Monday, November 2, 2009

Spotty germination and carrot seed sandwiches

"Many catalogues, notably Burpee's, offer these ridiculous devices designed for the gardener too stupid to sow seed by himself - and of course charge extra for them; and to put it plainly, they are a swindle. Anyone who can't scrape a shallow trench with a hoe, then walk down it scattering seed from a packet, had better abandon gardening forthwith. Seed tapes are clumsy affairs that have to be unwound and maneuvered into position, then covered with soil exactly as naked seed is. But they don't germinate any better than seed does - rather worse, the difference being that when sees is sown by hand, the inevitable blank spots can be filled with seeds kept in reserve in the packet. When four out of ten seeds embedded in a tape fail to come up, there is nothing to do about it."

-Eleanor Perenyi Green Thoughts - A Writer in the Garden (1981) p. 207

You know, I've never used seed tape, but I did try a little experiment with paper towels and carrot seeds. See, I'd been having trouble with my carrots. The first 3 sowings resulted in very spotty germination. I now know that this was probably due to the fact that I didn't keep the soil moist enough. But, since I didn't know much about carrots back then, I went looking for a solution. And where do we all go searching for solutions? That's right! The internet. That's when I heard about the "paper towel trick". And I thought this would be my answer. So, I placed the seeds 1" apart between 2 paper towels on a tray and moistened this carrot seed sandwich. Then I waited a few days. The idea was to encourage the seeds to sprout on the paper towels. After seeing what I thought looked like sprout-ation, the little guys got a 1/4" blanket of nice potting soil out in the sunny vegetable bed. Making sure to keep the soil moist this time, I watched carefully as only 1 little carrot seed sprouted. What a let down!

After "The Great Carrot Seed Sandwich Experiment" went bust, I simply planted the seeds without any fanfare, watered them lightly almost everyday, and most of them sprouted. Brilliant.
Any evidence of a successful carrot seed sandwich out there?

7 comments:

Melinda said...

Hi Jackie!
Thanks for commenting on my blog! I haven't had any actual tomatoes from the Amish Paste yet - this is my first go with them. I will let you know! I also have Tommy Toe and Roma tomato plants. The plants ones that are bushy and don't need staking seem stronger in our Australian heat - less prone to wilting.

Daphne said...

Pretty carrots. Annie's Granny (of Annie's Kitchen Garden) uses paper towels or toilet paper for her carrots and lettuce. She doesn't have a top one though. She uses white glue where she wants the seed. I think she also uses a board to cover up her carrot seed so it stays moist until it starts to germinate. Hers seems to work really well. I've never tried it though.

vrtlarica said...

I have never tried this kind of experimenting with carrot seeds... As you wrote it nicely:
Anyone who can't scrape a shallow trench with a hoe, then walk down it scattering seed from a packet, had better abandon gardening forthwith.

and additionaly, I belive that my carrots would get lost among those weeds if they werent sowed so close together in the begining.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I agree with you Jackie, an old-fashioned way works best for me, too.

vrtlarica said...

Jackie, I have tagged you for Honest Scrap Awards. Visit my blog for more info...

Jackie said...

Melinda, I look forward to hearing about what you think about Amish Paste. I love the taste of Sungold and enjoy making tomato sauce. Amish paste is supposed to bring the best of both worlds...

Daphne, thanks for the info. Maybe my carrot seed sandwich should have been "open faced".

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Anonymous said...

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