A southerly blast has hit Whanganui with freezing rain and great gusts of cold wind, sending us back into the grip of Winter again. I’ve had the gourd seedlings out on a sunny terrace to catch as much light as possible, but these tender seedlings won’t be too happy out in the cold wind, so they’ve been brought inside for the night. Pampered plants! I’m hoping to get all the larger ones out into a sheltered part of the garden as soon as the warm and calm weather returns.
I spent this morning transferring 137 sprouted seedlings into pots. All of these seeds were from gourds grown during last summer, mostly from just one big well-ripened fruit. A word of caution: if you decide to sprout your seeds in a container in the hot-water cupboard, make sure you get them planted out quickly, because the little fragile roots get entangled in the cloth and they can be damaged easily.
Here are the seeds that I put into a container on 24 Sept:
A close-up of the sprouted seed shows a fuzz of tiny root hairs all along the main root, as well as new side-roots emerging. Damage to these fragile rootlets will hinder the growth of the plant.
Here are the sprouted seeds I photographed on Sept 24.
They each went into their own little container of wet potting mix….
….with a light covering of damp seed-raising mix over the top.
Check the seedlings each day to make sure the potting mix has not dried out. It should feel damp but not wet. When the young leaves appear, they need plenty of sunlight, and protection from slugs and snails, birds and rabbits.
I’ve been experimenting with different ways of getting gourd seeds to sprout. I had a lot of old seed from gourds given to me, and didn’t expect may of these to come up. Rather than putting one seed per pot, I decided to put the soaked seed into the hot-water-cupboard between damp layers of cloth and let them sprout there. That worked really well, expect I left the seeds a bit too long, and their fragile roots became entangled in the cloth, so it took ages to cut around each one.
I used the same technique with fresh seeds from a gourd grown during the summer of 2013-14. I was delighted to find 90 sprouted seeds after just a few days. Now I just need to plant them all out, and hope they don’t rot or get eaten by marauding birds or snails.
It’s exciting to see new seedlings beginning to sprout. These tender baby plants began to grow inside, where is is nice and warm. They go outside in the sunlight during the day and are brought in at night, just in case we get another frost! Their seed-cases are still sitting on top of the two first leaves like little hats.