particular day, I just stand whatever I’ve picked in a cup of water until there are enough. They will continue to grow (elongate) in the water but don’t seem to get any more woody at the bottom :

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Raspberries. The raspberry bed is in its second year now. The original five plants have morphed into a random cluster of suckers, which, I’m hoping, will all flower and produce much more than the couple of cups I picked last year. The whole bed is permanently under a net now, because the rabbits love raspberry leaves (and of course the birds will love the berries) :

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I’ve had to put a net over the rhubarb. The rabbits were eating all the leaves. I know I only eat the stalks, but no leaves…no photosynthesis…no stalks :

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The lettuces in the milk bottle planters are thriving. I’m going to put up three more with alpine strawberries in them :

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I love the lacy look of this purple mizuna. It’s in a wicking box with purple bok choy :

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With all these fancy hybrids around now, veggie gardens are looking so attractive it’s a shame to have to pick the plants and eat them.

Here’s ordinary old green mizuna, direct-seeded into a wicking box. Too late in the year for it really…..it will flower before I get much from it, but the Girls will enjoy it :

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Direct-seeded calendula. I’ll really have to make that calendula flower ointment this year :

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Red-veined sorrel. It was looking rather tired. Amazing what a dollop of chook poo will do :

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I’m trying carrots in a wicking box this year (there’s a self-sown lettuce trying to muscle its way in) :

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Brillant red flowers on pineapple sage. I must plant more of this :

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Tomato seedlings waiting for the real warm weather :

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This is my new friend :

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A King Parrot. He’s been coming nearly every day recently, sometimes with his lady friend. He’s very tame….she’s a bit more reticent. When he can’t see me outside, he props on the laundry window ledge and whistles. When I come into the laundry and he sees me, he gives what I can only describe as a joyous shout. I go out and spread a handful of sunflower seeds on the deck railing. He’s no more than a foot away from me. So beautiful!

This quince tree (grown from seed) has become such an attractive specimen that I wouldn’t care if it didn’t produce any fruit. It did produce last year but something ate all but the few I managed to rescue. I hadn’t bothered about bagging the fruit because….well, who would eat a raw, unripe quince? Something was either very hungry or has no taste buds to speak of :

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My little cherry is out in flower. Support for a net is already in place as soon as fruits start forming :

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Pear blossom is beautiful :

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But apple blossom wins the prize every time :

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Last but not least, the Girls are still producing 8 or 9 eggs a week; even 4-year-old Molly is still doing her bit occasionally. Grated carrot and yoghurt goes down a treat :

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November update

December 4, 2014

Whenever I see a new variety of potato at the supermarket I generally buy a couple to take home and try. Growing, that is. So back in June I saw the variety Ruby Lou for sale in Coles and bought 3 tubers to plant. I harvested almost 2 kilos in November. The plants were pretty healthy—no sign of late blight, no little nasties attacked them and the majority of the tubers were clear of scab :

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I’ll keep some back for replanting and will probably freeze the ones I don’t eat right away.

My first cherries! :

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There are just six! I immediately put a net over the plant. It’s only small and has been in a couple of years. There were more flowers but not all of them have set fruit. I’ll really savour these!

Quince futures. They’re covered in a furry down at this young stage. The tree was grown from seed; so easy to do :

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I’ll be really interested in these apples :

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They were grown from seed from a Granny Smith variety. The tree flowered for the first time this year and has only set 5 fruit. Since apples rarely come true from seed, it’ll be interesting to see how they turn out.

Our local council had its annual hard rubbish collection in November. I put out a small pile of stuff and had a look at my neighbour’s pile to see if there was anything I could rescue.

I scored two 44 gallon plastic drums which will be useful for storing water and a small rabbit-cum-guinea pig hutch in good condition. It might be useful if I ever have a sick chook and want to isolate her from the others :

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Although technically it’s illegal to take something from a pile once it goes out on the naturestrip, everyone ignores that and it’s amusing to see the cars and trailers cruising up and down to see what they can pick up. I think it’s great to see what is rubbish to someone being re-claimed by someone else, instead of going to landfill as most of the stuff does. Most of my neighbour’s pile disappeared within an hour or two of him putting it out, so I was lucky to get the drums. I had put out a toaster that had died and someone came and cut off the power cord and left the toaster. I already had a large collection of power cords minus their appliances, so didn’t bother.

