If this was a medical trial, the ethics committee would be meeting about now to seriously consider calling a halt and insisting that the control group are immediately transferred to the clearly effective medicine. More details of the trial in a previous post.

This madness must cease! give them the drugs!

Group 2 (those sown on a thick layer of vermiculite) are germinating heavily in 2 varieties whereas Group 1 (those sown on multi purpose compost) are barely doing anything, although the Lychnis are beginning to catch up, there are now a few decent sized seedlings.

Lychnis arkwrightii catching up

The compost pots are beginning to get a sheen of green, the beginnings of moss or liverwort or something else potentially injurious to the seedlings health.  I noticed today that a different tray that I sowed last year in compost, which were doing quite well just a couple of days ago, have almost all succumbed to damping off, the tray also has a (un)healthy coating of green gunk. I worry then about the Group 1 seedlings that have made it above ground.

The foxgloves (a chocolate variety, quite looking forward to seeing those) are going well in Group 2, just one solitary seedling in Group 1.

Are you lonesome tonight?

There’s nothing going on in either pot for the aconitum. Having rather belatedly looked up some sowing directions for these seeds I see that they take up to 4 weeks to germinate and need chilling for a few weeks. I’ll stick them in the fridge at the weekend. I also note that the plants are highly toxic which I wasn’t aware of. Maybe it would be better if they never germinate!

I can’t claim to have counted the seeds but the piles were an approximately equal size in each half of the trial. All other conditions are identical, the pots are right next to each other, have the same heat, humidity and watering regime. I think the watering may be the key. An expected advantage of the vermiculite method is that while it holds moisture, any excess drains freely away from the seeds/seedlings so that they are moist but not sitting in a puddle. This means that it next to impossible to over water. Perhaps the Group 1 seeds are suffering from my liberal watering regime.

So far then, a qualified victory for the “standard” method I am using, at least for 2 out of the three varieties.  This is a good thing as all of my other sowings this year have used this method!  I describe the method in more detail in this post.