I now have five kale and five romaine plants still living, waiting for the magic date of March 1 to go into the cold frame during the day. They have started to look like kale and romaine. I’ve transplanted them again into 3 inch pots and once they settled into their new homes, fed them some fish emulsion. They look happy.
But the broccoli and bunching onions – not so much. I’ve had two sets of each do exactly nothing. Since I followed the seed starting recipe to the letter, I was disappointed. Of course, I’m only working with about half the alphabet…
“Did you put the broccoli under a light?” asked my new friend and seed-starting expert, Patti. Uh, yes I did. Come to find out, broccoli goes under the light only after germination. Another letter to add to the alphabet!
“Did you test for viability?” asked my long-time friend and mentor, Lenora Larson. Uh no. And then a light bulb went off over my head.
Back in February at the county extension office gardening class, the instructor spent what I thought was an inordinate amount of time talking about wrapping a few seeds up in paper towel and baggies. She even passed around samples of what happens when you leave the seeds for a couple of days and then come back. At the time, I had no idea what she was doing. New gardener here!
But now having thrown away at least $7.50 worth of perfectly good – to my mind – seeds, I understood. Test for viability, or in other words, are those seeds alive? Since I didn’t trust my memory, I went looking online for the process.
Everyone in the world must use this process to test for seed viability. Take some wet but-not-dripping paper towel, throw a few seeds on it but don’t let them touch each other, put another wet paper towel on top, roll, and put the rolls in marked baggies.
Put the baggies in a warm place for a couple of days and voila! The seeds will germinate or not, and you will know about the viability of the contents of that seed packet. And so I did.
Now, two days later, I have my answer for broccoli. They’re alive!
Bunching onions? The best I can say is that the seeds swelled up, so I returned them to the baggie and will wait another day.
To be continued …