(Seed sowing) Yum yum

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I’m not gonna reveal the name of this plant which the seeds came from yet…not until the seeds sprout for real, and the plants stabilize.

But, I am VERY excited about this. *crosses fingers* I sure hope they sprout and grow well!


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(Seed sowing) Three Susans with slightly different names

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I decided to try growing black-eyed susans again, since I wanted to ‘prettify’ my garden with flowers, yet have the flowers belong to plants which can be used (that is, consumed as a herb or vegetable or something).

Since I have about four types of rudbeckias and I’ve successfully grown the rudbeckia hirta ‘rustic colors’, I thought that it was time to challenge myself with the rest.

Sown were five to six seeds of the toto, moreno, and ‘toto rustic’ strains in each pot. The first two were bought from Far East Flora along Thomson Road; the last was given to me kindly by The Curious Gardener (thank you, CG!).

Now, let’s see which ones sprout the quickest, or if they even sprout at all.

(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.

(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.