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sharing a Barcelona Urban garden

Collecting seeds and raising seedlings

Collecting seeds and starting seedlings
So, let's just get this right out there, I'm not a gardening expert. I have gardened ever since I was a child, but I have no formal studies, and mostly, as I told you the other day, my garden is a bit of a mess. But the other day I took some photos of my seed collecting and shared them with my sister, whose garden is way prettier and more professional than mine, and she didn't know how it worked. And it reminded me that you don't have to be an expert in everything to share what you know about something. Plus, I don't only want to share knowledge with you, I want so share seeds and plants with you! All you have to do is subscribe!

So let me tell you about my seed collecting. I have tried to grow basil on my terrace for years. I have bought potted plants from nurseries, from plant stores, even from dollar stores, and I have tried to start it from seed. I love basil and dream of large batches of pesto in the freezer for instant yummy pasta. But every time I have tried, the basil gets attacked by some tiny little bugs and dies. Except this time. This time, the basil lived, but I didn't harvest it soon enough and it bolted. Figures. So I thought, well, I'll collect the seeds and try again.

I waited until the seed packets were good and brown to make sure they were ripe, and then trimmed all of the branches. I had both large and small leaf varieties. Then I brought them inside and spread them out on a white tray. Then I rubbed the seed pods between my fingers until the seeds fell out. Basil seeds are really tiny (see photos) so it's good to have them on a light background. I keep seeds in old spice jars with the top off so they don't get moldy. Some people keep them in envelopes.

Then I thought I'd try to start them right away. I grabbed a small pot and put in some dirt and worm compost and planted half big leaf and half small leaf basil (photo).

I got a few weed sprouts after just three days. The basil took five. If you're not sure what's a weed and what's not, you can gently touch it: even tiny basil seedlings smell like basil!

I waited a few more days before weeding to see what else would come up. You can see in the photos that I get a lot of volunteer tomato plants. Since tomatoes cross-pollinate, I've stopped letting them grow, because I never know what kind of tomatoes I'm going to get. After two weeks, I pulled out all the weeds. This is important to give the basil seedlings room to grow, and access to water and sun.

Then yesterday, I noticed that the basil was getting attacked, I'm not sure by what, but this time I decided to act. I made up a concoction of potassium soap with nettles and garlic (totally organic) and sprayed it on. This morning the seedlings looked a lot better, and I sprayed them again just to make sure. Hey, this way I won't need as much garlic in my pesto!

I do a lot of seed collecting: from marigolds and cosmos, which are terribly obvious since the seeds practically burst from their wilted flowers, but also from flax and lavender (see photos). I want to share my seeds with you. Subscribe and I'll send you some.


In other news, the pumpkin is almost entirely orange! I'm a little worried about a bit of white fungus around the stem. I've been spraying it with my nettles/garlic tonic. 
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