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Seed Germination – Temperature

Early Warning… This article will not please the ‘impatient gardener’.

Nevertheless, this is what happens so we must suck it up and realise that we can work with nature and the last few million years of development, or fail.

All seeds have their optimal germination temperature.
Most seeds will germinate either side of their absolute preferred temperature but the further away from that middle point that you get, the slower the process of germination will be.

The slower the process, the higher the chance of disease, damping off (rot at soil level) or simply rotting before germination is complete.

The early stages of germination are the most important to success or failure so it makes sense to keep this period of time as short as possible.
Chemical gardening encourages you sow when you feel like it and to this end, supply seed that has been coated with fungicides to hopefully prevent the decomposition of the seed while it waits for germination temperatures to reach optimum.
Unfortunately, this does not always help and the resulting crop can be just as weak or stunted as the seedlings exhaust their supply of carbs before they can photosynthesise.

Now, it is possible to start your seeds indoors if it’s too cold outside but you must keep in mind that transferring them outside once they are established will probably quite a shock, so be gentle.

Many popular greens like the brassicas, lettuce and spinach’s are best grown during the cooler months as they do not ‘bolt’ to seed from the heat of summer and are therefore more useful as food during the cooler or interim months. So, sowing the seed towards the end of Autumn is a good idea as the temperature is hot enough for germination and the cooler days of Winter are better for steady growth.
While it is a good idea to take note of suggested planting and sowing guides often provided by gardening magazines and websites, it is just part of the story for you.
You need to tailor your sowing to the particular climate that ‘you’ live in. Many cities are heat sinks, many suburbs are wind traps, and often your area will not actually fit properly into the generalised climate zones. So, you need to notice and adapt.

The table below shows some observations that demonstrate an emerging pattern and consistent behaviour of seed that is easy to understand and extrapolate across the many varieties that you are interested in growing.

While the list is quite small compared to the variety of plants you are able or willing to grow in your garden it does show quite clearly that if you are prepared to work ‘with’ the seed you be successful in your particular project.

Some seeds like Okra will withstand a long period of time in your seedraise mix without germination but most of the softer seeds such as the lettuce’s, Chinese Greens, and the melons will begin to rot after a week or so.
In cases like this waiting with fingers crossed will not help.

The urban myth that Nature knows best and that the seeds will eventually strike if left alone only applies if you do as nature does and ‘play the numbers’ by ensuring that hundreds of seeds are left to germinate of their own accord.

Download the article for reference. Seeds104

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The Awesome Aloe

Always referred to as a healing plant Aloe vera will sit comfortably on any windowsill.
Not only is it handy indoors to soothe any kitchen or sunburns, this succulent will purify the air of formaldehyde and benzene, found in varnishes, floor finishes, and detergents.
They last for years and years and ‘pup’ regularly so that you will be able to naturally grow as many as you need to.

Now, Aloe vera is not a cactus and is more closely related to Asparagus than to any of the cactus family but it does love to live in heat and even though it will survive drought conditions, that doesn’t mean that it likes it.
Their particular version of photosynthesis means that they will only release tiny amounts of water at night when the gulp down the carbon dioxide voraciously.

Aloin is the bitter principle of the plant and it sits just below the underside of the leaf skin. Be careful not to include the dark or deep yellow gel when you are collecting the latex as we describe above.
If you are an avid fan of the Italian Amaro liquers like Averna, Ramazzotti, Lucano, and Montenegro then you will probably enjoy a little of the Aloin as it is a common ingredient in that particular style of beverage.
You really don’t want to include the bitter taste into your extraction, accidentally..
Although Aloe vera has been used as an ingredient in laxative formulations for centuries it has no legal credibility as no pharmaceutical companies have bothered to demonstrate it’s properties using ‘acceptable’ methods of testing.


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Deciding what Vegetables to Plant

