Saturday, April 2, 2011

Germination Rate and Garden Experimenting

Iceberg lettuce, I don't know what will happen.


Celery, another view

For me, gardening is always one big experiment. Testing hypotheses. Answering the "perennial" question, "What happens if I..." For example, I know if you put a carrot top in a glass of water it will grow a new top, but don't really expect a new root as well. But how about putting celery in water? The top of the celery is so much more edible! Why don't we do that? And, why not take it a step further, and actually plant that top after a couple days? I did. I'll let you know.

Speaking of carrots, I came across a YouTube video of an Australian bloke growing carrots from seedling sets. Here in Wisconsin, prevailing wisdom is to plant from seed. Also, prevailing wisdom specifically says NOT to prestart indoors. Carrots with their long germination period are particularly perplexing because it is difficult to keep the soil moist during germination. Focus is on methods to keep seed from drying out during germination. This year I am going to attempt plant some as seedlings. I'll let you know how that goes.

I have also pre-started some bibb lettuce this year, to set out as small heads. One, to get a bit of a jump start, and two, to guarantee germination rate. Leaf lettuce does fine for me direct sown. The bibb and head types, not so much.

Some things germinate great. Some things not. Artichokes, are choosing the "not " part. I chipped the seed coat, soaked in warm water, planted and place tray on heat mate. So far one out of 25, and I'm not sure that one is thriving. It is still pretty early in the germination of my artichokes, but I get this gut feeling, this is not going well for my artichoke. I have seen lots of online notes concerning this same thing.

If anyone has had particularly good germination rates with artichokes, I would appreciate their sharing the cultivar name and seed company which produced their seed.

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