For the third year in a row I didn’t put a net over the redcurrants and nothing touched them! I can’t believe it, especially since some of the fruiting stems were right out in the open in full view of the birds! I harvested 2 cupfuls of fruit and that’s not counting the dozens I picked and ate every time I passed the line of bushes. I haven’t done anything with them other than to sprinkle a few on my breakfast cereal each morning :

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Of course the most important happening during the month was the arrival of the New Girls—three 12-week-old Barnevelder pullets from Julie at Country Chooks. They’ve settled in well, after a few hiccups with preferring to roost on the top of the coop instead of inside… :

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…but I settled that by shepherding them into the coop and barring the entrance with a wire panel. It only took 3 nights of doing that before they got the idea and started going in by themselves. I’ve allowed them into the 5 x 1 metre long corridor that connects the two runs, but they’re still not able to access the main playground where Molly and Cheeky are. There’s been considerable interest as the 3 newbies meet the 2 oldies at the wire barrier. Molly and Cheeky have never shown any interest in the various wild ducks and pigeons that parade outside their run, not even in the baby wild rabbit that can get in with them through the wire (only while it’s small), but somehow they seem to know that these other feathered things are their own kind. Molly seems to want to be friends, but Cheeky only wants to show them who’s boss. I may keep them apart until the newbies have started to lay. I want them to become attached to their own nest and coop and always return there at night. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble with Molly and Cheeky returning to their own quarters, but I don’t want the New Girls trying to roost in there as well. My nerves won’t stand the kerfuffle if Molly and Cheeky decide to object to that idea!

The cucumelons are growing slowly :

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Their tendrils are like fine threads and once the waving tip has grabbed onto something, the tendril forms a tight little spiral to strengthen its hold :

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Could that be a tiny flower bud with a tiny baby cucamelon behind it? Yay! :

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This Cape Gooseberry came up by itself beside the chook’s playground. It couldn’t have picked a better spot as it will give them some cool shade in summer :

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It’s already setting fruits in their papery capsules :

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The first of the cherry tomatoes are setting fruits. I’ve never had a ripe tomato before Christmas; maybe I’ll do it this year! :

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This is feverfew:

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Masses of flowers; I planted it in the hope of attracting bees, but I haven’t seen a single one on it. Instead, there are dozens of tiny flies and wasp-like things:

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I have no idea why the bees don’t like it.

I did a head count of the main crop veggie seedlings I’ve put out so far. There are 35 tomatoes; 7 cucumbers; 15 pumpkins and 8 zucchini. Direct sown seeds include beans, carrots, sweet corn, dill and caraway and some more pumpkins and there are leeks and celery sown in the polyhouse for next winter. Three dozen basil seedlings are waiting to go out. I should get something to eat out of that lot!

November saw the beginning of the second year in operation of the solar panels and they continue to be worth their weight in gold. I imported an average of 1.5 kWh per day from the grid and sent an average of 17.3 kWh back to the grid. The panels produced 20.1 kWh per day and the average daily credit to me worked out at $4.13. Overall, for the month I earned a credit of $123.81. If it wasn’t for the heat, I’d wish every day was summer. Imagine earning that much every month and being able to grow tomatoes all year!

We had 53 mm of rain during the month; Melbourne’s average for November is 58 mm. Everything looks green and lush for now, but it won’t stay that way.

Onwards to summer!

The winter garden

June 9, 2014

Not much is happening and I’m not picking much. There are still a few tamarillos* on the trees and in the greens department there’s silver beet, dandelion greens and warrigal greens. There are oranges and (very) small mandarins.

The kale seedlings finally grew big enough to plant and I bought a couple of punnets of broccoletti from the old chap at the Sunday Market. They’ve all gone into the big planter box…:

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…and there’s more kale in a wicking box…:

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…and some climbing peas in a wicking box behind the potato onions…:

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…and dwarf peas in another wicking box:

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There’s just one celery plant:

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Carrots are too small to pick.

Potato onions still looking OK.

Garlic likewise.

And leeks.

And that’s about it!

One good thing…I finally managed to buy a bamboo plant:

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This is Bambusa oldhamii. I’ve wanted a bamboo for ages and finally Bunnings had them in stock. This one will grow to 12 metres. I want to use the culms for stakes, bean tepees and trellises and whatever else I can think of.

This is a clumping bamboo, not a running one, so it won’t take over the neighourhood. I’m not sure if rabbits like bamboo, but the wire circle means I’m not taking any chances.

