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calendar   Friday - July 03, 2015

Everybody Get In Line

So we harvested the 21 day radishes that we’ve given an extra 12 days, just to be sure.

And it was a total failure.

Oh they grew. They grew stupendously. We had massive leaves coming up, great big stalky things.

And what came out of the ground was a couple hundred stupendous red pencil roots. No radish balls.

“They need thinning” I had said. “But I want lots of them” she said. “We can plant crop after crop, they only take a month from planting to harvest.” I’d said.

Whatever.

So now we’ve learned.

And this time we made seed tape.  It’s so stupidly simple. Why plant seeds you don’t need, that you’re only going to rip out while thinning?  May as well just sow what you want to harvest, especially with active seeds that have an almost 100% germination rate.

Take a tiny saucepan and heat a teaspoon of corn starch and a couple tablespoons of water with a couple drops of food coloring. Stir it good, and when the water gets hot the starch will thicken up quite a bit. Set that aside to cool.

Lay out a length of one ply toilet paper. Read the seed packet. Were it says “thin to 2” or whatever, this is the spacing you want. Take a teaspoon and dip the tip in the room temperature cornstarch sauce, then apply a little drip to the TP at the proper spacing, running lengthwise down the middle. I used the measuring tape the first couple times to be exact. Now come by and drop a single good seed into each starch drip. Then fold the bottom up and the top down, and pat it together. Wrap the strip up loosely around a can or a straight bottle, and the moisture and starchy glue gets spread around. Let them dry, and you can just lay them on the ground in the garden, and then cover them with loose soil. The toilet paper will decompose in short order, and the growing vitality of the seeds will pop them loose from their weak starchy confinements.

You could probably go all Gee Whiz and dampen the paper with a fertilizer solution, to give things a little leg up, but I’d call that a waste of time.

5 days to emerge. 21 days to grow ... by the 30th at the latest we should have a nice crop of about 100 radishes to pick.

This could be a fun project to do with little kids. If so, I’d recommend using green or blue food coloring. The red looks a tad gory, like machine gun bullet holes.

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/03/2015 at 02:17 PM   
Filed Under: • Gardens and plants •  
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