So, here we go, let's get this 'Seven Trees' project of mine put into practice. And it begins with creating pots for the precious tree seeds I shall gather.
Going with the 3 'Rs' of our time, Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle, I am re-using 'milk' cartons, which I usually re-cycle, to create warm and waterproof mini germination environments. I'm doing this with the intention of providing safe and nurturing spaces for these precious tree seeds. Of course, this is nothing like the perfect environment of the loamy woodland floor, but its what I can think up to do.
I shall be collecting seeds from nearby woodland and intend to gather some loam for germination from below each tree. It's already November and I am trusting that I will still be able to find seed - squirrels and birds and insects and mice all have their needs to satisfy.
Anyway, starting with the containers, here's how things have gone so far:
I collect 7 'milk' cartons, and check they are well washed out. It wasn't until I had cut them into two sections of two-thirds and one-third that I could ensure they were scrubbed clean of 'milk' residue.
In goes a couple of centimetres / an inch of horticultural grit, which I have at hand, to the base of the taller section to act as drainage. A couple of small holes are fairly carefully poked into two opposite sides, about at the top of the grit line for overflow drainage.
The top third, inversed, took a bit of shoving to get into the bottom section, but the result gives a snug and double thick walled container. What had been the pouring hole of the carton now becoming a drainage hole into the gravel.
Hole punch time. There's always something fun about using a hole punch - and a bit risky - will it offset and become an little bite in the top edge or actually become a nicely placed useable hole? Success! Into the top of each carton container a hole is punched to later attach a label identifying which seed is planted here.
Time to add seeding and potting compost. Now for me I want these little seeds to snuggle in soil that is loamy and naturally gathered from under their parent tree. But when I went out and about to do my gathering, this wasn't always possible and on top of that my 'how to' research suggests that other things like adding vermiculite aid germination. What happened to 'keep it simple keep it strong'?!
So I find myself standing in a local independent garden centre looking at seeding and potting compost. The one I find includes vermiculite which is recommended for germinating seeds, that's good. But unfortunately it comes in a mix which also contains peat and that is not a happy thing for me to use. Hmmm. Shall I just buy vermiculite? Do I know what to do with it? For tree seed germination? Do I just add it to the loamy compost? Does loamy compost need it? What to do! Well, against my usual action, I buy the smallest bag available of seeding and potting compost and vow to mix in as much natural loamy soil as I can. Already a dilemma of our times faces me! Really, I can do without judging myself on this.
Back home, and it's time to snuggle the gathered seeds into their germination beds.... and this, like all good bed-times, will have its own precious stories, shared seed by seed, post by post with you.
And if you were wondering who among the Trees has stepped forward to be part of this project with me, here they are:
Ash, Oak, Beech, Hazel, Hawthorn, Holly, and Apple.