Sowing Seeds - Germination
As mentioned earlier, keeping the sown seeds covered, helps to slow them from drying out and maintains the temperature better. As you can see here, we have kept all our trays and punnets covered, sitting on a heat bed.
Only four days later, the cucumber seedlings have already emerged and there appears to be swelling under the soil in the bean punnets and possibly even the tomatoes and capsicums.
It's now 7 days since we planted the Lebanese cucumber seeds. They are well on the way, with only one loss due to a slug that was hiding under the rim of a neighbouring tray. At this stage, they still haven't produced their first true leaf. We'll look the the difference late when the first appears. They no longer need to be kept covered, but but still need somewhere warm, so wll remain on the heat tray.
Here's an example of growing seeds from two different perspectives. Firstly, rather than in punnets, these seeds have been sown in a "broadcast" fashion in a punnet tray, lined with damp newspaper.
At the time, our access to different chilli seeds was a bit limited, so we resorted to another option. We bought a fresh, red Birds Eye chilli from a traditional green grocer, removed the seeds, allowed them to dry for several weeks and then planted them out here.
A week later, success, quite a few seedlings that we will then save seed from when they mature and crop.
It's now 3 weeks since our first seed sowing in the greenhouse. As you can see here, the climbing bean seeds are marching along and really are getting a bit too "leggy" to remain as they are. We've had an unseasonal snap of colder weather, so it's too risky to transplant them outside yet. For now they'll have to be potted up until the weather turns for the better.
The lebanese cucumbers and a range of other seeds planted at the same time are progressing nicely too. Now is the time to be on the watch out for fungus gnats. I tried to get a picture of these to show you, but they are so small it's nearly impossible to see them on the soil. The big problem here, is not the actual Gnat flying around, but the larvae that hatches from the eggs they lay in the moist soil. The larvae will kill the young seedlings. Try using yellow sticky traps and or a spray. The spray's aren't ideal, but I've found pyrethrum to be effective and relatively safe as it is produced from a natural source.
This just shows that we all have failures! The germination rate of a number of heirloom varieties from a well known supplier has proven to be very disappointing. Here, only 4 out of 24 seeds sown have germinated. Similar results have been seen in other varities. For example, tomato seeds. We tried a comparison of some heirloom varieties and some imported traditional Italian varieties. The Italian imported ones just about "bounded" out of the soil. They have the same requirements and were planted and kept in the same conditions at the same time. So for now I'll reserve judgement. We have planted out what was to be our second succession planting of corn in the neighboring 24 cells and already can see signs of movement