Faye is shown here on the left and Kimberly is on the right.
One topic that they talked about was seed germination, and how knowledge of this not only helps farmers, but it can also help the home gardener. I enjoy growing lots of flowers, and I even grow some vegetables, fruits, and herbs on a small scale. For the experiment each one of the bloggers attending the Bean2Blog was given a ziplock bag, a heavy piece of paper that was moistened and folded into fourths, and 10 soybean seeds. We put the seeds inside the moistened paper, then placed them inside the ziplock bag with one corner left open. We were asked to bring them home, to put them in a warm place, and to check them after several days to see how many had sprouted. That was on Tuesday, and by Friday this is how mine looked.
If you look closely at my seeds, you can see that all 10 have sprouted for a 100% germination rate! This is exciting to me because from this I learned that you can check the quality of your seeds before you plant them.
I think this is a great way to find out if the seeds you plan to use are "good" seeds or "dud" seeds. Early in the spring this year I planted seeds from packets similar to these in two large patio containers. One container was for lettuce and the other was for spinach. The lettuce came up everywhere the seeds fell, but the spinach was very spaced, skippy and sparse. If I had tested my seeds for germination rate in advance of planting I would have known that I needed to use more spinach seeds than the directions indicated, and I could have avoided such a disappointing crop.
This germination rate test would be a fun way to get your school-age children involved in gardening too. Let them set up the tests and calculate the germination rate for you (even very young children can count sprouted beans), then let them help you plant the seeds.
Kimberly and Faye had several other useful ideas for us, and one was how to make your own skin softening balm. I'll be sharing their recipe for that in a post soon.