This is a much more important decision than you would think on the surface.
Deciding what you can fit into the space that you have is important but the other considerations that you must include are value for money and nutritional value to you and your family.
Vegetable prices have been so erratic and unstable recently that it is almost anyone’s guess what next week will be like but here are some lists to help you decide.
Firstly here is a list in order of the ‘space’ occupied by the plant for the $ benefit derived.
1. Tomatoes
2. Rhubarb
3. Bunching onions
4. Leaf lettuce
5. Squash
6. Onion bulbs
7. Asparagus
8. Podded peas
9. Beans
10. Carrots
11. Capsicum
12. Kohl rabi
13. Chard
14. Mustard Greens
15. Spinach
You will notice that I have omitted potatoes, Brassicas, celery, corn, squash and melons because the space they consume for the produce derived is only worth it if you have space to waste which very few people do.
Secondly, the nutritional value, including fibre of the vegetables that you plant is profoundly important.
Here is another list of ‘nutritional value for space occupied:
1. Ceylon Spinach
2. Lablab beans
3. Peas
4. Spinach
5. Sweet potatoes
6. Kale
7. Mustard greens
8. Chinese Mini Cabbage
9. Cos Lettuce
10. Perpetual Spinach
11. Amaranth
12. Swiss chard
13. Tomatoes
14. Corn
15. Yam Bean
16. Potatoes
17. Carrots
18. Asparagus
19. Aubergine
20. Onion & Radish

Now, you need to think about what you actually ‘like’ to eat and then your decision is ‘good to grow’.

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Coriander all season herb

Coriandrum sativum

Originally from the Ukraine or Turkey, Coriander or Cilantro has been welcomed by every culture it has touched, especially the Indian sub-continent.
Also known, for some odd reason, as Chinese Parsley.

You can quite comfortably sow Coriander at any time of year but you must keep in mind that it does not respond well to drying out at any time of it’s growth cycle.
Basically, if you are growing it at home and can maintain it you will not have any problems with it ‘bolting’ to seed too early unless you just forget to water it.
Part shade, especially in the afternoons will slow it down and allow for more robust growth of the plant.

Coriander is an excellent forage plant for bees, especially Australian Native bees but as the flowers are self fertile, that is simply an added bonus.
Unfortunately harvest of the seed is a tricky business as they never seem to mature at the same rate.
Green seed has a rather unpleasant aroma (hence, ‘koris’ Greek for ‘stinking bug’ ) and is not great for cooking at this stage, so you are best not to shake the seed from the umbels until they are on the brown side of khaki in colour.
Whether you are harvesting the seed for growing or for cooking it is always wise to ensure they are thoroughly dry so don’t pop them into a sealed container for a week or so after harvesting.

Of the two major types of Coriander, the round light brown seeds are European Coriander and the golden oval shaped seeds are the Indian version of the plant.
Both types are wonderfully heirloom as the herb has been cultivated and traded for thousands of years.
The two types will probably not cross pollinate in the same garden and any new plants will just revert to either one or the other rather than a perfect combination.

The fresh young leaves are excellent in everything from salads to stews but the seeds can be used with fruit (baked, stewed or preserved), fish and other meats including sausages and vegetable dishes, curries, breads, biscuits and cupcakes and will even lend their warm, aromatic signature to oatmeal porridge, pickles, ratatouille and many liqueurs.
Pungent, freshly chopped young roots are essential in much Thai cuisine.

On the medicinal front Coriander has a long history as a mild sedative and a digestive aid to soothe flatulence and ease migraines as well as the popular use of the essential oil in massage oils for facial neuralgia and muscle cramps.
Commercially it is widely used in toothpaste and perfumes.

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Urban Gardens

I have always been thoroughly impressed by the confident look of a gardener as they emerge from the garden bearing the fruits of their labour in one or both hands or even a basket full.
There is nothing quite like trying to look nonchalant while walking back to the kitchen buzzing with self pride that you have achieved an edible result from a little patch of dirt.
The same feeling emerges when faced with a unwell child or visitor and walking out to get an herb that you know you can steep in some boiling water and will help their problem.

Now, as the population of Australia becomes more and more urban and suburban, we need to retink just how to achieve this in different, specific ways.
Great tasting produce is all in the preparation. The soil, the nutrient and the environment in which they grow.
Most fruit, vegetable and herb prefer a sunny, sheltered position with no competition from surrounding trees.
If this is not possible in your case then we just need to think differently about what to plant first.
Backyard. Allotment. Veranda. Balcony. Window box or sil. Completely Indoor.
A good pH neutral,well draining loam soil that is light and airy is essential to produce healthy full-flavoured fruit and veg.
Organic matter
We all produce plenty of organic matter that once mixed into the soil or used as mulch on top will adequately feed your plants to then feed you. There you go, the circle of life.
It is always better to start with seed than seedlings purchased that have more than likely been grown a long way away, in an artificial environment and of the easiest variety of plant to produce en-masse.
If you buy seed, not only will you have a seedling that is already prepared for your environment, but you will have started the process that concludes with saving seed from your own plants to sow next season.
A great habit to start.
Seedlings should always be grown in a protected environment so the purchase of seed raising trays and boxes is rarely a bad idea.
Growing root vegetables from seed is also the only way you can be sure to avoid the curled, bent or retarded root system that so often happens when attempting to transplant a tray of carrot seedlings.
Your plants need to be protected from insects, birds, animals and a variety of mollusc pests, strong winds, hail, flood and blistering sun.
Fruit and veg benefit from being regularly fed and watered , feeding does not always mean feeding the same thing over and over. You need to vary the diet to suit the season.
Leaf veges such as the lettuce, cabbage and mustard greens need more nitrogen for healthy leaf growth, whereas tomatoes will need more potassium once fruit starts to form.
Choose the best varieties to suit your environment and the season.
Once you are completely aware of the temperature, wind, humidity and climate in your specific micro environment it will be an easy thing to plan your planting.

