Premature Germination

I wrote last week about making a seed table, and I must admit that the post did deem to imply that I was starting tomatoes in my seed table as of this past weekend, which horrified several of my gardening friends.  Now, I am new to the gardening game, but even I know that it is still early for tomatoes, and I plan to plant red peppers in two weeks or so and then tomatoes one or two weeks after that.  Though it was the tomatoes that made the table necessary, the seeds that I put in the dirt this past weekend were of a very different sort.  They were the tree seeds that I had been stratifying in the refrigerator this winter, and they were technically no longer even seeds.

This was the reason, actually, for my hurry in making the table in the first place.  I had not expected to need the tables for a week or two yet, but I went last week to check the moisture levels of my stratifying seeds and discovered that they had all germinated, every one of them.  I no longer had little bags of dirt and hibernating seeds.  I had little bags of dirt and tangled masses of germinated seedlings, all pale and straggly and searching for light.  So, my first task was to build the table a little ahead of schedule, and my second task, accomplished this past Saturday, was to detangle and plant in seed trays the still very delicate seedlings.

The plum and cherry plants were fairly simple.  There were fewer of them, and they were stronger, and only a few of them had germinated in the first place.  The roses were a little more difficult, but there were still only a couple of dozen of them, so I planted them out without too  much trouble.  The Saskatoon seedlings, however, were a nightmare.  There were something like a hundred of them, all very delicate, and all woven together like a mat.  I was forced to pick through them one by one and to use a toothpick to help place them in the soil without breaking their roots.  This is definitely not how the manuals recommend that you plant seeds, and after several hours of tedium I would also second their judgment, but the results seem good.  I had relatively few of the seedlings die off from shock or breakage, and the cherries and plums are responding very quickly to the light.  It was good just to see the rows of little plants, and I was motivated to plant several trays of perennial herbs that can stay in the table until spring.

As our first real snowstorm of the year rolled in yesterday, it was good to have a little bit of spring growing in my basement.

2 comments
  1. Lauren said:

    This warms the cockles of my increasingly winter-weary heart. Also, Saskatoon berries make an excellent jam, if you are inclined toward jam-making, which I believe you are.

  2. Lauren,

    Yes, Saskatoons make great jam, and they also make great pies. I will give you some of the seedlings when they get big enough.

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