Thursday, 24 March 2016

the joy of seedlings

At first I kept telling myself; I don't have time, I'll sort them at the weekend. But there is a point in time when the seedlings are not going to wait, and so it is that I find myself on Monday-Friday-Wednesday fitting in a frantic half hour of potting on between coffee and the walk to work.

seedling city

Look at their little faces, though; they need it and they're so grateful when they have a little pot of their own. The old Jiffy 7 propagator bequeathed to me by my mother when she downsized from a Scottish forestry house to a first floor flat is still, improbably, bringing on the germination, even though I often forget the water and end up desiccating things; at some point, all the water comes up out of the soil and sits on the inside of the cover, as above, and that's the start of the countdown to dry roots and wet leaves and damping off.

seedling city seedling city

Really small seedlings are such a colossal pain to pot on that I often don't bother (see two wasted cells of Lobelia for further details) but this year I have some treasured fancy Snapdragons. They've had their interim pot-on into vegetable trays. For the ones in a Portobello Mushroom box, I had an old comic bag over them to keep them warm and wet. But in the interior dim, the seedlings are lunging for the lid, so I found these little tropic traces (left) in the moisture on the underside of the lid. I found it a tomato box which gives the seedlings a little more vheight, but it keeps dropping onto the seedlings. I've had very good germination this year from most things (left: yellow tomato seeds harvested from a fruit that went rotten on the vine last year) which I think is down to even heat. Leave the Jiffy running; it doesn't use much electricity - just a trickle.

seedling city seedling city

There's a lot of variation in homegrown seedlings, and even more so when the seeds are also home harvest. It's out of focus, but there's a pretty mutant at the front there, with three seed leaves. Tricotyledon, no less. I wonder if it will do better than its more conventional seedmates in the interior gloom? This is a (slightly mysterious) tomato that performed particularly well in low light, and had well developed, large "potato" type leaves. Will that characteristic imrpove in this year's generation? I'm excited to see.

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