(Seed sowing) How I do it

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I’ve had people ask me how I germinate seeds so easily, or how I sow seeds, and thought that this short post might help a little bit.

I’ve found that seeds germinate a lot better when they receive enough light and humidity. Instead of following instructions on seed packets to press the seeds into this-and-this depth into the soil, and then cover them lightly, I simply press the seeds into the surface of the soil enough so that a small depression is caused which helps to retain a little more moisture and keep the seeds moist, water the soil thoroughly one time, and then place the pots in a clear, enclosed container. I place the container where it can get direct sun as much as possible, or bright light as an alternative.

Sometimes, I get too lazy to sow the seeds into individual thumbpots and just place a layer of soil into the clear container itself, and then surface sow the seeds before I cover the container up. But this method does get messy after a while, since the soil tends to compact and sometimes you get other weird stuff or algae or moss growing on the soil.

I’d usually either leave a small opening for minimal ventilation to minimize the risk of the seeds having fungus grown on them, or I open the cover totally for a few minutes everyday. However, one will have to take note to occasionally replenish the evaporated water, so as to keep the conditions moist, still.

To date, this method is my most successful one at germinating seeds. Of course, I do occasionally place the seeds on an aromatherapy burner to heat them up, or soak them for two to three days, but those are for the supposedly or notoriously harder and more reluctant to sprout seeds. For all others, the container method works very well.

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(Misc.) Miscellaneous post

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1 I should really rename myself “The Impatient Gardener,” seeing as how I’m extremely impatient in waiting for my plants to do anything. Heh;

2 Dug up two more raspberry suckers. One has roots; the other doesn’t. I’ve placed both in fruiting hydroponics solution and see if it helps them acclimatize or grow (more) roots:

(Harvesting) Raspberry heritage

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Second bunch of fruits. Second harvest. =D So fun to pluck and pop into my mouth. =D Slightly sour, but not tart. Almost just the way I like my berries to be. =3

"Before"

"After" - Hm...I'm trying to spot the white pits left after I'd pulled the berries off. 😛

(Seed sowing) Marigolds

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I used to think there was only one type of marigold: marigold! But it was only recently that I found out that there is the “official” marigold (calendula officinalis) which people have been consuming as a herb for years, and the French marigold (targetes spp.), which, although loosely considered a herb, isn’t consumed as readily.

Calendula officinalis seeds

For years, I thought that the seeds other gardeners sent to me were the calendula species. Only now, when I received seeds from official sources, did I realize that the seeds look vastly different.

The calendula seeds look like serrated melon husks, being thicker and seemingly harder or taking longer to germinate. The approximate time given are between five to twenty days.

The targetes marigold seeds are streamlined, with a black body looking almost like a poison-tipped arrow, and brown-gold feathered shafts. As long as the seeds are relatively fresh, they germinate within about two days.

Targetes seeds

I’ve sowed the calendula officinalis / nana seeds yesterday and today, and am misting them every day, encouraging them to sprout; the targetes seeds have since given me three seedlings which are growing their sets of true leaves, ever since I sowed them some time late last week.

I’ll just have to cross my fingers and hope that the calendula seeds sprout soon. I intend to use the leaves to make into infusions or eat as salad leaves semi-periodically. When or if I do finally decide to try my hands at growing flowers, though, the targetes of various colors and variegation will definitely be one of the first on my list.

(Propagation) Propagation attempt of allspice

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I just acquired some allspice cuttings, courtesy of a friend. His mature plant had almost half of its top bent to the ground by either heavy rains or strong winds, and he went to snip those parts off.

The allspice is notoriously hard to propagate through vegetative means, so this is more of an (hopeful) experiment since we don’t want to waste the cuttings either.

The cuttings were mature and long enough for me to play around with them, so I more or less have sets of softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings.

I made sure to either scrape the soft outer layer of bark off the softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings, and to totally tear off about an inch of the outer layer of bark from the hardwood parts, since wounding plants seem to encourage a release of rooting hormones in the cuttings. Two branch-offs had heels too, so that might help as well.

I planted them in various media in a few pots: mature Greenback compost + volcanic sand; mature GB compost + Aquaclay leca; pure Aquaclay; pure worm cast. All the pots have been bagged up and misted to keep the humidity high.

Now…to see when/if these cuttings will root. I’m hopeful.

Note: These cuttings come from an allspice plant with rounded leaves. Some research points to the possibility that it is pimenta dioica/officinalis var. ovalifolia, so I shall refer to it as such until I’m corrected otherwise.

(Gardening happys) Hoya multiflora, nepenthes

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My Hoya multiflora has FINALLY bloomed after having had many flowers abort. This is so exciting!

Not the greatest picture, but it shows the size of my newly-acquired Nepenthes ampullaria-spotted x albomarginata

(Growing conditions) Sphagnum moss

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In my N. ampullaria 'bronze nabire' pot

I used to have A LOT of trouble growing sphagnum moss. Of course, I used to grow them over a layer of peat moss in covered-up clear plastic containers left in a few hours of direct morning sun.

Over time, the moss did grow. However, its condition varied greatly even within the container itself. The bottom, nearest to the layer of peat, became pale or brown, as if dying or drying out (even though the container’s environment was moist and humid); going upwards, the tips became messy and tangled with one another. However, they were a healthy green.

When the moss continued growing and pressed themselves all over the bottom of the container’s lid, I knew I had to do something or else I’ll probably lose the whole container of moss if insufficient light got to all portions of them.

A pot of nepenthes ampullaria ‘speckled’ I’d bought from someone came with a beautiful carpet of green, healthy moss. Inspired, I decided to heck it, and went to snip off all the healthy tips of the moss in my containers, and dumped them into all my other carnivorous plants’ pots. I exposed them to as much direct afternoon sun as I could after they had more or less acclimatized, and watered and misted them daily during that period of acclimatization.

Slowly forming the star shapes so typical of its species

Now, they are looking and growing rather well. Of course, they are not at their optimal health and growth yet – it will take more care and some more time for them to get to that stage. Nevertheless, they are doing a lot better than before, and I have a hope that they will become a lush carpet in all my CPs’ pots.

Edited to add: A person who grows nepenthes also tells me that it’s good to flood the pot the sphagnum moss is in everyday, as well as give it as much sun as it can tolerate without burning (maybe about four hours of sunlight)? He says he’s harvesting the moss every week or so.

This is the lush sphagnum moss which came with the N. ampullaria I'd bought. I hope that my own mosses will grow to become like this one

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