Saturday, 17 July 2010

A couple of projects for the kids and you to try - Pt 2 - Planting seeds.

Now this next project is to be honest an experiment in what things will actually grow.

Ever since I got into gardening I have tried to grow a variety of things, the usual garden type stuff, flowers etc I also grow veg and fruit as well, and this is where I got this idea from.

I have in the past spent a fair amount of money on quality seeds from garden centres and such like, and I have had mixed results, I don't claim to be a professional gardener (or even a halfway good one) and because of this I started to look for alternative sources for buying less expensive seeds, I now get a lot of my seeds from pound shops and I manage to grow a good amount of things, but I have also grown some slightly less obvious things, and this is something you could try with your kids, you don't even need a garden. just a window sill that gets a bit of sunlight.

So what to grow ? well why not try anything that you can get seeds from ? do you have a tomato or two in your fridge ? why not scrape some seeds out of one and try and grow them ? all you need to do is wash the seeds to get as much of the fleshy stuff of them and then put them in a pot of compost in your greenhouse or on a window sill.

Gardening experts will always say it's best to use bought seeds because they are guaranteed to grow because you will get better crops, but this way you might get something useful out of it (something you can eat) and the kids can learn a bit about plants, and all for the price of a bit of compost and a pot or two.

Here's some examples of stuff I've grown.

Sweetcorn. I have actually given up buying sweetcorn seeds, and now I use this (no really I do)

Honest this is what I use, it grows just as well.

I'm not joking, a bag of popping corn costs under a pound and you get loads, and it works even if it's out of date, and it will grow if looked after properly (like any plant) sweetcorn you can eat with a bit of home made butter ;-)

And just to prove it the next picture is some popping corn growing in a pot, the other plants are in the ground, and I couldn't get a good angle with the camera, but I will post pictures when they produce some corn later on in the year.

Popping corn growing in a pot 

Pop corn growing in a pot.

I also have an avocado plant growing in the kitchen, if you feel like trying to grow one my advice is to get a pot, fill it with compost and put the seed into the compost about halfway, and then give it a good water, and just keep the pot watered, don't soak it. After a while you should notice the seed starting to crack, this should mean it's starting to grow. I've have grown a few of these, they get quite tall, the last one got broken by our dog because we had to stand it on the floor due to it's height :-(

Other things will grow, you can grow pumpkins from the seed you find in a shop bought one, and butter-nut squash.

And then there's slightly more exotic stuff, like physalis, I have managed to grow the seeds from a passion fruit, but the plants died in the winter, I will try these again now I have a cold frame.

Here's a couple of pictures, the first are physalis plants, the second are apricots.

Physalis plants.

Physalis plants.
Apricot plants.

Apricots, may be some time before they grow any fruit.

The apricots were difficult to do because you have to crack them open to get at the seed, nut crackers work well, once opened plant the seed like any other.

Even the head gardener thinks I'm mad :-)

It'll never work, pop corn indeed.

Of course buying packet seeds will no doubt yield better crops if you are looking to grow your own veg, but there's no harm in trying to grow seeds from a shop bought tomato, or planting an apricot, although with apricots and cherries and the like it will be some time before you get any fruit, and there's a chance you won't ever get any fruit, but the planet isn't going to suffer if you plant another tree is it ? and it's a fun thing to try with the kids.

Thanks for reading.

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