First signs of life

Posted by Alastair Otter on September 18, 2009
Posted in Garden

The Garden Cress is very happy in its rich compost mixture.

The Garden Cress is very happy in its rich compost mixture.

It was just day four of the project when the first signs of life started poking through the soil in the seedling trays. The garden cress was remarkably quick to sprout and by the end of the first week had more than a handful of leaves to show for my efforts. Which boosted my confidence in my gardening skills no end. This was easy.

Boosted by my new-found confidence I scratched around for a few small pots and splashed out on a few more seed trays and got to planting some more seeds. One of the things I am keen to grow is Lavender. We have a narrow pathway down the one side of our house and after seeing a few good examples of lavender-lined stone pathways decided that something similar would be a good way to decorate an otherwise ugly piece of garden. To do this we need a lot of lavender so rather than buying it from the nursery I decided to try and propagate some from a few existing plant branches (largely unsuccessful so far)  and plant a packet of seeds.

The newest trays are in the foregraound with the lavender occupying the green pots and the back-left trays.

The table. The three trays in the forground are the newest plantings and the lavender is is the green pots and the trays at the back left.

Lavender
The first thing I learned about lavender is that there is not such thing as “just lavender”. There are literally hundreds of different types of lavender, each with their own flowers, leaves and habits. In the end I settled on traditional English Lavender because it seems ot be the most popular so if I have problems with it I’m likely to find help relatively easily. I planted the lavender seeds (which are infuriatingly small and difficult to work with) in a couple of loose pots and two large seed trays.

Potting medium
Up until now I’ve been planting these seeds in trays and pots filled mostly with compost that we’ve produced at the bottom of the garden and a little sand. I’m now worried that this may not have been the best idea but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough. At least the cress is enjoying their new rich home.

As a test I planted a few more trays of seeds over the weekend. These extra three seed trays are planted with watermelon, sweetcorn and cucumber seeds. The test part is that I planted these in trays filled with a mixture of finely sifted compost mixed with a healthy dose of river sand. This guide suggests a seed-starting medium or potting soil. Maybe next time I’ll look at potting soil but for now river sand and compost it is.

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