Germination, Microgreens & Broad Beans

Old Seeds Germinate!

Tuesday I had to catch up with the dreaded work. Needs must when the bank manager drives.. Still, managed a little time out in the potting shed. I’d turned up some seeds that had a sow by date of 2011 and decided to see if they’d grow along with some half packets that had been hanging around for a couple of years.

Microgreen Mixed Salad Leaves

Microgreen Mixed Salad Leaves – Flavourful and Nutritious.

I wanted some photos to accompany an article on how to grow microgreens so decided to kill two birds with one stone and use up the old seeds. I’d a couple of packs of cabbage, a pack of calabrese, a pack of beetroot, some half packs of mixed salad leaves and I’ve a lot of green manure mustard seed.

Amazingly everything did really well except for the beetroot. Those seeds were just in a paper packet but the others – except the mustard which were in plastic – were in foil packets. The half packs had been tightly folded to seal them. As far as I’m concerned this proves the benefit of sealed packets, impervious to damp.

If I’m honest I’m not that keen on microgreens, no matter how popular they are with chefs. Still the mixed salad leaves are quite nice and adding the green manure mustard to them certainly gives a green salad a zing.

The brassica microgreens I’d as soon pass on, but the chickens love them. Just pop the whole tray in the run and few minutes later they’ve vanished. Oh yes, we feed our hens on microgreens to accompany their snails!

Broad Beans

Normally broad beans can be sown directly but I wanted to get my first sowing going quickly and start them in pots. At this time of year the soil is still cold which delays germination but in pots I could use a heated propagator to achieve the optimum temperature for germinating broad beans of between 8 and 15ºC I set the temperature for 12ºC

Also, before sowing, I soaked the beans in water at room temperature for a couple of hours which helps kick start the germination process.

Because I’m tight for propagator space at this time of year I stacked the pots 3 high in the Vitopod until I could gain a bit of space. Anyway, decided to rearrange things. There was no sign of seedlings emerging on the top layer or on the second layer but some seedlings had already emerged on the bottom layer.

Sowing to Seedling in 3 days!

Broad Bean Seedlings

Broad Bean Seedlings 3 Days After Sowing

That’s sowing to seedling in 3 days! Normally, I’d expect 14 days outside and maybe a week under cover at optimum but it seems that soaking combined with heat really pushes things on.

As soon as the majority are showing I’ll turn down the temperature to 5ºC and then off. It’s a bit weird this year, as the month goes on the temperatures outside are going down rather than up. Then again, I really should know better than to expect the weather to do as it should by now.

Setting the Chickens to Work

Wednesday was lovely. Cold but sunny spells and no wind to speak of. I fixed a catch onto the wooden gate at the far end of the veg garden and then set the chickens to work in there – bug clearing and so forth.

Whilst they were toiling in the veg garden I was in the polytunnel carrying on tidying and weeding preparatory to widening the central bed from its current 47 ins. to 64 ins. I’ve decided I don’t need the paths as wide as I’ve made them and growing space is at a premium under cover.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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