Today’s haul of seeds

Very excited by the seed order that arrived today from the organic gardening catalogue: peas (greenshaft), thyme, savoy cabbage (vertus), wild flowers and sunflower seeds. Must not be tempted by any more seeds this year…

peas – my daughter loves peas, so this year I’ll be trying to grow them for the first time.

savoy cabbage – I love savoy cabbage, but between ordering the seeds and receiving them I’ve been forced to admit that my family doesn’t. And now I have 190 seeds that should be sown by 2011. Which, for the stats fans, works out at 63 per year or 1.2 per week. I wonder if they’re suitable as Christmas presents…

thyme – mostly for the garden. The current plants are a few years old and quite woody, so this is to replenish the stock. I’ll be making a small herb bed and including the parsely and coriander seeds that are left over from last year.

wild flowers – who doesn’t like wild flowers? Having just heard that the Save our bees project have had unprecedented demand and are limiting their stock to one packet per person, these will come in handy. The mixture is selected by John Chambers, and I note this RHS webpage with gardening advice on wildflower meadows

sunflowers – cucumerifolius variety that should grow to 90cm. These should work well with the daughter and her friends, who are all 2 – 3 years old and about 90cm tall. I also have a few seeds from my Mum, and these are the 2.5 metre giants that’ll tower above us all. I might just have to grow those at home so they can be seen up and down the street

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Mostly paper folding…

Yesterday, the RBGE practical horticulture course covered propagation by seed. Didn’t seem to warrant a whole day, and we were away by 3:30. Saw demonstrations of how to sow seed in trays, cleaned seed from a lucky dip (bad news is that I go viburnum, but did get some Iris from another student), planted out some peas in the student beds. Best thing learned: how to make a seed envelope. Neither of these seed envelopes is the one I learned.

Which reminds me: Went to the NVA/RBGE spirit show on Friday night and learned to fold a chrysanthemum. Highly recommended — it’s on until the start of March.

Last bit of paper folding: a newspaper planter for seeds that grow tall, like beans.

Seaweed

Can’t recall why I started getting interested in seaweed as a green manure, although it came up in conversation on Monday night. One of my colleagues was talking about taking a cycle ride along the seafront from Edinburgh out to Seaton Sands, which opens up the possibility for doing a run out to collect a trailerful of the stuff.

Seaweeds and their uses, Chapman and Chapman. CEC Central Lending Library, shelfmark QK567. Technical book; reporting and links to research; graphs and tables; relatively old.

Mostly brown algae, wracks and oarweed has been used as manure. Driftweed or cut rockweed. It’s mainly used close to the coast as seaweed is approx. 90 percent water. High potash content (K) so good for plants that require high K: roots and fruit, esp. blackcurrants. Low in phosphate so must add it if seaweed used exclusively for long time.

N Phosphoric acid K Salt
wet weed 11 2 27 35
manure 11 6 15

Advantage of being free from weeds and fungi.

Seasonal variation: research shows higher content of minerals around March; lowest around October.

So … it’s actually seaweed as a brown manure. Quite different from getting well-rotted manure from Gorgie City Farm at £2 per bag. Telephone 0131 337 4202.

Organic Gardening; Plant life of Edinburgh and the Lothians; A Scot’s Herbal; Joy Larkom: all these references seem to indicate that seaweed is full of trace elements and so is useful for poor soil but doesn’t make much difference on good soil.

Blackcurrants/slow gardening

Blackcurrants are going well: 5 pounds and counting, and I was talking with a neighbour today who reckoned that the 3 bushes could provide 40 lbs if managed well. I’ve left it too late this year and there’s a lot of currants that have fallen on the ground, so here’s to next year.

Blackcurrants in July 2007

Still been able to eat blackcurrants fresh in fruit salad and with ice cream. Made a great cordial, some compote and I’ve frozen some currants whole.

Everything you want to know about powered juicers, from Ethical Juicers. and their recommendation is to use a low-speed gear juicer, or a go-juice manual juicer.

Have been removing some of the planks and other furniture bit at a time. Lifted one reclaimed uPVC window frame and stacked it by the entrance, and a couple of minutes later a frog popped out of the void at one end. Another one popped out when I examined the piece. I’m pleased I hadn’t immediately thrown the frames in the big wheelie bin, and I guess this is the same throughout the whole garden. Those frogs were happily hidden in the frame and now they’ll move back up the plot. Next time I clear a metre of allotment, they’ll head a little further back. Now if I had just strimmed the whole lot…