Spring Seeding

Spring has now officially sprung and the new moon is waxing so it is the perfect time to plant the seeds of flowers and of all the leafy greens. Next week it will be time to plant the fruiting vegetables - tomatoes, capsicum and peas for September. Yesterday afternoon I spent a half hour filling twenty five seedling punnets with a mixture of potting mix, worm castings and seed raising mix. This morning I planted hundreds of seeds, just scattering them on top of the soil, adding a thin layer of seed raising mix over the top and watering them in with a seaweed-based liquid fertiliser. In a couple of weeks when they have germinated I will transplant them into trays with individual cells for each seedling to grow in, and will take them to my friend Tanya's greenhouse for a few weeks. Popping them in punnets now means I can fit them on my dining room table in the warmth until they germinate.

I did a big seed clear out, so some of these punnets are experimental. The dill seeds, for instance, are from 2003. Last year Paul gave me a bucket of seeds he had been storing for over a decade in his garden shed, which is not ideal as far as seed storage goes, but it's always worth the experiment.. we'll see what comes up. All the vegetable seeds were from Paul, left over from last year, or saved from the garden. I did have a tiny splurge and bought 12 packets of flower seeds from a Victorian seed company. They were extremely cheap, at an average of a dollar a packet, so I will report back on the germination rate and write a little review for my Australian readers, because if they germinate well it will be very good value indeed. I am hoping for fields of flowers this summer!

I have seized today as the perfect window for covering the kitchen table with seeds (as you can see, I have housed the punnets in my casserole dishes and cheese platters. Using what we have) as we had a little Father's Day afternoon tea for my dad here on Sunday, and Posy moved the dozen or so plants that usually live on the dining room table to make room for all the food. So there was a bare table with no plants on it. Tables without plants look so sad and bare! So I quickly installed twenty five seedling punnets before Posy had time to move her succulent collection back.

Posy's rehoused succulent collection. All of them have names..

Paul came to the party as well, with a trailer-load of wood for me, and then it started to rain, so we had to abandon our cups of tea and fruitcake in order to run up to the street and bring the wood in. My dad was very sporting about this interruption to the festivities, and entered into the unloading with enthusiasm. We throw the split logs over the fence where they theoretically land in front of the woodshed door, and theoretically don't break all my plant pots. Dad heaved logs over with great abandon, and only slightly dented the tin tub full of aspidistras. Luckily aspidistras can survive almost anything.

So, gardening on the dining room table is my fun project to celebrate spring. Tell me what you are doing to mark the change of the season..


sustainablemum said…
Living in the northern hemisphere we are moving into Autumn/Fall. I am not quite ready for the season to start just yet, although the weather here has decided it is most definitely autumn the coats and boots are back out of the cupboard. I am preparing for a time of hibernation for both us and the garden, thinking about more projects and things to do that are based indoors. I do love the Autumn it is my favourite season of them all.
Jo said…
Sustainable Mum, I love autumn too, and one of the joys of reading blogs is that I get to experience it twice a year! I have been through my period of hibernation and am now just emerging from it. I have so many projects I want to get going on!
Anonymous said…
Hi Jo. Good luck with all those seeds! I never seem to get my timing right when I sow seeds, so that, as an example,

I have little spindly seedlings coming along while the Council gardens are on fire with great bursts of colour from enormous calendula plants. I can do sunflowers, and last year I had great success with hollyhocks, the seeds of which I had collected during a South Island holiday.But my 700 poppy seedlings are still tiny, thread-like things, and I think I should have just sowed them straight into the garden. I should know these things by now!

A load of firewood is such a great gift, and it provided an excellent family workout for you all!
Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Linda, if the calendulas are flowering now, they would have been planted back in autumn, but don't worry, yours will come along! Spring is the other good time to plant them.
In my experience (of causing much plant death) I have discovered that once plants are germinated, they don't do well indoors as seedlings. Hence why I am going to send mine to boarding school at my friend's greenhouse. Calendula and poppies are very cold hardy though, so I would counsel planting them out asap. I suspect that once they get proper sunshine and their roots can spread out, that they will grow happily. The advantage too, of plants that think they are dying, is that they will hurry to reproduce, which of course means early flowering. You don't want this with cabbage, but for poppies it is perfect!
Now, hollyhocks I have never tried - how marvellous to grow them from seed. Did they grow true to their parent plant?
Enjoy your NZ spring:)
Anonymous said…
Yes, the hollyhocks were true to the original colours. I collected reds, a white and one pale pink, from the gardens of the old pub at Chatto Creek, where we stopped for a very long lunch break on the Otago Rail Trail cycle journey. Great memories to preserve in plants!

Linda in NZ
Treaders said…
I LOVE spring. My absolute favourite season. And all that excitement of planting the seeds (which I always plant too early and totally screw up). So as we're heading into autumn here time to read up and learn what not to do next year. Lucky you!
Jo said…
Linda, I love the combination of pink, white and red in the garden. They sound lovely. Nothing says cottage garden like a hollyhock. I had a double pink one when I moved in here, but didn't collect the seeds and now it's gone:( Maybe next year I'll add them to my list of hopefuls..

Anna, I love any change of season. I think I'm fickle! Autumn is my favourite, but spring is also a joy. I am hoping very much that my giant seed collection will see its way through those tricky baby stages to the fields of flowers I can see so clearly in my imagination! Six of the twenty five punnets have sprouted already, and I'm holding my breath and crossing my fingers for the others!
Enjoy your autumn of DIY, sorting and reading:)
Anonymous said…
I’ve been nurturing my sweet peas. But now I’ve abandoned them for travel. Next year I will grow some edible plants. Lucinda

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