I’ve started building the new chook run and coop, but I won’t write about it until it’s all finished.

* Just an update on the tamarillo seed for those who wanted some. I haven’t forgotten you! I extracted seed and dried it and it was very thin and immature-looking, so I’m leaving some of the remaining fruits on the tree till they’re almost ready to fall and hoping the seed will look more mature.

Aaahh…autumn!

April 17, 2014

Calm, sunny days. Gentle rain. Plants greening up and putting on new growth. Lots of work to do and lots being done. Not too hot to work. The nicest time of year in Melbourne.

The potato onions are going bananas in a wicking box:

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This year I’m trying leeks in a wicking box:

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When I’m growing them in the garden, I don’t build the soil up around them (to produce white stems), I use mulched bracken. It’s much cleaner and means no dirt gets between the layers of leaves. Because the wicking box isn’t deep enough to do this, I’ve added a ring of plastic gutter guard around the edge. That way I get 6-8 inches of mulch around the stems. The bracken helps to hold them upright as well:

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I finished potting my strawberries into their wicking buckets:

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They’re sitting on an upturned plant stand on the deck, on recycled fridge shelves. The legs of the stand sticking up don’t look very attractive until you realise they’re in just the right place to support a net at fruiting time. Voilà:

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With the end of the tomato season, I move on to my winter vitamin C source…the Valencia orange. They’re small this year, because of the lack of summer rain, but there are plenty…enough for a vitamin C hit every day:

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Speaking of tomatoes, there’s just one plant still going. It was given to me late in the season which is why it’s still fruiting. It’s called ‘Checkmate’. I can’t find anything about it on Google, but look at what it just produced:

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The big one weighed in at 368 g and the other at 277 g. I hope the flavour is as big!

The first mushie of the season. Only a tiddler, but I will use it in a risotto with some of it’s bigger (purchased) cousins. I don’t think there will be many this year. We just didn’t get the early autumn rains:

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I’ve removed the corn crop and mulched up the leaves, which went straight back on the bed they were grown in, as should happen, so that the nutrients the corn took up as it was growing are returned to the soil:

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Don’t be fooled by those pie-in-the-sky schemes that propose to burn crop wastes for energy or turn them into ethanol so we can still drive cars. Keep removing nutrients from the soil and eventually it won’t grow anything. Of course in the industrial agriculture version, we just add chemical fertilisers—nitrogen made from natural gas (fossil fuel) and mined phosphorus (which is running out), and so on. The chemical load in the soil eventually kills the soil fungi which help the plants take up nutrients and you’re back to square one—depleted soil that won’t grow anything (and in the meantime you’ve run out of fossil fuels and phosphorus).

I didn’t get much of a yield from the corn plants. The male flowers appeared well before the females and had dropped most of their pollen before the girls appeared. I stopped wasting water on them when the weather got hot. I should’ve kept going, because they did set some cobs, but they were small and the poor fertilisation was evident. The last of the carrots (the tiny ones), in the next door bed, were picked as well:

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My seed-grown quince tree flowered well last season and set a lot of fruit, but most of it burned or dropped off in the summer heat. The tree didn’t receive any water over summer, so I wasn’t surprised. But two fruit miraculously survived and grew to a good size:

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They were a beautiful unblemished yellow (which hasn’t come out well in the photo) and were equally unblemished inside, unlike the ones I usually buy which, I think, come from local backyard trees. I’ve stewed them for breakfast.

Celery and dandelion in a wicking box for winter greens:

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A lush crop of nettles growing in the shade under my tubestock plant stands. When I’m watering the tubes, the nettles get the overflow of water and nutrients. I just have to remember not to brush up against them when I’m wearing shorts!:

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Dutch Cream potatoes are growing well. There are two other batches like this—Desiree and Kipfler. Now that I’ve found a good way of preserving potatoes, I don’t mind how many I grow:

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Last year someone gave me some fresh figs. I can’t resist sowing all sorts of seeds, just to see if they’ll germinate. They came up easily and quickly, so now there’s a baby fig tree in the food forest:

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I sowed bread wheat again this year. It germinated easily and a batch of self-sown chickweed decided to share its space. No problems; I’ll gradually weed it out for the Girls. It’s chook caviar to them:

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This is Warrigal Greens aka New Zealand Spinach. I don’t use it much (so many other greens to choose from), but it makes a good ground cover and keeps the weeds at bay:

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I’ve started sowing brassicas. There are still cabbage white butterflies about, but if I leave the seedlings in the polyhouse they get leggy. I wanted them in full sun so they’d be more compact, so I made a wire box to cover the seedling pots. I watched a butterfly hovering above in frustration—she could smell them but she couldn’t get in. Ha! Score—me 1 butterflies nil. These are four different kale varieties:

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Well, that’s my autumn garden. Just to prove I’m not sitting inside playing computer games!

