Monday, 20 February 2012

The first seed run of the year

There is very little to do in my garden over winter.  The pots are all moved into their winter positions, and plants in the ground go dormant. Generally it is just about clearing up leaves and having the fleece at the ready for mention of snow. On days like yesterday which was lovely and sunny the shed gets warm enough to spend hours in (22 degrees C yesterday). This gives me the opportunity to check on the pots; do they need any water, what is flowering, and most importantly are any of the seed pods ripe. The only real gardening I do at this time of year is powering up the propagator and starting my seeds off.

I have mentioned a before that growing plants from seeds is the way I torture myself (my last attempts can be found here).  I can't resist doing it, but I am not very good and it drives me mad.  I guess that is the thing about obsessions, some parts you have control over and others control you! Growing seeds at this time of year is all about timing; you want to start them off so that when spring starts they are small plants ready to be put somewhere to get the most of a full summers growth. Start them off too early and they can get leggy under lights, start them off too late and you waste some of summer.

Aloe midnight child x donnie seeds
It is not always possible to judge correctly, especially if you have never grown from seed before and some varieties may not confirm to the average growth rates. For me the easiest to judge are the aloes and echeverias.  I have grown many of these from seeds and know that with 2 months most varieties will be ready for more light. This year I have my aloe hybrid seeds I was producing at the end of summer.  I have seed pods on both plants; the aloe midnight child  and aloe donnie so I can see what variation I get between them.  These were the first into the propagator.  I also had some manfreda maculata seeds that I am trying again (for the third time) and some agave potatorum.  These should all be small plants come spring ready to go into the shed where they get a lot more light.

Now it is just a matter of sitting back and waiting to see what grows! Will this be the time I manage to keep more than 5 plants alive in each group!

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