Please feel free to download the expanded article as a pdf file. UrbanGardening

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When Spring approaches….

Now, we are on the tail end of Winter and it was a dry one for most of the country, but, on the positive side, the cold, dry atmosphere will have decimated a lot of pupating and developing pests that seem to take the wonderful edge off a good Spring.
For many gardeners Winter will have left the Vege and Herb gardens a little worse for wear, but these things are easily remedied with a pair of cutters, digging fork and the wheelbarrow.
Now is a great time to sow your Spring Annuals to ensure a bumper crop. Coriander, Basil, Tomatoes, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Beans, Strawberry, Nasturtium, Chinese Greens and Asparagus.
If frost and chilly mornings are still on the cards, then be sure to sow your seed indoors or at least out of the wind and frost.
Sowing early will ensure that you will use efficiently the best part of Spring for robust growth. Don’t be tempted to fertilise just yet though as the plants can only use it when they are naturally active.
For edible Spring Flowers, sow Borage, Calendula, Heartsease, Nasturtium and Sage.
For Chinese Stir fry and salad, sow Pak Choi, Mizuna, Radish, Birds Eye Chilli and Bitter Melon.

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Seed Viability Testing

Germination of seed and it’s viability for germination often seems a bit like ‘jibberish’ when quoted on seed packets and does not always seem to apply to the average gardener.

Here at Beautanicals’ Australian Gardener farm we test every crop of seed that we harvest as soon as it is dry and ready to be packed into our seed packets.
To illustrate our process, the image here quite clearly shows the very basic, practical nature of our viability testing.

We sow 100 seeds (in this case Coffee seeds) into 100 tubestock pots filled with seed raise mix and vermiculite. No fertiliser is added as the nature of germination means that it is not needed. We use 100 as a base measurement simply because of the real percentage conversion convenience. 10 seeds tested is only 10, not really 100%.
As you can see from the photo, not all seeds have emerged at exactly the same time and so, within the 100 pots, some seedlings are 21 days old while some are only 3 days old. But 100 seeds have germinated. It doesn’t get more successful than that.
So, consequently, we are very confident that the seed is good for sale. This process happens with every crop of every variety of plant that we sell as seed.
Rarely do we have seed left over from a previous harvest as we budget our planting carefully due to the wide range that we grow, but each previous crop is discarded as a new one is ready.
This is why we are so confident (and sometimes a little arrogant) that you are purchasing seed that will germinate as we, personally, have been successful with it.

There are a few practical considerations before purchasing seed that must be addressed, as they are often used as excuses.
1. Dormancy. Only some seed enters a dormant state. You need to be specific.
2. Floating seed. The idea that only seed that sinks to the bottom is viable is just so much rubbish.
3. Locally grown seed is better. Not always. Seed viability reduces with age. Seed from overseas is most likely quite old as, practically, it is harvested, stored, wholesaled, stored, freighted in storage, eventually stored in a Retail environment and left there until someone buys it. As all plant types are very individual, ‘sow by’ dates that are general due to printing convenience, are just padding. Most seed packets sit in a Retail environment for months to years, so local or not is no guarantee.
4. Testing seed in some wet tissue paper. Never! This technique for conveniently trying to germinate seed in folded paper put into a plastic bag is just a recipe for frustration and disenchantment. We only ever germinate seed the way that nature has carefully prepared the seed to do so. Why some people keep trying to invent new techniques baffles me when the old technique is not broken.
5. Organically grown seed will produce organic plants. No! There is no evidence to suggest that organically grown seed is in any way superior. The organic growing of the plant will produce organically sound fruit or vegetable but it’s the growing that makes the difference. Many Retail Nurseries will buy organically grown seed and then produce their seedlings in a completely non-organic way, but will proudly say on the tag that there is some organic component to the seedling you are buying. Not legally but morally wrong.

