November 2, 2012
This year I soaked my snow pea seeds. Last year I nicked the seeds. Soaking is definitely easier. See last year’s post on planting peas and sweet peas.
Read more about soil inoculants here.
Botanical Interests is one of my favorite seed companies. The inside of the seed packet has lots of extra information. Reading the packet this year I learned that “Chard seed is actually a dried fruit with 1-5 seeds in each fruit; therefore thinning is very important when the seedling is very small. To hasten germination, seeds can be soaked in water for 12-24 hours before sowing.” So I soaked my seed and I’ll be snipping the unwanted seedlings.
I cover my carrot seed with a small amount of soil and press down to firm the seed. Then I add a thin layer of clean builder’s sand. The sand prevents a crust from forming on the soil surface which makes it more difficult for the carrots to emerge. A strip of old row cover goes over the sand so it isn’t disturbed with watering. Germination can take 14 to 21 days.
The nursery trays cover the lettuce, spinach and arugula seeds for several reasons. In warm weather (or Santa Ana conditions) the trays provide dappled shade for the seedlings. They also prevent the birds from eating them, usually a problem with summer lettuce. The mesclun bed has row cover over it.
The nursery trays also break the impact of the water which can lessen the formation of a crust on the soil surface.
A chicken wire dome covers the mesclun bed now to discourage the birds.
Here’s another technique I used this year for seeds planted in rows. I formed a small trench in the soil using an old broom handle. Seeds go in next then some very finely sifted compost. The broom handle firms the soil and seed also leaving a slight trench depression to gather the water.
Here’s the lettuce and greens bed. Next week I’ll post a picture of the bed which is now covered in a haze of green. New beginnings in the winter garden.