by David Hinks
It’s time to check over the trays that have been planted in the last few weeks and tally up the winners and losers and see what we have learned. The first obvious problematic area is a tray that was seeded with parsley four weeks ago – as can be seen in the following photo only one plant has germinated. Admittedly parsley is slow to germinate but most sources estimate the time to germinate as between 10 to 20 days. So the time for patience is over. A check of the packet of seed that I used reveals that the seed is three years old – a table showing viability of various seeds estimates the viability of parsley seed as only two years. So time to rush out to the store and buy some fresh parsley seed.
The celery and celeriac that were planted at the same time have been growing very vigorously but a glance at the next photo shows that far too many of the very fine seeds found their way into each little cell in the tray. The plants in each cell will be thinned so that only the strongest plant remains in each cell. If the plants are lifted gently to keep the roots intact (I use an old steak knife) they can be transplanted into additional cells – they will suffer very little setback and extras can be given to gardening friends or perhaps to some of the Neighbourhood Tomato gardens.
The onions and leeks that were cut back a couple of weeks ago have again grown to a height of about 3 inches tall and are getting floppy so I cut them again with scissors to a height of about an inch and a half and will keep doing that every week or so – I find it results in a much more robust seedling and as a bonus the trimmings can be added to my salad. The following photos show before and after views of the onions and leeks.
Three weeks ago I planted seeds of several perennial flowers and annuals that are slow to start that included Gaillardia, Helenium, Rudbeckia, Ascepias, Browallia, Snapdragons and Cotton. As shown in the following photos all of the pots show growth except one – the cotton. An examination of the packet shows that this was three years old and obviously no longer viable. Disturbingly many of the seedlings in the pot of Browallia have toppled over and died – I attribute this to ‘damping-off’ a viral disease. When I planted these seeds I had used old pots that had not been sterilized – I presume this was the vector for the disease. All I can do now is try to keep the air circulating well and try not to over-water the plants (above all avoid watering from above). When the various perennial seedlings are somewhat larger I will be transplanting them into individual pots.
Rain barrels are being sold in conjunction with the sale of trees by the Chamber of Commerce. We are now accepting pre-sale orders for a Fundraising Truckload Rain Barrel Sale scheduled for SATURDAY, APRIL 26 at the Town of Mississippi Mills Municipal Garage, 3131 Old Perth Road, Almonte, ON from 9am to noon. Rain barrels are being sold for $55 each or two for $110. Rain barrels may also be ordered at the March 18 Tree talk, “Branching out with Ed Lawrence”, at the AlmonteOldTown Hall.
All orders must be placed online in advance at www.RainBarrel.ca/tomato or by calling Deanna at 613-256-7535 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org