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Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Summer Solstice

I hope you had a great Summer Solstice (northern hemisphere) this past Saturday.  I know this isn't book or mystery related, but hear me out. 

Everybody has heard the term "Beach read". This time of year we are all looking for a great beach read, something we can take on vacation and isn't too heavy or requires much analysis. We want lighter reading because vacations are for relaxing...and when we are home we are out enjoying the warmer weather, activities and events everywhere.

I have noticed this summer and last that I have a harder time sticking to my schedule and reading. Part of my time is going into container gardening since I live in a town-home. 

This year the weather did not really warm up until the very last week of May, so my Kale is just getting going. The Basil, Catnip, Chives, and Peppermint are all doing well. But I decided today to pick up some flower seeds (Lavender and Zinnias). I was worried that this was too late to hope for much. Then I remembered third grade science class. Yes, I am weird like that. We were experimenting with seeds and what chemicals in fertilizer achieve what result. What I remembered was how we quickly got the seeds to sprout. 

In a plastic cup you fold a paper towel and line the inside of the cup with it.  Sprinkle the seeds between the paper towel and the plastic cup.  Then add a tablespoon or two of water.  The paper towel will absorb the water to keep the seeds wet.  

Some seeds like sunlight, but I am giving a little shade from the sun by loosely wrapping a bit of aluminum foil around the cups.  Although they can be around light. 

I will add just a small amount of liquid fertilizer (why I use plastic because you shouldn't ever drink out of it after this.)  I am hoping to shorten the germination time and get them jump-started.  I can use some florescent lighting as a grow light as well as sunlight, once they sprout, to get them to a size that can be transplanted.  I will let you know how it goes. 

Since I don't have the room for full-blown seedling kits, this is an inexpensive experiment.  Any tips folks?  I know there are many things that can go wrong with this process, including too much water and the seeds rot or don't germinate.

Enjoy the sunshine and share your favorite beach reads so far with us!  

Here is a short video showing essentially the same method only using large seeds.  I discovered this after initially posting.  I found another video that places the wet paper towel with seeds into a sealed plastic sandwich bag and places them in warm spots, which helps speed up germination too.

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