Gardening Magazine

Confessions of a Seed Addict

By Patientgardener @patientgardener

Confessions of a seed addictIt appears that I have acquired a reputation amongst my blogging and twitter friends of being a seed addict – goodness knows why!

Well if I’m honest I do get particularly excited at the potential that comes with each small packet of seeds.  In this day and age with soaring costs and tightening budgets there aren’t many things you can buy for a couple of pounds with the potential to provide so much enjoyment.

I find that I am constantly learning as I garden and understanding more and more how plants grow and what they need to grow well.  I understand  now that some seeds need cold to break seed dormancy; some need their seed coats broken, maybe by a light sanding; some need to be sown while fresh and some need light to germinate whilst others need darkness. Learning these lessons has improved my propagation skills and I no longer cautiously choose only the seed marked as ‘easy’ to try.

Confessions of a seed addict

And for me that what it’s all about – trying and seeing what happens.  I do like a challenge.  So this year’s challenge is to try some more troublesome seeds such as strelitzia reginae.  These apparently need to be subjected to smoke in order to prompt germination and I have bought some from Fine Bush People in South Africa which comes complete with a smoke primer.  This is a slice of paper which is soaked with various things that simulate the chemical reaction the seed would experience if exposed to fire and smoke in the wild.  I love the seeds they are so cute with their orange fluffy heads.

Whilst I was wandering around Fine Bush’s website I decided to give their Healing Start Pack a go.  This contains seeds for aloe ferox, cotyledon orbiculata, geranium incanum, bulbine frutescens, leonotis leonurus.  What has impressed me so far with the seeds from Fine Bush is the information pack that comes with the seeds.  In the healing pack there is information about how to use each plant for medicinal reasons – something that really interests me.

And how did I end up on Fine Bush’s website.  It was all because I had some seeds for romneya coulteri and my research told me that they benefitted from smoke for germination.  It was surprisingly difficult to find smoke primers and in fact the only ones I found were from South Africa.  I don’t know if these will work for my romneya coulteri as they are from the US and therefore the smoke that would improve their germination rates derives from different plants to those growing in South Africa.  Never the mind we shall see what happens.  I intend to try half the seeds with the smoke primer and half without just to see how important it is.  The other downside of buying seeds from South Africa was that my credit card company thought my card had been stolen and put a freeze on it until I explained my seed addiction to them!

Sadly, despite my enthusiasm I have to wait a while for temperatures to warm up a bit before I start my sowing experiment.


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