Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: germination

White Cucumber – Cucumis Sativus

This year I am going to try and chit Cucumber seeds. I have put four each of White Wonder from Seekay and Long White from T&M in some damp kitchen towel and into a plastic food box. It is sitting on the computer box for a little warmth. They don’t usually take long to germinate any way, about 7-10 days. I have grown the Long White before and have yet to see a white Cucumber. Last year produced the best plants but they were destroyed following the torrential rain that we had here. I have prepared a 7″ pot of moist compost ready for the germinated seeds. The White Wonder are new seeds. Well, no luck with chitting so I have put them directly into pots. I’m worried now that I may have spoiled the seeds. Hope not as they are quite expensive as seeds go. The T&M Long White were £1.99 for 15 seeds. Seekay White Wonder were 20 for 65p. 10th February – all of the White Wonder are about two inches high but only one of the Long White through yet. (7 days) Having got to the end of April and only two seedlings left I have sown another pot of the long white today. The best plant, the Long White, got killed off by a frost when I put it out too soon and the other two, White Wonder, which are still inside, look very feeble even though one of them is already in flower. Well, at the end of the season we had no harvest from the Long White and though there were two strong looking plants from the White Wonder we only had two very small fruits. I’m not sure that I shall have another go next year. Time will tell.

This Half-hardy Annual, Greenhouse type Cucumber Long White is not just a novelty. The firm flesh is sweet and juicy with a pleasant tang that will add flavour to your salads. The tender, white skins are so thin that they won’t need peeling. This attractive variety is a good cropper when trained against supports in the greenhouse. Height 9′
The White Wonder are described as an excellent variety that produces creamy white fruits that reach approx. 20cm.
https://www.thompson-morgan.com/how-to-grow-cucumbers

Sowing Brassicas

I have sown the first trays of Brassicas for the year. One 20 module tray of Brussel Sprouts Evesham Special. I have put more than one seed to a section as the seeds are not new this year. One large module tray including 6 Romanesco, 6 Cauli Autumn Giant, 6 Cabbage Primo, 6 Cabbage Derby Day, 6 Cabbage Glory of Enkhuisen and 6 Cabbage Kilaxy. Sown on the 4th February so I should see some signs of life in ten to fifteen days. They are all brassicas that I have grown before many times. Six Romanesco through after five days. Romanesco potted on today 16th Feb. Cauliflower Autumn Giant potted on too 16th Feb.

The GOE are from Seekay at 75p for 100 seeds. The Romanesco and the Autumn Giant Cauliflower, 65p for 50, are new seeds this year but all the others are at least one year old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have had no luck with the brassica seedlings at all, neither the old seed or the new. Today 29th April, I have sown another tray of seeds but have also bought 72 plants from Webbs They are Cauliflower All Year Round, Cabbage Greyhound and Brussel Sprouts Evesham Special.

Tomatoes

I sowed the first Tomato seeds today, 2nd Feb, a little early but last years didn’t seem to have enough time to mature fully. I have sown four Gardeners Delight, two Black Opal, two Alicante, four Black Russian, four Tigerella and four Ildie. I have sown two to a module. Germination should be 1-2 weeks. Update – All of the seeds germinated at seven days and today, 13th Feb,  I have potted them on.

Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants and are rich in Vitamins A and C and lycopene, all helping to stimulate your body’s immune system.

Gardeners Delight from T&M – This variety has truly tangy flavour. This cordon has long been a favourite for its trusses of bite-sized cherry tomatoes.

Black Opal F1 Hybrid from T&M – I bought these new in 2016, the dark fruits of Black Opal are tasty Cherry tomatoes. This unique cross combines the dark skin and health benefits of Black Cherry with the high sugar content of Sweet Aperitif whilst retaining high levels of anthocyanins and lycopene.

Alicante from Alan Romans – This vigorous cordon Alicante is open pollinated and will grow true from saved seed. A typical traditional tomato.

Black Russian from Seekay – This is a medium tomato with dark skin that has a superb flavour. The fruits darken with age to almost dark brown when fully ripe.

Tigerella from Seekay – This Indeterminate tomato produces a tangy flavoured crop of early ripening fruit that have yellow stripes.

Ildie from Seekay – A large bush type tomato that grows 5′ – 6′ high producing trusses of gorgeous yellow grape sized tomatoes.

