Monday, 25 July 2011

Early Spring Seeds

I like to get an early start on spring seeds. After researching the Optimal Germinating Temperatures of Seeds I decided to use a heated propagation frame as the soil in my area is still extremely cold. This unit has been set up in an old, storage caravan which has enough natural light for seed germination.

This will allow the planting out of advanced seedlings during October. These seedlings when correctly "hardened off" tend to be able to withstand pest attack more readily.
Your climate may suit direct sowing of seeds into the soil at warm times of the year. This way works for me. As soon as they are big enough I shall pot them on and tuck them up in the hot house.
Last year our last frost date was Nov 1.

Other ways of providing warmth are:
Building and Using Hotbeds and Coldframes see here
Keep Your Plants All Winter with a Cold Frame see here
Seed Starter Box see here on a sunny window sill inside
How to build a manure heated hot frame see here
Build A Real Simple Hot Frame see here
Or you could start seeds on top of a warm heat source like a hot water storage unit or even on top of your fridge, just be very careful how you water the seedlings!!

A description of the varieties I have chosen for this year:

TOMATO Lycopersicon esculentum

**STOR GUL The Lost Seed
  • golden fruit
  • medium sized fruit
  • smooth skin
  • to 10cm across
  • vigorous to 2.1m in height
  • 78-85 days
**PINEAPPLE The Lost Seed
  • yellow fruit
  • large, beefsteak fruit over 500g
  • sturdy vines with good leaf coverage
  • smooth, mild flavour with low acid
  • High yields
  • 85-90 days
**MONEY MAKER The Lost Seed
  • scarlet red fruit
  • round, smooth fruits
  • thin skin & solid flesh to 115g
  • vigorous, open bush.
  • high yields
  • sets well in all types of weather
  • Old English heirloom dating back prior to the 1920's
  • 75-80 days
**BIG RAINBOW Diggers
  • flesh changing from green to yellow, red and pink
  • 18kg per plant
  • transplant >20 C soil temperature
  • 118 days
GROSSE LISSE Eden seeds
  • red colour
  • globe-shaped smooth fruit
  • produces abundantly over a long time
  • best staked
  • success in all states
  • 80-105 days
BLACK RUSSIAN The Lost Seed
  • Russian heirloom
  • reddish-black fruit
  • medium sized fruit 4-6cm across
  • smooth skin and dark flesh
  • beefstake type
  • 69-100 days
KOTLAS The Lost Seed
  • Soviet Union heirloom
  • red fruit
  • small round fruit
  • sparsely foliaged bush
  • best croppers last year!
  • 59 days
**IDA GOLD Home saved originally from seed savers network
  • golden sweet fruit
  • small fruit on dwarf plant
  • ideal for edging or containers

**COSSACK PINEAPPLE Physalis pruinosa Phoenix Seeds
  • 50 cm ground covering plant
  • native to Eastern North America
  • 1.5cm golden sweet edible fruits
  • space plants 30cm apart
  • seeds need light to germinate
  • preferred soil temperature of 27C
  • closely related to Cape Gooseberries also known as Ground Cherry

EGGPLANT Solanum melongena

CASPER Eden seeds
  • white heirloom eggplant
  • quick to produce
  • fruits approx 5cm x 15cm.
  • 90 days
LONG PURPLE Diggers
  • deep purple fruit
  • yield 3.5kg per plant
  • sow 18C

CAPSICUM Capsicum annuum

**CALIFORNIA WONDER New Gippsland Seeds
  • bell type
  • red and green fruit
**HUNGARIAN YELLOW WAX Eden seeds
  • light yellow fruit changing to orange red
  • thin tapered cylindrical fruit to 13cm
  • sweet (mild heat)

BEAN Runner Phaseolus coccineus A few of these seeds have been planted.

**SUNSET RUNNER Diggers
  • salmon-pink flowers
  • lives up to 7 yrs
**SCARLET EMPEROR The Lost Seed
  • perennial
  • also known as 'Seven Year Bean'
  • scarlet coloured flowers
  • first introduced in 1600's
  • 70-90 days

Most of this information comes from the seed packets! For links to the Seed Suppliers go here
** varieties grown for my garden, leftovers and the rest are grown for sharing with friends and the Community Garden Plotters (I may keep one of the Eggplants but we really don't eat many of these.)

More info on starting from seeds:
Growing From Seed
The Horticultural Channel It's an English site so don't go by their planting dates but contains useful information (on video) for beginners.
Emma Cooper (also in UK) has a series of useful seed raising tips using peat free mixes on her Blog Here

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