Germination Test Results, New Fence & Trees

Germinated Seeds

Germinated seeds after 1 week. Onion White Lisbon, Carrot Maestro and Radish French Breakfast – all 5 years past their official sow-by date

Germination Testing Results

I ran a germination test on some past date seeds last week and today checked the results. None of the French peas and beans that were in cardboard boxes that have got damp were any good.

In hindsight (that exact science!) I wish I’d had the sense to put them in a tin to keep them dry. Anyway, that’s a tenner down the drain. Next time we get over the water (assuming the French let us in)

Seed Germination Tip

I heard a really good tip from James Wong on the radio. Some seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate. Parsnips and parsley being good examples. His tip is to soak the seeds for an hour or two in a solution made by adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a soluble aspirin to one litre of lukewarm water to increase germination rates and reduce problems with damping off of the seedlings.

Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal and aspirin is chemically similar to a growth hormone found in many plants.

Neither of the parsnips have germinated, which is a bit disappointing but not unexpected. I might just retry them after soaking in James Wong’s magic mix. Or perhaps I should admit defeat and spend a quid!

Now the good news – everything else has shown good germination rates, even the seeds that had a sow by date of 2011. Amazing.

New Fence for More Trees

Tractor

Tractor with attached ‘thumper’ makes short work of putting in the fence posts. Not mine.. sadly!

Down from the house where the front field meets the road, I wanted to plant a row of Rowan trees. These are attractive and after a few years provide berries that are welcomed by the birds.

Now if I just planted the trees come the spring when the sheep are back on the land, they’d get eaten. Sheep eat grass.. unless they can find anything else like some juicy saplings. So to keep the sheep and have the trees, we’ve run a fence a metre in from the wall and planted the trees in the corridor.

Financially it makes no sense. The land is worth at best rental a couple of hundred a year and the fence, which only runs along a small part, cost £500. No wonder farmers need subsidies and grants if the countryside is to be maintained. Fences are cheap in comparison to dry stone walls – although a good fence will last 15 to 20 years and a well-built dry-stone wall lasts a 100 years with minimal maintenance.

The lads who put the fence up managed in a day – but they did have the equipment like wire strainers and their dad’s tractor with a thumper to put in the posts. They actually finished by car headlights – before heading off to more work with the cows at home!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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