January 2014 Newsletter

Happy New Year to you.

This is the Armchair Gardening season in the Northern Hemisphere.

Time to plan for the coming season.

Sit in front of the fire, gardening catalogue in one hand, drink in the other and dream...

One of the things most people do is to buy seeds.

There can be hundreds of seeds in one packet - far too many for the average gardener to use in one year.


You can keep seeds year after year.

The best way is to put the packets in a poly box and keep them somewhere cool, but don't worry if you haven't done that - you can still have viable seeds if you have kept them in less than perfect conditions.

The seeds I used in my demonstration were kept in my shed - hot and cold depending on the weather, but normally dark.

The seed packet will give you the year they were packaged and the 'best before' date.

Don't pay too much attention to that date - seeds are often viable (will germinate) long after that time.

I've done a step by step photo tutorial which shows you how I germinated some 6 year old dwarf green bean seeds, which had been kept in poor conditions.

ALL 10 'test seeds' grew into great plants and provided me with beans for many weeks.

Just keep picking the beans and the plant will keep flowering and producing pods until it's too cold - leave the beans on and the plants will think they've done their job (setting seed) stop producing flowers and die.

The problem with using old seed is:

  • you have to test them early so you can buy more seeds if they fail to germinate and because of that
  • you will have to plant them into compost earlier than normal and acclimatise them to outdoors - takes up a bit of space, but it's better than throwing good stuff away 

So - here's the link - click on the photo

As you can see, I had a 100% success rate for germination - from 6 year old seeds!

Do not waste money buying 'new' until you've tried the 'old'.

Seeds can be expensive to buy, so it's well worth keeping them for at least a couple of years.

The reason I test them first, is so that I don't waste weeks waiting for them to emerge and then they don't!

I would say, if you got 5 or 6 out of 10 germinating, then go ahead and plant them for this year, but don't bother saving them for next season - use them up and if you have any plants over, give them away or put them up for sale in your front yard!


Click on 'Growing Herbs for Profit'

That's all for this month - see you in February


Bye for now


Liz

› January 2014

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