Friday, September 21, 2007

The Fenugreek Experiment

I've sown hundreds of fenugreek seeds in the greenhouse (which is going to have heating over the winter). I got the seeds from the Chinese supermarket in Town, and soaked them for three days in a small bucket of water: they are hard and unseedlike in the packet, but resemble wheat seeds after you soak them.

I scattered the seeds on, and raked them over roughly, so that some are on the surface, others will be a little below. After 48 hours, most of the ones on the surface are sprouting, so I'm anticipating a good germination ratio. (I knew they would sprout. In Libya, I put some in a tin on soaked tissue paper: they indeed sprouted well and I'd trim them to put in salads as one would with cress. After a week or so of this hotel-room farming, though, I looked into the tin and was disgusted to see hundreds of little beetles squirming around the seedlings' roots, like that insect motif in Blue Velvet.)

The bed in the greenhouse is garden soil which hasn't been cultivated for several years - the idea of the fenugreek is to add nitrogen and organic matter to it.

This is experimental because of course it's winter, and you generally sow fenugreek in spring. The temperature will not be less than 10C with the heating on. It remains to be seen how the plants react to short winter days.