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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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At this moment I wish Ii had 'moreseeds', because I tried to finish old packets and they just didn't germinate. So the thing I have learned for next year is to discard opened seed packets, even though I know that sometimes they will be fine (like the beetroot).

I think we need a list of what seeds can be reliably sown from old open packets. My contributions; tomatoes and beetroot. Sorry I don't do flowers, but perhaps I will if the veg keep failing?

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A friend had a free tomato seed packet that was 10 years old and they all germinated. Our opened french beans had a 50% germination rate, so from now on I'll either collect and dry the previous year or buy a new packet every year. From our point of view only tomatoes and beetroot can be relied on.

Parsnips; can't even rely on them to germinate from a packet within date!

One thing we do miss is purple sprouting. Next time we have visitors from England I'll ask them to bring some seeds. At the moment that seems a long way off.

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I collect seeds from my early broad beans.  I have done it for maybe 5 years, however, this year the harvest was definitely smaller so I think its time to buy again.  I have been getting my Mum PSB as part of her grocery delivery, it makes me miss it!

I dug up the garlics just now, I planted maybe a dozen cloves just from shop bought garlics whenever I found one which was sprouting last year.  I have harvested some already, but now, because so many flowers/weeds have grown up I can only find 4 bulbs!  3 look good, the 4th didn't bulb up at all. I was looking at recipes for chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, but I'm not sure I can rustle up enough!

I was given a couple of lettuce last week, it turns out in payment for the accidental beheading of one of my agapanthus, but they were a)huge and b)delicious.  Shop bought are good here, and I have given up sowing my own because of the water requirement, but these two brought it home to me just what I am missing.  

I have also sowed the last of my packet of rocket, which I think must have come from the UK as its in English, so thats also about 4 years old at least.  It has been very reliable and this year a very strong flavour - its T&M Speedy Rocket if anyone is interested.  The long lived beetroot seed is Boltardy.  I have found old basil seed to be very unreliable.  This year I am growing piri piri chili (as described in Portugeuse), and to my surprise they are purple, so I'm not sure what they are really.

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Our last beetroot was Boltardy, but the new packet bought here is Red Globe 2 I think, so perhaps that won't keep?

We have the same issues with water Daphne, which is why we rush to get the potatoes in very early. We are lifting our previously frost damaged Agata earlies, but they are rather more advanced than we expected, so despite the frost destroying the tops they must have continued growing below ground anyway?

Our first sowings were delayed for two weeks due to the terrible weather. Now due for the second sowing of beetroot and dwarf French beans (6 to 7 weeks later), but now it's far too hot. Checked the seed packets and the maximum germination temperature is 20C. It's 34C today and over 20C at night, so even with sun shading it will be too hot. Just hoping for a colder spell, which is pretty unlikely.

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Apparently I don’t have the right type of bee/bumblebee around for broad beans. All flowers just get pierced at the base and so far on 18 plants I only have about 10 pods growing…

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My broad beans were looking amazing with loads of flowers (they are in pots as our soil is so horrible - heavy clay) however the bloody slugs have now eaten the flowers so there will be no beans. I have had enough and won't be growing again. Feeling totally fed up.

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Bumble bees are so big they break the flowers @Cat tails, so with some flowers they are bad news. The one I know they damage is beans. What you need is a distraction like courgettes, where the flowers are so big they just get swallowed up in them. But if you have some beans it's not so bad.

You will have to do what we do (I do) @soapdragon. Get up in the middle of the night with a torch and search for slugs and snails. All those captured are released in the dustbin to discover a new life amongst the rubbish. Takes a fair few weeks to get on top of the problem, in fact we're just about there after 4 years. But chemicals will never be an option here.

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7 minutes ago, Beantree said:

Bumble bees are so big they break the flowers @Cat tails, so with some flowers they are bad news. The one I know they damage is beans. What you need is a distraction like courgettes, where the flowers are so big they just get swallowed up in them. But if you have some beans it's not so bad.

They don’t break the flowers, they just go round the back and chew them open. The bees and bumblebees I have around have too short tongues to reach in from the normal opening. They also do this with my aquilegia.

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Yes, it is how some bees operate, I have to admit I haven't noticed which types pollinate broad beans.  Your plants look pretty healthy, so I hope you get some germination and beans, they will taste all the sweeter for the obstacles you will have overcome.

Soapdragon, please don't lose all heart, I would do something like Beantree suggests, in previous gardens I have been out nightly and collected literally hundreds of slugs/snails over the years, but I just put them in a bucket of salt, which kills them quickly.  I have found chickens and toads to be uninterested in the nightly banquet on offer to them, so it was either taking drastic action or starving myself.  There is too much pleasure to be had from a potter in the veg patch to give it up easily.  The other thing maybe we could help with, is what plants are more slug proof?  I can't think of any offhand as its a while since I had to outwit the foe, but maybe rhubarb? And I courgettes have a sort of hairy unpleasant leaf, so they might be effective as well.  Raspberries? Tree fruit? Asparagus?  Tomatoes have that hairy leaf thing as well.  Herbs such as rosemary, fennel, thyme and maybe sage, tough woody ones in the main.

 

 

 

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