Eight days ago, I planted out twelve trays of seed in home-made potting mix. These have been watered each morning with rain water via a watering-can; I prefer to have the seeds start with a cool bath and warm up during the sunny Spring weather, rather than start their evening with a cool bath and have them just get colder overnight.
Eight days later, the cucumbers have had almost perfect germination and have developed their ‘cotyledons’ – the ‘seed leaf’ that was such a large part of the structure stored within the seed. That makes cucumbers members of the family of flowering plants called ‘dicotyledons’; if they’d had only a single embryonic leaf, they would be classified differently, as ‘monocotyledons’.
Not far behind the cucumbers are the beetroots, while basil, silverbeet and lettuce have only just begun to emerge. Various other seeds – beans, melons, rocket – are still dormant or infertile. We’ll follow their journey from potting mix to soil to table over the coming weeks…
Over in another part of the garden, the other end of this story has begun to play out; silverbeet entering its second Spring is going to seed, and will dry out over summer to provide me with thousands of seeds for the next few years, at no cost beyond space and water.