In the Oven

I like to think of my little plastic greenhouse as a cross between a factory and an oven. It can churn out plants at a great rate of knots and also keeps seedlings protected over the winter. I recently treated myself to a great big seed order and a set of cell and seed trays to sow them all in. When I got all the packets of seeds though, the first thing I did was to sort them into three piles:

  1. Seeds to sow now
  2. Seeds to sow in the autumn
  3. Seeds to keep over the winter and sow in spring

The pile in number one were all sown today (finally) and they’re in the plastic greenhouse, “baking”. It fortuitously worked out that there were six packets of seeds that needed sowing and each packet would fit in a single 24-cell tray. Six trays are the most I can get into the greenhouse at any one time. Looking at the sowing instructions, there were three sets of germinating temperatures:

  1. Cool – 15-18°C (60-65°F)
  2. Warm – 15-20°C (60-68°F)
  3. Hot – 20-25°C (70-75°F)

The greenhouse has three shelves and two trays can fit on each shelf. It also just happened to work out that two sets of seeds needed cool, another two needed warm and the remaining two needed hot temperatures to germinate. This is just like the oven shelves where the hottest is at the top and the coolest at the bottom.

Unlike the previous occasions, I’ve put labels in the trays so I know what they are! This will save a lot of head scratching and surprises in the future.

I get a huge sense of satisfaction sowing seeds in trays like this. One of the reasons is the sheer amount of money saved over buying potted plants. Another is the anticipation of seeing these little seeds germinate and grow into fully fledged plants. There’s also the challenge as well. Some of the seeds I’ve sown are going to take their time to germinate:

  1. Pansy x Wittrockiana: 14-21 days
  2. Digitalis Camelot Cream: 14-30 days
  3. Agastache Anisata: 1-4 months
  4. Dierama (Slieve Donard hybrids): 1-6 months
  5. Physostegia Virginiana: “very slow and irregular germination”
  6. Gaura Lindheimeri: 21-60 days

I’m going to be hanging around waiting for some of those.

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