Still more mini cuttings

November 16, 2012

First there was tomato:

Then capsicum and lettuce:

And now  basil:

I’m wondering what to try next.

Other stuff….

Sometimes it’s good to be a carrot…..

…..and sometimes not.

Kitchen window view:

How much am I growing?…3 month update

February 6, 2012

I wrote this post back in November about how I was going to record all the food I bought and all the food I grew, for a whole year. I want to see what percentage of my food I’m actually providing from the garden.

I’m writing it all in an exercise book and I’ve also put it on a simple spreadsheet which adds up the totals and calculates the percentages.

So far, in the first 3 months, the average is 25%. In other words, of all the food that’s come into the house in that time, 25% of it has come from the garden.

Not too bad, but it’s summer—the best season of the food-growing year, with tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cucumbers & carrots in abundance and fruit (not a lot this year) from the trees. I know I won’t be able to keep that up over the winter. There’ll be peas, leeks,  plenty of greens (silver beet, chinese cabbage & kale), but my broccoli leaves a lot to be desired (I really must do something about keeping the Cabbage White Butterfly off the plants and I must learn to grow better broccoli). Right in the middle of winter there will also be oca & yacon and asparagus in the spring.

So it looks like I’ll finish up with something less than 25% for the year. The only thing that might boost the % is that I may not need to buy much over the winter. The fridge is bursting at the seams with bottles of pickled veggies, pesto, tomato paste, pasta sauce and marmalade. There will be tomatoes in the freezer and jars of dried tomatoes in the cupboard, plus potatoes under the sink and pumpkins, if I’m lucky. I have enough bread flour and wheat to make a year’s supply of bread and enough pasta and rice for at least that time, too.

Oh, and I forgot eggs. A dozen eggs a week will help boost the totals, too (speaking of which, top egg weight this past week was 53 g—going up!).

In no way am I self-sufficient in food and I doubt whether I ever can be, especially where meat protein is concerned, but it’s an interesting exercise anyway.

Growing vegetables from seed

September 13, 2011

It usually amazes me when someone asks what I think is a dumb question about growing plants from seed. I’m afraid I tend to forget that I’ve been doing it for 30 years or so and much of it is second nature. For newbies, growing from seed is, well….new. Totally.

So here’s some of my experiences. I hope you find them useful.

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Most books will tell you to buy a bag of commercial seed-raising mix, put it in a pot, sprinkle the seed over the top, cover with a depth of mix equal to the thickness of the seed and water gently.

When the seedlings germinate (they never fail to do so in the books—real life is often quite different!), you ‘prick’ them out into larger pots to grow on. They always tell you to do this when the first set of true leaves appear. (Note: the first set of leaves to open from a germinating seed are the seed leaves or cotyledons. They are often very different in size and shape from the true leaves which appear next.)

Seedling with cotyledons and true leaves:

After that (say the books), you simply water the seedlings, perhaps add a little fertiliser and wait for them to grow big enough to plant out in their final position.

That’s all right as far as it goes, but seeds vary enormously. Here’s a few examples:

On the left is tiny, tiny seed (like dust) of camomile; then tomato, then peas and finally broad beans. It’s generally accepted that you sow large seed, like peas and beans, direct into the ground, bypassing the potting on stage. The disturbance to growth that would result from trying to pot on a large bean seedling (if you could do it without breaking the root) would set the plant’s growth back too much. Yet I still see punnets of pea and even bean seedlings for sale in nurseries and Sunday markets. Don’t buy them.

On the other hand, tiny seed means an equally tiny seedling with equally delicate roots. That means trying to prick out something very small with a  very large thumb and finger, while trying to avoid crushing the poor thing to death.

