Saturday, August 30, 2008

Waking Up Old Tomato Seeds #1

I've been trying to germinate some tomato seeds I had given to me from Romania for over a month with no success, so I've decided to explore two other avenues. Today I purchased a Roma tomato from the Market and squeezed the juice & pulp into a strainer and removed the seeds. Into the juice/pulp I have added the seeds I want to try and wake up, which I'll soak for 48 hours, then sow.
The second avenue is to make up a weak bleach solution of 27.5% and soak the remaining seeds in it for 30 minutes, then sow.

I'll record what happens, (if anything) and post here with any news.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's Growing??

Up until now I haven't really had a firm list on what we'll grow in the garden here this coming season, but we'll probably be including some Peppers, Chillies, Cucumbers, Zucchini and of course the Tomatoes.
For the Peppers/Chillies we're going with Corno de Toro, Sweet Temptation and Jimmy Nardello, plus one 'select' type.

The Cucumbers look easy at this stage with Marketmore, Lebanese and the new Sikkim variety shown in an earlier posting. The Zucchini's are easy as we only ever grow one variety, that being 'Black Jack', which I've started today, but not on the heat mat. I'll now add a few 'Kiwano' to my list in this section, otherwise known as Horned Melons, they can be eaten as a Cucumber when green, or as a Melon when ripe (yellow).

Tomato varieties this year have been a bit more difficult, with the following looking most likely the ones to make the cut.

Black Cherry
Cherokee Purple
Cuor di Bue - Mutants
Greek Witness
Grosse Lisse
Grub's Mystery Green
Lime Green Salad
Little Heart
Papa Misco
Red Cloud

More on the Goji Berry seeds.

With a bit of luck, I've managed to successfully germinate a few Goji Berry seedlings, so now to plant more seed and see what the germination rate is like for them. I'm hoping it should be O.K. and give good results, but time will tell. Here are some seed I've just extracted from the dried fruit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Going Goji

Last Thursday I sowed some seeds we took from a dried Goji Berry in the hope we can germinate a couple here. The fruit although dried, is quite palatable and from all accounts, the bush grows to size (3m) quite quickly and is in full fruit production after the third year. Probably a little on the large size for our yard and will probably see them grown in our neighbours yard. I will expect to see these seedlings in a day or so, one week from sowing.

Nothing ventured ......

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great Germination & New Varieties

These are the tomato seeds I named Greek Witness with the help of Raymondo, the same ones that resembled charcoal when I first got them. Well, I have sown two lots of seeds this season from the ones in the photo and I have achieved exceptionally high germination, considering the colour of the seed. With the growing season still over a month away, I can't wait to get a few of these plants in the ground.

This year I'm also trialing seed for another unknown tomato found growing in the Italian vegetable gardens of Cobram, a river town in Northern Victoria where two of my sisters live. This one is thanks to 'Papa Misco' who sent me the seed, which will also become their name in lieu of a variety name.

From the street markets of Barcelona in Spain, comes Cebrino and also Raff tomatoes that will make their debut with me this year as well, thanks to a fellow tomato grower in Bendigo. Cebrino is an egg tomato almost black in colour, while Raff is a green shouldered Red.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Here's something that doesn't get grown all that much, even with being classified as an Heirloom variety. This is the Sikkim Cucumber originating in The Himalaya's and Nepal and is quite rare to see in a backyard garden. The unusual skin pattern of the fruit, looks more like an animal skin than a cucumber. I was trying to work out germination times on cucumbers, so planted one seed on the heat pad, the resulting seedling germinated after just two days.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Keeping Track

I'm now using a database to record the tomatoes, chillies, zucchini's and cucumbers that pass through the hothouse and cold frames. New seedlings are added at pot on time and any losses are recorded and adjusted accordingly.
Hopefully this system works when we start selling the seedlings as it's a good record to keep track on quantities of each variety.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tomatoes - A Full House

All being well I should have a bumper crop of tomato seedlings, with better than average germination on most varieties. Pricking out while small doesn't seem to effect the plants and are soon standing again after a drink. Nicoleta should be good this year and will be the backbone of our crop in the garden, along with UK2000, Little Heart, Kotlas and a few others. The smaller/determinate and ornamental tomatoes are starting to look good, with their compact growth starting to appear and fill out in the pot. The Chillies, Capsicums and Peppers are getting a repot and will now be sporting new 3"tubes instead of their white foam coffee cups.

It's now a waiting game as everything will be potted up tomorrow, so then I can move onto the next step and germinate the Cucumber and Zucchini crop that will be added to the plant sale.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Started

With the tomato seedlings getting some size to them, I decided to prick some of the taller ones out today as they could easily become leggy if left too long. First there was a matter of making some room in the hothouse, so I had to relocate about 12 dozen of the smaller growing tomato plants to one of the two cold frames. Tomorrow will be the chillies, capsicums & peppers turn as they are currently taking up half the available space in the hothouse.
So far, I'm up to having about 120 of the tomato plants done, but it's been a slow process and tomorrow will see the majority of them in individual foam cups.

Towards the end of August, I'll start some Cucumber seed in the hope of having them ready for planting out sometime in early October. The list to date comprises Marketmore and Lebanese Cucumbers, some of which will be grown on a trellis due to space restrictions.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's Raining

Last week we hooked up another 1000 litre caged tank to use the water for the garden like we did last year and having two of them now will help with watering some plants that need a drink, plus help water the tomato crop. For a week the tank has been hooked up and remained empty, but today it's raining so hopefully we'll get enough to fill it and top up the other one.

I know 2000 litres of water doesn't sound like very much, but it does benefit the plants in the garden and we like our garden, so it will be a great help here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A few losses

Today is the twelfth day since sowing and I'm still getting seed germinating, so I'm now wondering just how fresh some of my seeds have been. Next year I'll only sow my own saved seed which will enable me to cut down on varieties and just grow the ones we like, which in turn will give a fresh seed save each year for these varieties.
I guess it's not worth worrying about the losses from poor germination on some varieties as I won't resow them and just go with what varieties I have as seedlings now, although I have some seed for 'Crisana' I'm trying to sprout on the top of my monitor. It would have been nice to get a couple of them from the two lots sown, but I'll just see what turns up from this last effort.
I'm also having a play around with the ones I need to 'grow out', like the 'Little Heart' and the 'Cuor di Bue' that wasn't, along with 'Casey's Stripey', which surfaced last season with stripes on it and finally 'Country Orange'.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bleach Treatment of Tomato Seeds

Food for thought when you don't know how the Tomato seeds you get, either given or purchased have been fermented and whether or not they carry any disease from their point of origin. In an experiment today, I bleach treated 3 lots of seed prior to sowing. Mixing an 8% solution of laundry bleach in water (4ml to 50ml) I then soaked the seeds for 10 minutes prior to rinsing well in a small sieve, then drained on a filter paper before sowing.

The recommended treatment is for 10% for 10 minutes, but as only 4 seeds were involved at a time I used the 8% which is still satisfactory.

To keep your seeds disease free, this is an option if seed comes from a source other than your own.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Germination at last.

Checking this morning, I noticed about 3 varieties that were popping up, including the Marianna's Peace that I sowed as spares. As the day goes on, more and more are up with 'Little Heart' the first one standing erect with its Cots out. I expect that over the next day or so all will be up, then the fun begins.