Rudbeckia Orange Fudge – Brown Eyed Susan

Today, 30th January, I was presented with a packet of Rudbeckia Rustic Dwarf seeds with a last sowing date of this year. I have sprinkled the whole packet onto a tray of moist compost and put it into a polythene bag and look forward to seeing some seed leaves pushing through in a couple of weeks. This vibrant coloured flower is also called Cone Flower, and I had some of those in the perennial seedlings that I bought from T&M. Unfortunately they didn’t survive the Winter.

History : Rudbeckias are members of the daisy family and were named by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus to honour two eighteenth century botany professors, Olof Rudbeck the Elder and Olof Rudbeck the Younger. Linnaeus is reported to have told his teacher , Rudbeck the Younger, “so long as the earth shall survive, and each spring shall see it covered with flowers, the rudbeckia will preserve your glorious name”.

Germination update – 5th February and lots of green seedlings pushing through after only one week. Very good for seeds dated 2005.

Gypsophila Paniculata Covent Garden – Higgledy Seed

Sow Gypsophila seeds on the surface of the compost in spring. Make sure that the compost is moist but not wet and seal in a polythene bag until after germination which usually takes ten to twenty one days. Do not exclude light which is beneficial to germination. Transplant when large enough to handle and grow on in cooler conditions. Later plant out in a sheltered spot. Plant out at about a foot apart. They may need staking against the wind if in an exposed position.

I have tried to grow these beautiful, herbaceous perennials before without success. This will be my year with them. These seedlings grow a deep tap root so need starting in a deep pot. They prefer not to be disturbed though. In March I may sow some seeds directly into the white border.

26th January 2017 about thirty tiny seeds sprinkled onto moist compost in a pint pot and enclosed in a polythene bag. All my seed pots are in the computer room and I try to keep the light on during these short Winter days. It is -4 outside this morning. 30th January and it looks like 100% germination already after only 4 days. I have taken them out of the polythene bag and moved them to the window ledge for light,

Well done Higgledy, 1000 seeds for £1.95 and 100% germination. I can’t wait for them to mature. Twelve weeks from germination I believe.

Capsicum – Green Pepper

Image result for sowing green pepper seedsLast week I bought peppers to use for tea and kept the seeds. I left them to dry out and today have sprinkled about thirty onto moist compost and put them into a polythene bag.They should germinate in about ten days. I’m not sure that they will come true but it’s worth a try. I have grown peppers before and think that they need a long time to grow in our climate and that is why I am starting early. 25th January. Germination update – about twenty seedlings showing through today 5th Feb that’s 13 days. I shall leave them in the tray covered for a little longer. Update – 13th Feb, all thirty seeds germinated. I have potted on six into three inch pots.

 

 

Sunflower Giant Yellow Single

I have received 300 Sunflower seeds from Seekay at a cost of 99p. I have washed eleven containers, recycled plastic pint beer glasses, I plan to put holes for drainage and fill with sandy compost to sow the Sunflower seeds. Having done a bit of reading it seems that March is the earliest time to sow. Although most advice says sow where they are to grow this would be difficult as the garden is in the process of being rearranged this year. Sunflowers grow a long tap root which prefers not to be disturbed, however, the seedlings are targeted by slugs so it may be safer growing on in pots until stronger.

SeeKay Sunflower Giant Yellow Single 300 seeds - Annual

This morning. 26th January, I have started a sunflower seed germination experiment. I have removed the husk from three seeds and put the seeds in wet kitchen towel, I have included one intact seed and then put all inside a plastic box. I have also sown one seed intact into a pot of compost and put the pot into a polythene bag.. They will be kept warm and observed. Update – 28th January – In just two days all of the seeds in my kitchen towel have germinated, the ones with the husk peeled off and the one left intact exactly the same. The one put into compost isn’t showing yet but I am hopeful that the root has emerged the same.

 

 

 

Cleome Spinosa – American Spider Flower 2017

Cleome Violet Queen will be the next seeds to go into some damp compost. These half hardy annuals were £1.99 for 200 from Higgledy who recommend sowing between January and March indoors. Best sown on the surface of moist compost and can take up to four weeks to germinate. I shall sow just twenty of them tomorrow 19th January. It seems that these plants can grow as high as six feet so I shall have to be careful where I put them. Eye catching and strongly scented, the deep violet flowers and palm like leaves of this beautiful plant will add a tropical look to the late summer garden. so say the people at Crocus.com. Twenty tiny seedling are now fighting for survival on the window ledge. Germination was great at 100% and took only ten days!. Let’s see if I can get them through to flowering.

Cleome spinosa Violet Queen is a sumptuous purple, which looks good with almost anything, particularly good with verbenas, dahlias and sunflowers. Cleomes are an elegant, very long lasting annual,  flowering longer than all the other half-hardies. Sow early. The only downside to Cleomes are their thorns. Information from the Sarah Raven site.