So one of my tricks for tiny seed is to sprinkle a pinch of seed onto the surface of a small pot and allow all to germinate, then thinning later to the strongest seedling (often nature will do this for you by simply wiping out the weakies). Be careful though, that the little group of seedlings don’t succumb to fungus that will wipe them all out. Good air circulation around them is important. The plant is allowed to grow on in the original pot, bypassing the pricking-out stage and can be put in the ground without too much transplanting shock. If you know your plants and their growth habit, sometimes it’s possible to leave 2 or 3 seedlings to grow on and plant out as a group. You wouldn’t do this for a large tree, but you might do it for an annual or perennial, where a group of 2 or more plants will grow successfully together.

This doesn’t mean that all tiny seed should be treated in this way. Some small seeds resent the disturbance of potting up and planting out and need to be direct sown. Carrots are an example (and parsnips, although their seed isn’t as small). They must be direct sown and thinned in the ground. Thinning should take place as early as possible, but sometimes I’ve been able to get away with a succession of late thinnings and get a feed of baby carrots into the bargain. It’s possible to buy carrot seed sealed at nice regular intervals in a ‘seed tape’, which means thinning isn’t necessary:

When sowing seed, you don’t need a deep pot; this is only wasteful of seed-raising mix. A shallow punnet will do. A margarine container is suitable, but even then that can be a bit deep. I’ve taken to using those black plastic trays that supermarket meat comes in. A few holes in the bottom for drainage is all that’s needed:

Don’t forget to label with the name of the species and the date. Now, not later. Memory doesn’t recognise ‘later’. And keeping written records is most important if and when you want to check back on germination times (for forward planning, for example).

Once your seeds have germinated, forget about potting on at the first true leaf stage. They’re mostly still too small to be handled. Wait till they’re a decent size and have a small cluster of roots. You might need to do some experimental poking about at this stage. Some seeds make good top growth and very little root growth. Others make a lot of roots and still look pretty peaky on top.

While they’re waiting to be potted up they will relish a dose of weak liquid fertiliser—diluted worm juice is good, if you have a worm farm. If you’re going to use pelleted fertiliser, make sure that no pellets are sitting right against the seedling’s tender stem. The sudden influx of strong chemical can dehydate and kill the seedling.

If you’ve started your seeds off inside then they should be given adequate light as soon as they germinate.  Otherwise they stretch up and become leggy and fall over. That usually means outside, although not in really hot sun.

You might start by using a commercial seed-raising mix and then decide to experiment with something else entirely. At various times I’ve used sieved potting mix, a mix of sand & cocopeat or commercial mix. At the moment I’m using a mix of 2 parts perlite:1 part cocopeat. It makes a nice light, but water-holding mix that makes it easy to lever out the seedlings.

I’ve found that the longer I leave them, the stronger they are and the better they transplant. Sometimes I may have to trim a long tap root, but as long as side roots have formed this isn’t usually a problem. If there are strong, multiple side roots sticking out in all directions and you can’t get them into the hole you’ve made without crushing them, then here’s a neat trick. Dip the root system in some water. As you pull it out, the roots clump down into a narrow cylinder, allowing the seedling to be dropped straight into its hole.

When I’m potting up seedlings I fill the pot with potting mix and make a hole with a thin flat stick by working it from side to side. The mix has to be damp for this, otherwise it will fall back into the hole and you won’t have a hole! So I fill my pots and water them overhead with a fine rose spray on the hose and let them drain.

Here’s a selection of some of the pots I might use for potting up seedlings:

The pots don’t need to be very big, otherwise you have to wait too long for the seedling to grow before planting out. I want to get a nice strong seedling into the ground and growing as soon as possible. The tall pot is 50 mm (2″) square and 150 (6″) mm deep. (By the way, that black thing in the cement course between the bricks behind the pot is a plump little spider. See the legs. She’s found a nice warm spot to shelter in).

Tomatoes get special treatment. I want them to be a decent size so I can put them out as soon as the weather warms in spring. I don’t want to be actually sowing seed in spring and planting seedlings in summer. I want them growing and fruiting as soon as possible. So tomatoes get sown inside in late winter, on a heated propagating mat. I soak the seeds overnight, then plant them in cell trays, 3 seeds to a cell. Later, I thin to the strongest seedling. It’s important that they get plenty of light once they’ve germinated, to stop them becoming leggy, so they’re moved right up against the glass window during the day and moved further back into the warm room at night.

Cell trays on the heated propagating mat:

The first batch of tomatoes has already germinated:

When the weather warms enough outside, the cell trays go into the polyhouse until the seedlings are big enough to transplant into their final pots. They get fed really well at this stage and are planted out from these small pots.

