Six on Saturday: Seeds: 02 Jan 2021

Happy New Year to you all! As my featured image, I share a sunset in the forest on New Year’s day. Still no snow, not even a proper frost here, but weak winter sunshine through the trees.

Lots has been said already about hoping for a better year for us humans this year, and being a member of the human race I of course share that hope! But I also harbour another hope, and a recognition that 2020, while awful for many, was a year of recovery for the natural world, a respite from our dangerous incursions into it, and our thoughtless spoiling of our environment. So my hope is that the success of the vaccination programme isn’t accompanied by a return to pumping tons of carbon into our atmosphere. Given the likely origins of Covid-19, it would also be something if we could ban the trade in wildlife and while we’re at it, improve conditions for animals in our factory farms. Here’s hoping…

In the New Year my thoughts turn to all the things that will grow in my garden in the year ahead. If January starts to drag a bit, which inevitably it will, I check my seed packets: a nice pick-me-up, especially in this dry (alcohol-free) month. So the theme this week is seeds.

1 Garden seed harvest. Isn’t wonderful that free seeds abound in our gardens? I have got better at harvesting them. I have never tried growing Asters from seed though, it seems easier to take the little plantlets that form around the parent. I will collect and sow some of the Hollyhock seeds, which itself arrived as a surprise gift seedling in my veg patch in 2019.

2 Panicum Frosted Explosion. Another gift, this one first arrived two summers ago in a crack in the pavement by our front gate. What chance, as this is a superb annual grass, that creates a misty frothiness around whatever it grows around, and is too insubstantial to block out the light. It has now popped up all over the place, and I’m saving some seed to use more deliberately. It could be fun in containers with other annuals, like the frilly pink Cosmos.

3 Aquilegia and other seeds in the ground. I was given a load of Aquilegia seeds in a plant swap last summer, and I just scattered them on the earth and hoped for the best. I think these are them, coming up here along the front path. There’s something else too, the frillier leaves, could be Chamomile. Part of the fun is waiting to see what pops up.

4 New flowering plant seeds. Probably the most exciting of the lot? New plants I haven’t tried before, including two types of Tithonia or Mexican Sunflower, which I probably don’t have the space for but hope to squeeze into the new border (purple/orange themed). Will they be happy? Who knows, it’s a gamble. A surer bet are the Nasturtiums, which I love and grow among veg and in pots, but have never tried the variegated version, Alaska. There’s also a sunflower with an enticing name, Velvet Queen, which I will have to save from the slugs but which will be nice to grow as food for the birds as well as a feast for the eyes.

5 New veg seeds. Ooooh, also exciting! I’ve never grown Cucamelons, or Mouse Melon, which is possibly the cutest name for a vegetable that I’ve ever heard. Another gamble, am going to try these in a large container growing up the south-facing brick wall of our terrace. Handy if we’re out sipping gin and tonics, and fancy a zingy addition to our drinks. Last year I grew a squash up this wall quite successfully, so fingers crossed.

6 Seeds sown in the autumn. Here in the mini-greenhouse, we have nicely labelled pots which in theory have seeds in the them, but no sign of life. The Bomarea edulis is an exotic addition thanks to the generosity of another Six-on-Saturday blogger, know for his unusual plants. Regulars may be able to guess who. The Nigella is from an old seed pack, so I just hope the expiry date can be ignored!

I will have to wait just a little bit longer before I can start sowing in earnest. Meanwhile, there are other important things that need doing, including a bit of hard landscaping and putting in paths where the mud has become intolerable, pruning etc. I wonder what other gardeners have planned – to find out, check out The Propagator’s blog, the host for the excellent Six on Saturday theme. Have a great gardening year everyone!

28 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Seeds: 02 Jan 2021

  1. Looks like a lot is going to happen in your garden this year. Hopefully the plants, which have already appeared above the ground, will survive the frost of the coming months. We wish you lots of success with the seeds and the planned activities.

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    1. Thanks Rudi, I am hopeful that they will all survive, they are tough and most of them can handle the frost (with the exception of some of my Salvias, for those I have to cross my fingers!)

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  2. As you said, the seed heads of aster are eye-catching (mine is a bit flatter and wider, you’re right). You’ll see, cucamelons are funny : I grew 3 plants vertically (2.50m tall) and I made pots like pickles in vinegar. With tomatoes or salad, or as an aperitif it’s fun too. I prefer to pick them young.

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  3. Yes, I do hope your wishes for the world and the human race come true. Meanwhile, my front garden is overrun with Nigella. If your seeds don’t germinate, I could send you a few thousand seedlings, although I don’t think they would survive the long distance journey! Happy New Year and look after yourself.

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  4. I started saving seed myself last year with a bit more organisation than I normally have. NOthing fancy, just things that easily seed but you can get more than 15 seeds like you do in a tomoato packet which means some to give away. Always nice.

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  5. Tithonia is a great plant – the flowers are such a fiery orange colour. The leaves are a bit straggly though so I wouldn’t worry about your lack of space. If you grow them amongst other plants they’ll hide the tithonia leaves!

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  6. I second your wishes for a better kinder future for the environment. It has been so lovely to see more people out of their cars and walking or taking their children for cycle rides. Good luck with all your seed sowing. Who could resist growing a Mouse Melon indeed!

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  7. I tried mouse melon from seed this year, with vigorous growth, but no fruit since it was planted too late in the season. My sources tell me that its roots may survive the winter underground here and resprout in spring, which would bring me great joy. I also love the image of the squash scrabbling up your brick wall.

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    1. Thanks – I will try to sow seed early in that case. Would be great if yours survives to become perennial. I watched a YouTube video of a bloke in Australia who grew it to shade his chicken coop, astonishing how well and fast it grew there in the hot sun. I don’t expect it will be quite the same in Brussels! 🌞

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  8. I like the idea that you check your seeds to counter January doldrums and am impressed that you have them sorted already! I’ve got basic veg, but I’ve not started my flower or unusual choice lists yet. Tithonia is a great plant, cheering up the garden for months and I wouldn’t be without Frosted explosion. So thumbs up! Your scattered seedlings look to contain at least some antirrhinums at the front (left). I had to google Bomarea. It sounds interesting and so I shall be watching your blog for updates!

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    1. I’ll be checking those seed packets regularly throughout this month I reckon 😉 – I don’t like January much. There are antirrhinums around but I don’t remember sowing them, we shall see!

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  9. Happy New Year to you! I too share the sentiments you expressed about the environment. I have never been fond of growing plants from seed; cuttings yes, but not seed! Until last year, when I had good germination rates. As soon as the days start cooling I will start sowing seeds for some colourful annuals in spring, rather than buy seedlings as I usually do. Good luck with the cucamelons. They are a fun plant to grow.

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