In my sunny windows, right now, are 15 or so cactus seedlings, all started from seed. And it was super easy to start them! There’s a trick to growing Dragon fruit from seed, a trick that I didn’t know when I tried growing them the first time. The difference between the two batches is incredible! I’ve given away or bartered for many of the 50 seedlings I ended up with the second time around. The first time, I grew none.
I did some searching, and finally found out what I needed to do. I can’t even remember where I found the secret, but find it I did. Thank you, if it was you in that YouTube video!
It’s actually very simple. If you want to actually get plants from Dragon fruit, you need to plant the seeds as soon as you take them out of the fruit. If you let them dry out and sit for awhile, like I did the first time, you won’t get plants.
Well, yes, there’s the usual ‘keep it moist and warm’ recommendation, but fresh seeds made all the difference in my germination success.
2. Slice it open.
3. Scrape seeds off pulp with a knife. (super easy!)
4. Plant seeds in moist potting soil, 1/8 inch deep.
5. Cover in order to keep moisture in.
6. Place in a warm spot.
7. Check it every day, looking for dryness or a sprout.
8. When the seeds sprout, take the cover off and make sure they’re in a sunny/bright place, like a bright windowsill or under grow lights.
9. Keep an eye on them, watering as needed.
10. Post brag pics on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest.**
A couple of weeks ago I had a blast making my own homemade paper. Not only did I make paper, though, I also added some viable seeds to the water. This made paper that will sprout when planted (or just watered). After a few rough starts trying to figure out the best way to do things, I finally found the groove and was able to make 5 different kinds of seed paper. My kids were slightly disappointed that the first water-pressing method was abandoned, since it involved them standing on a board to help press out the water, but rolling with a rolling pin is a much more effective way of getting the excess water out of the paper! Since making the paper, I’ve just started sprouting some of it too.
It’s fairly straightforward: wet the seed paper, put it in some sort of container, keep it moist, give it sunlight.
My hubby saves me his sub containers (he buys these quite often) so I use them for spouts. They’re super handy!
The photo below shows sprouts that were first watered on Nov 13. Today is the 15th, so I think they’re doing really well. This is a mix of broccoli, radish, red clover, and alfalfa.
In the very top photo you can see the 5 different kinds of seed paper that I made. I might have gotten a little carried away, because I was super excited about my talented friend Sarah Moerman (LINK) using her creative talents to make beautiful cards out of this eco-friendly homemade paper. She’s posted one sneak peek of her work so far (LINK), and I can’t wait to see the rest!
Here’s a list of what seeds are in the different papers:
Brown: Old Fashioned Annual Flower Mix
The brown paper mix is best grown outdoors, but it can be started indoors in April or May. You can keep it moist as is, or you can plant the paper in soil after wetting it so the roots can establish themselves in soil before being transplanted outside.
White: Basil and Curly Parsley
The white paper mix can be grown indoors for winter herb production, but you’ll need lots of light if you choose to grow indoors. You can also start this one indoors in April or May, using the methods mentioned above.
Pink: White, Pink, and Burgundy Cosmos
This is an outdoor plant – Cosmos are big and bushy annual flowers! Again, see above for instructions.
Calendula is an edible flower that looks like an orange daisy. It grows best outdoors as well, but can also be started indoors for a head start on the season.
Grey: Broccoli, Radish, Red Clover, and Alfalfa
‘Spring Salad Mix’ was the description on the seed packet for this blend of sprouts. Definitely intended to be grown indoors, and no need for soil! You’ll be eating them about a week after planting them, so they’ll use the nutrition stored in their seed flesh to grow into a nutritious snack.
I’ve got extra paper, so I will likely be selling it at the local Seedy Saturday events in the new year. I’m hoping to attend Niagara, Hamilton, Kitchener, Burlington, and Guelph. These events are tons of fun, with workshops and seed swaps and vendors and community groups and, of course, seed sellers.
I’m also planning a hands-on workshop for anyone interested in learning how to make their own seed paper. It really is an enjoyable, peaceful activity, so if you’d like to hear more about it, let me know!
Heirloom tomatoes are one of my favourite things to grow. I like the weird and unusual varieties the best, because you generally don’t find them in the grocery store. And if you’re looking for unique heirloom seedlings, you often won’t find them in major garden centres. I’ve put together a list of unique varieties here in this post that I’ve grown and enjoyed over the years.
They will also be found at the FREE Seed Love Seed Swap on November 9 in Hamilton, Ontario, 1 pm – 3 pm.
1. Yellow Pear. These are the cutest little cherry tomatoes! They have a mellow flavour, not too strong. The plants grow very large and will sprawl all over your garden if you don’t contain them or prune them.
2. White Zebra. This tomato is white and green striped. It has a slightly sour taste, so if you like your tomatoes to have a little bite, this is the variety to try. The tomatoes are on the small side, and often have a slightly yellow hue.
3. Black Prince. Hands down my favourite sweet tomato. Not a speck of sour or tang. They ripen fairly quickly in season, and they keep producing all summer.
4. Isis Candy. A favourite with my kids and nephews, these plants produce prolifically all summer long, and the tomato fruits are super sweet. They’re red and yellow striped, so slightly unusual looking too.
5. Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge. The name describes it well in terms of appearance. It has a great old-fashioned tomato taste, and it’s fun to grow because of its rugged good looks. It’s mostly pale orange, with purple bits on the shoulders.
6. Mennonite Orange. Another orange tomato! This one is a low-acid beefsteak type tomato, great for slicing. The tomatoes will often get large enough that one slice will fill your sandwich.
7. Reisetomate. I saved the weirdest for last. This tomato looks like a bunch of grapes all jammed together, or a pile of cherry tomatoes. But it’s really one tomato with multiple deep lobes. Conversation starter for sure!
Please join us at the Seed Love Seed Swap! (LINK). In addition to all these fun tomato varieties – and I’m sure there will be more from other people – we will also have peppers, flowers, greens, and herbs.
I hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, would you please consider sharing this post with friends who might like to attend? Many thanks!
The Seed Love Seed Swap is coming up at the end of this week: November 9, from 1 pm to 3 pm at Platform 302 in Hamilton. I’m so looking forward to meeting people I’ve only had online conversations with, chatting with old friends that I haven’t seen in awhile, and visiting with people who are becoming the people I see most often. My seeds are packaged and ready to go, I’ve started gathering other things I’ll need, and now I’m waiting for Saturday and making plans to promote this on social media. (Please share!!)
The easiest method for packaging seeds, in my opinion, is to buy the small plastic sealable bags from the dollar store. 80 bags for $1, and they do a good job of keeping the seeds dry (better than paper). Of course, you can make the fancy (or not fancy) origami envelopes, buy coin envelopes, and use other small containers. I prefer the small plastic baggies because they’re simple and cheap. I like that they’re re-sealable, because I have a large wooden box full of seeds and they tend to get jostled around when I’m looking for certain seeds. I already have bags that have a jumble of seeds in them because of opened paper envelopes leaking, and I’d like to prevent that wherever possible.
Once you’ve figured out your preferred packaging option, the next important thing about packaging seeds for the swap is labeling. It’s a good idea to put as much information about the type of seeds as you can, so whoever takes your seeds can search the internet or books for more details about whatever seeds you’re offering. It’s also a good idea to use permanent ink of some sort. You never know how long the seeds will sit in a stash.
I hope you can make it out to the swap this Saturday. Can you share this with friends and family? The more the merrier!