Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Planning ahead

Planning is essential in maintaining a constant supply of veggies, as it takes several weeks from seed to harvest. For instance, today I started three different varieties of lettuce, and I expect it to be about ready for harvest around Christmas.

In defiance of the seed starting recommendations in all my gardening books, I have developed a method that works for me. As shown above, I use moist coffee filters to germinate seeds. The filters are moistened with a quarter strength nutrient solution and the seeds are folded into the filters. The filters are placed in a zip lock bag, which I place in any convenient spot on one of my systems. From that point on I let nature take its course and check the filters every 24 hours.

As my objective is to have six plants each of the three different varieties of lettuce, I will start twice that number of seeds. When the seed coat splits, usually within 24 hours, and the radicle begins to develop, I use tweezers to gently place the tiny seedlings into whatever media I intend to use. As vigor is important, I select the first and largest seedlings for growing, and discard the remainder.

Today's batch of seeds includes: Jerico, a type of romaine, Red Lolo Antago, a red Italian leaf lettuce, and Sanguine Ameliore, a french heirloom also known as Strawberry Cabbage. They should make a colorful addition to Christmas dinner.


warren Kirilenko said...

Thanks for the explanation Jack, that really helps. Perhaps you could also blog on your seed storage methods so it will save others the pain I went through in wasting so much seed.

Warren from Calgary

admin said...

My wife told me she buys the small zip lock bags at the local craft store, AC Moore.