Growing Pines From Seeds: Next attempt

Unfortunately, my pine tree (or rather sapling) has died over the winter. I did some research and it seems that I did everything wrong that I could do wrong. NO direct sunlight! Use pine bark as soil.

I got eight new seeds on Ebay and followed the instructions here. Well, I tried. Of the eight seeds, I could only use two, because I smashed the others trying to open their shell. Oops.

But the remaining two, I put into the fridge for about 10 days and then onto tissue paper and they germinated after about a week. I didn’t check the calender, because I didn’t know I was going to write about it and I didn’t really believe I would be successful. But I was! See:

Pine Seedlings

Pine Seedlings

I couldn’t easily get proper pine bark without ordering online and I had to go to a hardware store/ garden center anyway, so I got orchid soil, which should come close to the required stuff. Fingers crossed for the two new pine saplings!

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Canned Herbs – Illustrated Instruction

Some weeks ago, my sister brought me these herbs in cans by Inspirion GmbH, but I’m sure there are other companies that sell those. What a kind and interesting idea.

Canned herbs: Mint, Oregano and Basil

Canned herbs: Mint, Oregano and Basil

Today, with it being the last but one day before a colder period, I decided to do some can gardening. I tried to follow the instructions in English first, because they were the first given. Soon, I discovered that the English (as well as the Italian) instruction are a bit faulty. So, I switched to German, which was almost perfect. And I decided to make an illustrated instruction, because I know that my sister got some cans for herself.

New Seeds: Medlar – and others too

Yesterday, I got one of the medlar fruits from their stratification container on my balcony, because it is too warm during daytime anyway to call it stratification. I put the seeds into water overnight and sowed them today.

I also gave the ginkgo seeds from the egg carton pots proper pots, because the egg carton had started to rot and I was a bit concerned about my health. And I put the date seed that had germinated in vermiculite into a proper pot with proper soil. (Sorry for labelling the medlar seeds as “quince”, I had forgotten the name in English.) I only cut the egg carton “compartments” apart and put them into the new pots with the soil and the seeds.

medlar, date and ginkgo pots

medlar, date and ginkgo pots

Then I prepared a little something for my co-worker from Sicily. He had shown interest in the lemon seedlings, so I’m giving him one and one of the two pine seedlings. They’re his favourite tree.

pine seedling lemon seedling

Pine and lemon seedlings

 

Germinating Seeds in Vermiculite

moulding soil and almond

Yikes! Moulding almond

Some of the seeds in my pots (especially almond) have developed mould, so I had to dump them. They won’t germinated and it’s a health hazard for me, because they live (or try to live) in my bedroom. I thought to try something else to get them to germinate and than I got a date from my co-worker. 😀

Germinating Date Seeds

I got a date seed from my co-worker, who had been to the Green Week in Berlin (a trade fair for agriculture, horticulture and food industries). He had brought a box of three dates from Saudi-Arabia and offered me one. I ate it and kept the seed. He dumped his and I didn’t want to get them off his waste paper basket. So, I only took that one date seed home and soaked it in lukewarm water for four days. They don’t actually need four days, two or three are apparently enough, but I had to wait for the vermiculite.

vermiculite

Vermiculite close-up

Prevent Moulding With Vermiculite

I had done some research on how to germinate date seeds and found a website that recommended vermiculite. That’s a silicate mineral, very much comparable to cat litter. I got a litre on Ebay, just to test it. It comes in different grain sizes, you can see that I took a rather small one.

You put some of the vermiculite into a plastic box (luckily, I discovered 300 ml ice-cream boxes at my supermarket!), add some spoons of water, add the seeds and cover it up with more. Or you just put in more at the beginning, mix it and press the seeds into the vermiculite. Date seeds need a rather high temperature of 25°C (77°F), according to the website I consulted.

Date and Almond Seeds in Vermiculite

Date and Almond Seeds in Vermiculite

I have also put 7 almonds into vermiculite to make up for the rotten ones I dumped earlier. Fingers crossed!

I didn’t plan on growing a date tree, but like with the apples – I cannot resist any seeds anymore!

Addition February 9th:

Take great care not to add too much water or you will see this after some days:

Moulding Vermiculite

Moulding Vermiculite

Germinating Stone Pine: Next Attempt

I ordered 10 stone pine seeds on Ebay about two weeks ago, because my last attempt to get them to germinate was a complete failure.

Stratification, Soaking and Sowing

stone pine seeds

Stone Pine Seeds

It said on the label to put them in the fridge for 10 days. As I was away over the weekend, I let them in the fridge for 12 days. Then it said to put them in lukewarm water for 1 to 2 days. So I put them in a jar with water and put that on the heating. Today, the two days were over and I sowed them into three pots. I used a mixture of coffee dregs and soil, because mostly because it said on the label to use nutrient-rich soil.

I used plastic pots again this time, because I realized that the bio-degradable pots suck the water from the soil and I have to water those pots more often.

I read somewhere that they might only take 10 days to germinate. Wouldn’t that be great? Fingers crossed.

New Seeds: Blood Orange

Some days ago, I discovered blood oranges at the supermarket and wanted to make my favourite Sicilian Blood Oranges Salad. I got the recipe from my Sicilian co-worker. They only had a net of them, although I only needed about four, so I took six to work and made juice. Of course they had to have pips and I was tempted and couldn’t resist. So into my mouth they went while I squeezed all the yummy juice from them. It took me a while to squeeze them all, but when I was finished, I put the seeds into a glass of water. Don’t try to answer to anyone with a mouth full of orange pips! It’s really difficult. Back at home after work, I sowed those 12 blood orange pips into the previously mentioned egg carton nursery pots, where I had 4 patches left over after sowing the ginkgo seeds. However, I will just take down their germination period, keep one of them and dump the rest, because I really don’t have the space anymore.

By accident, I deleted the pictures I took of that, so pictures of the salad will have to suffice.

sicilian blood orange salad

Sicilian Blood Orange Salad

Sicilian Blood Oranges Salad

It is a very nice winter salad with loads of vitamins.

You need: blood oranges, chicory, olives, onions, olive oil, pepper, salt and actually parsley, which I tend to forget to buy. Molto delicioso! I often prepare it with normal oranges or grapefruits, but those little pieces of sunset just make it look so much better. Also, after I had pealed the oranges, my kitchen looked like a tiny pig had been slaughtered in there.