Why seeds don’t germinate

If you’ve been following my blog over the last 5 months you’d have seen that I’ve been quite prolific in my sowing. However, not all have been successful – prompting me to sow more in a few weeks time.

Why carrots and parsnips don’t germinate

I’ve gone with Early Nantes 5, and I remember sowing quite a thick stream seeds into the ground, however, sadly not all of them have come through as I’d hoped.

I suspect soil crusting maybe at fault here. Soil crusting is when a thin layer of rugged and thick soil emerges on top of the bed. This makes the bed compacted and harder for carrots to poke through. It’s also one of those bed conditions whereby the bed looks smooth and soft, but is actually quite hard. Too much rain can cause crusting, as the droplets will eventually push down on the bed.

I think this has also had an effect on my parsnips.

Why cabbages don’t germinate

Cabbage Savoy KingSadly, I’ve only got two Savoy King Cabbages to my name – and I checked the packet and it’s out of date. Out of date seeds don’t  necessarily mean they won’t germinate, but it does mean that the success rate is cut significantly.  There’s certainly no harm in sowing out of date seeds – just remember that they may not germinate.

There’s nothing worse than waiting for seeds to germinate, only to find that nothing happens and you realise that you should have checked the seed packet – lesson learned.

Other reasons seeds don’t germinate

Too Dry: Water is crucial for germination. Preventing you soil drying out will help maintain a soil moisture.

Too Hot: High temperatures result in soil drying out which can injure seeds and seedlings.

Too Cold: Cold temperatures can kill seedlings and prevent germination. A frost can wipe out any seedlings that poke through.

Planting Seedlings Too Deep: Seeds may not be able to grow enough to reach the surface on the limited food storage from inside of the seed.

Soil Too Firm: Seedlings need oxygen to germinate and a soil that is too firm will reduce oxygen from getting to your seed. Soil that is too firm will also have an impact on drainage.

Sowing Carrots: Early Nantes 5

Sowing carrots (Early Nantes 5) is easy, although, that’s not to say that I haven’t had my seasons of heartbreak when I dig up misshapen and stumpy carrots.

I’m sowing Early Nantes 5 – a very reliable, good ‘finger’ variety of carrot and I’m hoping to see some progress within 14 to 20 days – providing the frost doesn’t kill off any seedlings that poke through.

History of Early Nantes 5

Believe it or not, Nantes carrots date back as far as the 18th century and we have the French to thank for the modern variety of carrot that we see today. Specifically, Louis de Vilmorin, who published “The Vegetable Garden” in 1858, pioneered the breeding of different varieties and first came up with the Early Half-long Scarlet Nantes Carrot. Since then, various hybrids have been produced to suit different conditions and climates.  As a result, there are around 40 different carrot types that fall under the Nantes name.

I first dug over and weeded the bed where I wanted to sow the carrots and tried my best to throw aside any large stones or anything that could get in the way of growth.

I then set out a string line and created drills that were around 1.5cm deep. I made sure that the rows were 30cm apart.

I then covered the seedlings and gave them a water. I created five drills, so that I can use for carrots and two for some spring onions. Sowing onions in with the carrots will reduce the risk of pests and carrot fly.  Because there is a risk of frost, I’ll probably have to purchase some cloche to keep the seedlings protected from the cold conditions.