More seeds

In my last post about the joys of seed propagation I tried a new approach.  I chilled a complete sowing tray in the fridge.  Limited space has forced my hand to try something different this time.  The Actaea simplex (think Astilbe on acid) and Verbena bonariensis being willing participants.

The former came from the RHS Seed List and the latter from flower-heads in the garden.  Having waited for the flowers to fade completely and the stems to brown (January) I waited for a dry couple of days so that the material had lost all moisture.  I cut the top few inches off some of the plants and shook them over a container whilst rubbing gently against the palm of my hand.  

The Verbena seeds are tiny in size, brown on one side and whitish on the other, theres a couple of them below amongst the seed-heads.  I suppose they are shaped like tiny cocktail sausages.  You get lots of other materials with them when you shake the flower-heads.  I'm afraid life is too short to be separating the seeds from the chaff so the whole lot has been prepared for sowing at a later date.

The first step was to moisten some seed compost and place in a bag with the seeds.  Luckily, freezer food bags have a space for the date and contents to be written.  This is very useful for this purpose.  With this first attempt I may have put too much soil in the bag with the Verbena seeds, time will tell I guess.

Theres something quite special about sowing seeds that you've collected yourself.  

I have repeated the process for the Actaea simplex seeds albeit reducing the amount of moistened soil placed in the bag as the picture below shows.

I'm going to leave them in the fridge in the unused dairy drawer until the end of February.  These will be transferred into covered seed sowing trays as normal practice.

I have also purchased some narrow windowsill sowing kits for the first time.  I usually use the A4 or A5 size and fill the potting shed and spare bedroom surfaces with them.  To enable the maximisation of space I wanted to use  the windowsill space too.  These windows are ideally placed as they face South West.  Essentially they get sunshine from 11am right through until sunset.

I am sowing the other half of the Helenium seeds and Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora in these narrow sowing kits.  The first half went into the compost in Autumn and are germinating nicely.

I have found these slimline sowing sets much easier to handle than the traditional A4 size.  Anything that makes life less stressful is good in my book.  They don't bend under their own weight once they have been filled and their shape forces you to hold them with two hands, one at each end.  It is much easier to fill with seed compost too as the soil containers come in two pieces.  I hope that they are robust enough to be recycled for years to come as they are formed from the dreaded black plastic that just a small percentage of Local Authorities have the technology to recycle in the UK.

And there we have them overlooking their eventual home - if they germinate that is. 


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