Tomato seedlings ready to plant (from last year):

It doesn’t really matter if tomato seedlings get leggy, because they can be planted out right up to the level of the first set of true leaves. New roots will grow all along the stem and make for a much stronger plant.

Here’s a batch of beetroot seedlings I bought at a Sunday Market recently. They’ve been allowed (by the grower, not me) to become a bit leggy and have flopped sideways. You want to try and prevent your seedlings from doing this:

I potted the seedlings on into tall tubes. I didn’t want to plant them straight into the garden as they’re too small, but I wanted to eliminate the legginess, so I’ve potted them right up to the base of the cotyledons:

The tall tubes will allow a good deep root system to develop, but won’t stop the formation of the swollen root. I’ll put them out when they’re bigger and the ground is warmer.

If you’re going to have a go at growing trees and shrubs from seed, you need to know a bit about the plant species and where it grows naturally, especially what the normal germination conditions are. For example, the seeds of many plants from the northern hemisphere drop in autumn and spend the winter buried under snow and won’t germinate until the spring. Being buried under snow is a requirement for germination—they won’t germinate without this happening to break dormancy and prime them for germination.

If there’s no snow handy, you can get around this by ‘stratifying’ the seeds. This means sowing them as normal, then putting the pot or punnet in a plastic bag and storing in the fridge for a few weeks.

Some seeds, e.g. wattles, have a hard seed coat that needs to be broken down to allow moisture to penetrate and start the germination process. In the natural environment, fire usually does this by cracking open the seed coat. To get around this, you can sow the seed, pile some leaves onto the pot (not a plastic one!) and set fire to them, however it’s easier to put the seeds in a cup and pour boiling water over them, then leave them to soak. The ones that swell up can then be planted.

Many plants that come from fire-dependent vegetation areas (Australia and South Africa come to mind) need fire to germinate their seeds, but it’s not only hard-coated  seeds that are in this category. In this case it’s chemicals in the smoke that trigger the seeds to germinate. Experimental work in South Africa and later at King’s Park in Perth proved this.

Seeds were treated by enveloping them in smoke from a drum of burning vegetation and germination was improved. In another experiment, the seeds were watered with water that had smoke bubbled through it, with the same result. The water was chemically analysed and a synthetic brew made up. It’s now possible to buy ‘smoke water’ to use on difficult to germinate species. I’ve been using it for some years on Australian natives with great success.

So, germinating seeds can be quite involved, but  fortunately for us, growing veggies from seed is pretty easy!

Seed tape

May 1, 2011

Fresh, crunchy, home-grown carrots, straight from the ground, are something to die for. But they’re a pain to grow.

Because the seedlings don’t like being transplanted, the tiny seed has to be direct sown. Then, because it’s impossible to sow thinly enough, the seedlings have to be thinned out to ensure that each carrot has enough room to grow.

Thinning is the painful part. My back gives out after a few minutes and  I usually give up.

Some enterprising person (probably one with a bad back) has invented seed tape, in which each seed is nicely spaced and enclosed in a strip of tape. You simply plant the strip and if you’re lucky your carrots come up perfectly spaced. The tape rots away.

I’ve been aware of seed tape for a while but never actually seen it for sale, so when I was at Bunnings recently, browsing through the seeds, I saw a packet and grabbed it to try.

It’s Fothergills brand and Nantes variety, which just happens to be the one I always grow. There’s 5 metres of tape in all.

I grow my veggies in wire circles half filled with compost. The circles are 45cm high and that’s just enough to keep out the wild rabbits we’re blessed cursed with. Each circle is about 80cm in diameter. Here’s what it looked like when I’d finished:

I covered the rows of tape with a thin layer of sieved potting mix and watered it all in. I’ll be watching with interest to see how they germinate.

The inner circle of black plastic tube is my watering system. It has two small upright spray heads on opposite sides. I click the hose from the water tank onto the inlet and a fine spray covers the bed.

It then occurred to me (I’m slow, but I get there) that I could make my own tape. I’d like to try radish seed this way. I Googled and found that there are people already doing this (as I said I’m slow). I thought about what I’d use for glue and discovered that flour paste is the go. The tape I bought is the texture and strength of toilet paper, but I think I’ll go for something a little stronger, maybe newspaper (using the margins where there’s no print).

Making seed tapes will be a good indoor job for winter nights by the wood fire.