Potting Mix – Day 15
Two weeks after planting out seed stocks for the summer crop into home-made potting mix, germination of most seeds is well along.
The few seeds that haven’t yet appeared can probably be assigned to the ‘infertile’ category and these trays re-seeded with something else. This is no bad thing; all seeds have a limited life, and some of my stock has been gathered from the tool sheds of the old men of the district who are now down the cemetery. While the beans from my old Italian neighbour have failed to appear, his capsicums have burst forth energetically, despite that fact that these seeds must be over five years old.
I’d also been saving on some ‘moon-and-stars’ watermelon seeds for many years, but not planting them out during the decade-long drought that we endured down under here in southern Australia up until two years ago. I’m guessing that it takes about 100 kg of water to grow a kilogram of watermelon flesh, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting a year when I could afford the water to regenerate my ageing seed stock of this old heritage variety.This year’s the year, and I’ve planted out the last of my seed. Germination rate has been only about 25%, so I’m just in time. That matters not – I just need to bring a few melons through to completely reinvigorate my collection of these colourful melons. Even the seedlings display the yellow patches that will later dapple the melon’s skin into the large dot for the moon and smaller yellow dots for the stars.
But back to those capsicums – they look suspiciously like tomato seedlings! Could it be? My old Italian neighbour grew his own particular variety of tomato that he’d brought out from Italy. Every year around Christmas, I’d drink a beer with him, and ask him – yet again - what the name of his tomato variety was. “Red-a marl, Andrew, red-a marl”, he would reply. This didn’t help – no such tomato is listed anywhere in the seed catalogues. The colour ‘red’ didn’t ease my pain much either – most tomatoes being red. Once I asked him to write it down for me, but this proved to be embarrassing – he either didn’t know or was illiterate in the English language. So ‘marl’ is just the spelling of the sound as I heard it.
So now I wait. If he mixed up his labels and these aren’t capsicums at all, but ‘red-a marl’ tomatoes, I might be the luckiest bloke around here. I’ll be able to grow them on!