11 October 2009

Spring Planting

Planted out yesterday: Chiles - 9 or 10 varieties. Some of them only one or two plants each. This is something that's been puzzling me for a while: Many of the seeds I acquire from the North show very poor germination. I wondered whether this was due to their not getting enough after-ripening time, missing out on some cold dormancy, or something similar. I think that Patrick's suggestion is most likely correct: The seeds are probably going through some pretty obnoxious X-rays (or even irradiation) whilst at the tender mercies of the SA post office.

I've had particularly bad luck with Jalapeños this year. Two sowings have been nailed by some creature. Grasshoppers are the most likely suspect. So I only have about 6 plants at this stage ;-) Probably too late for another sowing this year, but I may just give it a go anyway. And here I was planning to try some crosses between them and various other Chiles. Guess I'll have to try crossing them by hand, then.

Also planted out more of the Tomatoes: about a dozen Lime Green Salad, since I know they're particularly sellable. I've been asked ("begged" might be more accurate) for lettuce and other produce by a couple of local restaurants, and, since no other work has been forthcoming this year, am of a mind to give it a go. I've never been mad about the idea of selling produce at markets -- done my time at markets (selling candles!) But I do sorta fancy the idea of growing produce in a dialogue with a chef who appreciates what they're getting, and who can make it part of their "story".

A few days ago I grafted Potato shoots onto some Tomato rootstocks in the hope that this will force them to produce true seed. None of the Potatoes I can grow here have ever produced fruits, and I'm really, really keen to do some breeding work with Potatoes. We get such pathetic crap for Potatoes here... So far the grafts are doing quite well in their plastic bag. At least, none of them have died yet! It's my first attempt at grafting anything, so I'm not really expecting too much. I'm wondering when/how I'll know whether the graft has taken and I can/should remove the plastic tape holding the graft together. Fun experiment, though!

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