Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jekka McVicar's "Seeds"

Excerpt Number 3, from "Seeds:  The Ultimate Guide to Growing Successfully from Seed," again on loan from the Powell River Public Library

Each seed is a complete self-contained work of art, a unique life capsule containing the blue print for the whole plant with every cell, hair, vein, leaf, petal and root preprogrammed and waiting for germination and growth in order to manifest itself to its full potential.  Seeds are a master of ingenuity when it comes to survival.  Some are able to lie dormant for many seasons or even years waiting for the right conditions in which to germinate, others evolve slowly adapting to changes in environment.  Arctic Lupin seeds have been found to be viable after lying in permafrost conditions for 10,000 years.  The means of seed dispersal is equally staggering - some fly, some fall, some float.  The Dandelion seed can travel 200km (125 miles) in a storm, and fern spores have been known to travel 20,000km (12,400 miles) from their parent.  They use the air, water, animals, birds and humans to arrive at their destination and start their cycle all over again...

...All the plants in this book have been chosen with simple criteria in mind.  They are all either common garden plants, whose seeds are simple to collect, or plants whose seeds are easily available through retailers....

...This books is to be used as a springboard into the world of growing plants from seed.  By following a few simple steps (as simple as baking a cake), and not being too ambitious at the start, you will be rewarded by having a flourishing garden at a minimal financial cost with maximum pleasure and a great sense of achievement. 

Rosa Rosaceae
A genus of hardy, deciduous, or semi-evergreen shrubs and climbers grown for their lovely, often scented flowers.  Plant in a fertile, free-draining soil that does not dry out in summer, in a sunny situation. 
It is worth mentioning that only old shrub roses and species roses can be grown successfully from seed. 

Collect the seeds in autumn from ripe hips.  Mix the seed with propagating coir and put the mixture into a plastic bag.  Seal and label the bag and put it in a warm place at 20 degrees C for 2 months.  Place the plastic bag into the refrigerator for a further month.  Finally sow the seeds into pots or modules using standard loam-based seed compost (substrate) mixed with coarse horticultural sand.  Mix to a ratio of 1 part compost + 1 part sand.  Cover with coarse horticultural sand and place in a cold frame.  Germination takes 2-3 months but can take longer.  When the seedlings are strong enough, pot up singly in 8cm (4in) pots using a loam-based potting compost.  Grow in the cold frame for a further season before planting out. 

Rose hips on bush near Old Post Office
in Townsite, Powell River

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