Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15th - Seed Germination

Today was a busy day. I started germinating my seedlings. It was a lot of work in one day because I made each one of the little cardboard beds by hand.

These babies are out on the balcony and will be hit with morning light. In about three weeks we will see some emerging baby plants. 

Learning more about seeds can help one's success with them. When you look at seeds, you are looking at their coat. The outer layer of the seed protects it from disease and temperature extremes. Inside the seed is an embryo. The seed is full of endosperm, or the nutrient that the seed needs to grow.

Seed germination is a charming process. Watching a dry, wrinkled baby seed emerge and transform is a wondrous thing. Creating plant life is truly one of my great loves in life. When the baby seed is placed in rich airy soil, the water activates an enzyme causing respiration in the plant cells to duplicate. This is why one should never plant seeds in firmly packed soil, we need water and air to reach the seeds. Soon the embryo becomes too large, the seed coat breaks, and the plant emerges, poking its baby head through the thin layer of soil above. The root emerges quickly, anchoring the seed in place and allowing the seed/embryo to absorb  more water and nutrients from the soil.

Sometimes, pre-soaking the seeds before planting will really move things along nicely. I did not do that today, but if I was planting other seeds, I would probably do it.

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Never forget to label seedlings. It is very easy to get them mixed up.

Mixed Lettuce Seeds, notice the coats are different colors.

When I was little my mother told me that plants go into shock when you transplant them, and it is better planting seeds right into the earth. I do not agree with her. Some plants go into a little shock, but that is especially true the older and larger they are. If the babies are under one inch tall, you will be fine. 

We plant them in little containers first to protect the babies from the elements. Ideally, keep them indoors at night.Spray them with water when the soil appears dry. The idea is to give them the best start possible before plucking them out of their homes and into the garden.

I think of myself as a genetic engineer. When I transplant something in the bed, I am choosing what appear to  be the strongest and healthiest plants. Seeds are very inexpensive. My garden is only a 20x20 space, so I do not have a lot of room to work with. I have to be very selective about the plants I choose to go in the garden. 



I planted two varieties of Basil (Genovese and Cinnamon). Planted by the front door I have oregano. I consider my herb garden to be a bit more important because I can dry them and use them for cooking year round. 

Due to its aromatic, piney scent, rosemary is my second favorite herb. It is originally from Asia and the Middle East. Sometimes, they are cut like a Bonsai tree and put into landscapes. Upright Rosemary plants can grow up to five feet tall. There are a few good varieties of rosemary to grow in ones garden. Tuscan Blue, Irene Rosemary Plant, and Arp Rosemary. Rosemary is used with chicken, lamb, savory butters and other meats. It is best picked right in the morning. One of my favorite things to do with rosemary is make a custom culinary oil.  If you prefer making extracts, you can make a rosemary extract with grape seed oil. This involves cooking the mixture in a crock pot, at a low temperature for several hours. Extracts should be used on the skin, or in skin care products. 

There are a few more seeds I would like to buy:

Chocolate Mint
Apple Mint
Banana Mint


I purchased my seeds at Fred Meyer, however, I am purchasing some other seeds from Seattle Seed Company. Seattle Seed Company has a month by month planting guide which I highly recommend. MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY-SEPTEMBER They also have a user friendly website, Facebook page, Twitter and Youtube channel.

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