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Nearing harvest: The basics of seed germination.

Sunday’s had its successes and failures. The schedule collapsed once I realized that I had to wait another week or…

By Robyn Smith , in Garden Sweet , on March 22, 2010

Sunday’s had its successes and failures. The schedule collapsed once I realized that I had to wait another week or so for to work its magic.

However, when Alec arrived this weekend to help with planting, he brought some seeds he’d been storing from last year’s harvest – squash, coriander (which magically sprouts into cilantro), bell peppers and cucumbers (Alec describes last year’s harvest as “almost square shaped” but perhaps this year the genetics will sort themselves out). Alec informed me that bell peppers initially grow green, but if the harvester waits long enough before picking, they turn red. It will soon be time to start the process of

The seeds are staying fresh in the fridge for now, but when the sun seems to come out a little more consistently (tall order for Vancouver), it will be time to pot them in the windowsill. Each of these seeds require different levels of TLC:

last 3-4 years before they will no longer germinate. They are a bit finicky, requiring a special dry fertilizer in order to increase the success rate of germination. They need heavy sun and not too much water, so I’ll keep the pot in the front yard which receives more sunlight during the day. Once they begin to emerge from the soil, I’ll transplant them into the backyard plot. They’ll likely last into the winter.

is not finicky so long as it’s kept wet – it can be potted and grown in the window sill. Within 30 days, it should be blooming outrageously. Herbs, like weeds, grow without any pomp and circumstance. They make a good garden pawn – just stick herbs any old place, and they’ll add lots of nutrients and colour to the garden.

I will be careful about the , for they have a long germination period of about 2-3 months. It helps to keep them in a warm environment that provides lots of sun. Regular watering is standard for bell peppers.

As for these cucumbers… well, what to expect from square cucumbers? I guess I’ll follow the – keep it dry, and plant a lot of seeds as cucumbers tend to have a lower germination rate.

In the meantime, I’ll start preparing some funny, square-centric meals. ‘Til then, gardening chums.