Blog posts

A Tale of Two Seed Lots

I’m sure you must have had the experience of sowing seeds that then don’t appear.

When it happens here, I curse the moles/pigeons/crows/mice/slugs/cutworms/leatherjackets etc, shrug my shoulders and start again or try something else because when it comes to the post-mortem, there’s rarely a body to examine.

I have spent a small fortune on seed that disappeared into thin air over the years I have tried to grow vegetables!

Round here, all the crops that can stand up to transplanting without bolting or collapsing are started in modules in the back kitchen before being moved to the allotment. I can then give the seeds the best conditions in which to germinate and grow into young plants even if I do act like an overprotective parent at times.

runner bean seedlings Present & Absent

Here are my runner bean transplants in their modules – loo-roll cores to you – and this year I decided to grow two varieties. Let’s call them Present and Absent. When I excavated the compost in the tubes of variety Absent, the seeds had turned to mush inside their coats. This means dead seeds under my controlled conditions, especially when their partner Present achieved almost 100% success  from the same sowing date.

I would strongly urge anyone who experiences poor germination or emergence to complain to the supplier and offer them any supporting evidence that you have available. I suspect that the packet I bought was made up of the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel so to speak as it contained a lot of bits of broken seed and many of the whole seeds had damaged coats. Bigger fool me for sowing them I guess.

runner bean"Absent" looking a bit battered

I had a few seeds left in the packet so thought I would try to germinate them on wet kitchen paper in a plastic bag. Here’s the result.

inside one of the seeds that started to grow

I started them off on 1st May and took these pictures on 6th May. Most of the seeds  had actually come to life – and then started to rot.

If you have had a similar experience do leave a comment.


the outside after peeling off the coat

One Response to “A Tale of Two Seed Lots”

Leave a Reply