I have bought new seeds from Seekay of two other colours of this beautiful flower. On doing a bit of research I see that I can sow these directly in the ground now, May/June so I am looking forward to doing just that. The two new varieties are Helen Campbell, White and Rose Queen, a subtle pink.

Despite it’s recent revival in popularity Cleome hassleriana ‘Rose Queen’ is actually an heirloom flower having been grown in gardens since 1817. A beautiful variety with deep, rose-pink flowers that fade to light pink. The large, open, airy flowers have a strong scent and bloom throughout the summer until frosts.  Eye-catching spidery flowers and palm-like leaves add a tropical look to the late summer garden. Cleome are very easy to grow are generally free of pests and considered drought tolerant. Despite that fact they grow their best in moist but well drained soil and full sunlight. The spidery flowers make attractive cut flowers and the seed heads can be dried and added to bouquets.  Frost and cold winds are lethal to this elegant South American annual. If you wish to start them early in the year do so under glass and only plant out after the danger of frosts has passed. Sow indoors in April or outdoors May to June. Cleome like good light levels and germinate quickly if sown quite late. Start them in April or early May. If planted too early the seeds will not germinate and may rot. Sow indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last frost, or sow directly where they are to flower after all danger of frost has passed.

Cleome is a genus of annual flowering plants with 170 species. Cleomaceae are a small family of flowering plants in the order Brassicales comprising about 300 species in 10 genera. Cleome are native to southern South America. This heirloom flower has been grown in gardens since 1817. The genus name Cleome is derived from an ancient name of a mustard like plant, in reference to its seed pods. The species hassleriana is named after Emile Hassler 1864-1937 a Swiss botanist and plant collector. The synonym Spinacia is taken from the Latin spina, meaning a prickle or thorn. Because of their unique flower clusters, these blossoms got the nickname spider flower. Although most flowers have a multitude of meanings cleome one. An old-fashioned expression that asks the recipient to elope or run away with the giver.

The white Cleome Spinosa Helen Campbell looks good in large drifts on its own or intermingled with white cosmos Purity. It’s 16th May and a warm rainy day so I am about to go and sow seeds of both in the white border. The advice is to put seeds on the surface of the soil as they need light to germinate.

 

 

 

 

 

Heatwave Conditions

We have had weeks of hot sunny weather meaning we have had to do a marathon with the watering cans but the results have been good with lots of salad, vegetables and strawberries to eat and freeze. This has been a very good year for cauliflower and cabbage but the peas have been few and far between as have the early carrots. At home the roses have been good and the fruit trees are showing a bit of fruit too but all could have been better with a little rain.

 

We have planted the last of the leeks Real now. It was a disappointing germination and only fifteen plants have gone in out of forty seeds. The runner beans are forming with the Scarlet Emperor being the first to show. The sweet peas are a picture and smell lovely. The squash plants are romping away now with the exception of our favourite the butternut, which, for some reason, did not germinate well. We have picked loads of strawberries but again they have suffered from the lack of water. The fruit cage is full of currants and berries ready to be harvested and frozen or turned into jam. All I need is time.

Rain at Last

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. We have had a couple of weeks without a drop  and have enjoyed rising temperatures and sunshine which have been welcome after the coldest Winter in a decade. Ideally I would want light rain overnight every night followed by dry sunny days but unfortunately nature isn’t controlled by a switch so we have to deal with what we get and in this country we are blessed with mild, changeable weather. However the sound of rain this morning was welcome. The garden and the allotment plot were dry and dusty which is not great for new plants and seedlings or the newly seeded lawn at home. We spent a couple of hours this morning at home in the garden then popped to the plots for an hour. The rain kept off and the hour turned into four hours. We sowed more seeds of Parsnip Hollow Crown and Carrot Nantes into the bottom bed. There was great excitement when we saw two asparagus spears peeping through already.

Rob put in some Peas Kelvedon Wonder in the bottom brassica tunnel. I had been swishing them for a few days and they were already germinated so should be off to a good start.  The Hurst Green Shaft that I put in the top tunnel are well up now and the Meteor are showing through too. Rob has moved the obelisk that I grow the Sweet Peas up and I have planted the Spencer Mixed raised from seed at home. They are now situated at the bottom of the plot by the seating area.We came home with another bunch of Raddish French Breakfast, my favourite. I shall have to sow more next time we go down. At home I have pricked out the Gardeners Delight seedlings and potted on some Alicante and Black Cherry.