Spring Pruning

Today was a very nice and sunny day – at least in the afternoon. So, I let the seedlings take their first sun bath with the balcony door open. As you can see on the thermometer, it was warm enough.

Sunbathing Seedlings

Sunbathing Seedlings

Furthermore, some days ago, I had pruned (I do hope this is the right word) some of the seedlings which I felt had become too tall. And they’re already developing new buds.

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

 

Close-Ups of Leaves

Image

Last week, I got the macro lense I had ordered primarily for my RaspberryPi Camera Module, but it is actually a lense to use with your smart phone. I will have to create some kind of an adapter to use it with the RPi.

So, today I took some amazing (at least I think so) pictures of some of my seedlings:

More Singling Seedlings

I just realized today that I used the wrong word when I wrote about singling out the lemon seedlings during the weekend. I wrote re-potting which wasn’t quite correct. Sorry, my gardening English is developing the same speed my plants are. I hope I got it right now. Anyway, they actually moved to new pots…

bio-degradable pots

Bio-degradable pots

Singling Out Seedlings

lemon seedling

Lemon Seedling with roots

So, I got my bio-degradable pots today – 2o of them – and new soil. So I singled more lemon seedlings. I came across this nice example with some side roots, which I want to share. The others mainly had the one vertical root – I’m sure there is a special name for that too – and only rarely one more horizontal root. This one, however, had four or five horizontal roots. Good boy! (Or girl, or both…)

Bio-degradable Pots

I like those bio-degradable pots. For one, they’re not made from plastic and their colour is kind of earthy and warm. The black plastic pots might have the advantage of turning the sunlight into warmth better and even storing that warmth a bit. The greatest advantage of the bio-degradable pots might as well be their greatest disadvantage: They’re bio-degradable! Who would have thought?! No, seriously, you don’t need to remove them for re-potting, they will degrade in the next pot. I’m just afraid that they will start degrading before their time because of the watering…For me, another advantage though is their size. Because they’re slightly smaller than the plastic pots, I can get more of them into the platter (is that the right word? the green bottom of my mini greenhouses).

Anyway, I will keep the plastic pots, in case I want to give the seedlings away next summer. I have way too many.

New Attempt to Grow Chestnut From Seed And Some Re-potting

Second Attempt to Grow Chestnut From Seed

About a week ago, I bought five chestnuts at the supermarket – some of the last ones in fact. I had brought one from my trip to Turkey, but it has been in the soil for October 16th, but no germination so far. To improve my chances of getting chestnut trees, I decided to “cheat” a bit by buying some chestnuts and try to get them to germinate. However, the Turkish one might still sprout later. Anyway, I cut them cross-wise at the pointed end, put them into water and waited. I changed the water daily, because chestnuts like acorns give off a slimey substance when stored in water. I have no idea, what it is, but it is quite disgusting. When I checked yesterday, I saw that one of them seemed to germinate. So, I took that one out and put it into soil, pointed end downwards, because in my experience so far, this is where the root comes from.

Sprouting Chestnut

Sprouting Chestnut

Re-potting Lemon Seedlings

The kitchen was already a mess with all that soil, so I decided to re-pot some of my lemon seedlings. I already have 25 and some seeds haven’t germinated yet. I’m waiting for 5 more to sprout. I only re-potted five, for several reasons: 1st – I ran out of soil, 2nd – some of them are too small to re-pot (10 cm is recommended) and 3rd – I didn’t re-pot those in the pots where I still wait for their “siblings” to germinate, because I don’t want my numbers to get mixed up.

Lemon Seedling with Lemon Seed

Lemon Seedling with Lemon Seed

Anyway, as you can see in the picture, some of them still had the lemon pip attached. One was a special case, where two seeds germinated very close to each other. The second is only about 1cm tall and the first about 8 to 10 already. So, hoping to get a joined trunk one day, I re-potted them together. Just like the last time I re-potted a lemon seedling, the look a bit withered now. But I think they will be okay in a few hours.

seedlings

Lemon Seedlings, Pomegranate Seedlings, English Oak Seedling

I’ve ordered more soil and bio-degradable pots for the next day of re-potting. And as you can see, it is such a beautifully sunny day, I have to dash to catch some of those sunbeams.

Timelapse of Lemon Tree Seedlings

Video

After about four weeks of taking a picture every hour, I’ve compiled a timelapse video of some of my lemon tree seedlings.

There were eight seeds in the pot and I’m happy to announce that all of them have germinated. The last one only today, when stopped taking the pictures, so it isn’t visible in the video.

I will repot some of them (the taller ones) tomorrow.

The pictures where taken with the Raspberry Pi and RPi Camera Module. The code used was

raspistill -o lemon%04d.jpg -tl 360000 -t 2419200000 -w 1280 -h 720 -ISO 200

.
The “-t” value might have been a bit different. I used VirtualDub to render it as a video and Magix to edit the video.

Some Thoughts about Seeds

Where to get seeds to grow trees from

Risking to state the obvious, I’m just going to say: Don’t buy seeds for trees that either grow in your neighborhood or you can buy fruits of. If you want to try and grow trees from local species, just go on a walk and collect them. If you are into bonsai, you might spot a nice example of an interestingly shaped tree which can inspire you on how to shape your bonsai tree. If you’re more interested in exotic trees, don’t go and buy seeds online. Go to your supermarket and buy the fruit. First of all, you can enjoy the fruit AND you get the seeds which makes it more of a holistic experience (without wanting to sound overly esoteric here). I imagine that when you try to grow trees with children, that it is an interesting experience for them as well to see where the seeds come from and what you can use them for. Obviously, this method only works for fruits, because with nuts the fruit IS the seed. Then just buy/ collect some more (hazelnuts, chestnuts), eat some and use the rest for breeding.

Here’s a table which might help you to find out when which fruit/nut is in season. Green means main season, yellow means low season:

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Another argument for using seeds fresh from the fruit is that you might be more successful, i.e. you will have a higher germination rate. I could only compare dwarf pomegranate and pomegranate, because I had dwarf pomegranate seeds in my bonsai starter set and got a fresh pomegranate later, but I think the data speaks for itself (see table below). For some species, using fresh seeds might also have an influence on the germination period. But that would almost literally be comparing apples and pears, because I didn’t have seeds of the same species to compare.

Here are the results of my seeds – germination period of lemons*, pomegranates* and myrtle as well as germination rate.

Species
Latin name
seed or fruit used
no. of seeds germination period germination rate
Dwarf Pomegranate
Punica granatum nana
seed
31 10 to 33 days 23%
Pomegranate
Punica granatum
fruit
28 9 to 36 days 79%
Lemon
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (non-organic)
6 5 to 49 days 100%
Lemon
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (organic)
22 13 to 46 days 88%
Myrtle
Myrtus communis
seeds
32 12 to 34 days 31 %

* They might not be done germinating yet, I will adapt the table accordingly, when more seeds germinate. Temperatures above 21°C are highly recommended.

An overview of all seeds I got to germinate successfully can be found here (WIP).

Stratification

english oak seedling

English Oak (Quercus robur)

With some species, you will find that most texts suggest to use stratification to get them to germinate. As I have just put my medlar seeds into stratification and into soil, I cannot say whether it is really necessary in my experience yet. However, I have tried to get oak (Quercus robur) to germinate without stratification and it worked. I also don’t really believe that it is necessary for medlars, because they are much more common in the Mediterranean than North of the Alps nowadays and I doubt that they get three months of low enough temperatures. Anyway, we will see when my medlar seeds germinate (or not).