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Companion Planting

It seems true you know, that good neighbours create a great Garden.

Experiment with companion planting as there are some very unusual combinations that exist outside the usual suspects.

We do understand that the idea of companion planting has absolutely no supporting, scientific validation and, by all accounts, plants are only concerned with their own survival and well-being. The notion has been part of the gardening culture since the 50’s but, as with many nice ideas it is upheld by a ‘belief’ system rather than a ‘provable’ system.
As with most beliefs, it can be vigorously supported even in the face of evidence to the contrary. So, Gardening Science can comfortably state that there is no evidence that some plants are beneficial or harmful to others and this is so.
Our advice is that it can’t hurt, (even the Black Walnut has been reprieved) so go ahead and make your own observations.
Here are some happy companions that we have have noticed and the list will grow as our observations increase.

Alfalfa Everyone except tomatoes.
Angelica Nettle and Dill.
Anise Coriander, Peppers, eggplant,  lettuce, kale, cabbage and beans.
Basil Tomato, peppers, oregano and asparagus.
Borage Beans, strawberry, eggplant, cucumber, squash, tomatoes and cabbage.
Caraway Strawberries, peas, radishes, beans, corn.
Catnip Eggplants.
Chamomile Cabbage and kale, cucumber, onion.
Chervil Radish, lettuce and broccoli.
Chives Carrots, tomatoes, brassica family, melons, peppers, lettuce, pumpkin and spinach .
Comfrey Around established Trees.
Coriander Anise, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, tomato, beans, peas, potatoes, nasturtiums, corn, catmint and roses.
Dill Brassicas, broccoli, cabbage, corn, eggplant, fennel, lettuce, onions, cucumbers.
Fennel Does not play well with other herbs and Vege. Keep it on it’s own.
Flax Carrots and potatoes.
Garlic Peas, brassicas, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, parsley, Chinese cabbage and potatoes.
Hyssop All Brassicas.
Lavender Chamomile, lettuce, brassicas, onions, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary, basil, lemon balm and squash.
Lemon Balm All mints, basil, oregano, chives, tomatoes, lettuce, okra, cabbage, carrots, radish, squash, berries, fruit trees, rock melon, watermelon, marjoram, sage, thyme and parsley.
Lemon Grass Most herbs and vegetables.
Lemon Verbena Alfalfa, lemon grass, fruit trees and other herbs.
Marjoram Eggplant, carrots, cucumber, peppers, loofahs, pumpkins, radish, strawberries and tomatoes.
Mint Brassica family
Oregano Tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cabbage and cucumbers.
Parsley Asparagus, corn, beans, broccoli, carrots, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach, strawberries and tomatoes.
Peppermint Alliums, brassicas, cabbage, peas, tomatoes – in general the same as mint.
Rosemary Cabbages, beans, brassicas, carrots, thyme and sage.
Rue Goji’s and lavender.
Sage Brassicas, rosemary, kale, cabbage, beans,  carrots, strawberry, tomato, marjoram.
Spearmint Onions and Garlic’s, cabbage, peas and tomatoes.
Stinging nettle Chamomile, mint,tomatoes, valerian, angelica, marjoram, sage and peppermint.
Tarragon Everyone.
Thyme Lavender, cabbage, onion, sage, tomato, eggplant, salad burnet, potatoes and strawberries.
Valerian Mints, bee balm, chamomile, calendula and other flowers.
Wormwood (Artemisia) Brassicas and carrots.
Yarrow Cucumbers, lemon verbena, marjoram and oregano, corn, melons, roses, tomatoes.


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PinYin to Common Name List

For ease of reference, the table below has been ordered alphabetically by pin yin name.
PinYin is the official phonological system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet.
Other names for the herbs are then easy to identify.
I have made no reference to the Pharmaceutical name as it is not within our scope to discuss TCM as a therapy but simply to ensure the the plant discussed in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the plant that we grow for seed.
I have only included in this list, the plants that we grow.

Some listed, but without a hyperlink to the seed page, indicates that we do not grow sufficient quantity to harvest for seed yet. Stay tuned!!

Pinyin Common Name Latin
ba ji tian Brahmi Bacopa monniera
ba la gui cha  ma dai cha Yerba mate Ilex paraguariensis
ba xian cao Cleavers Galium aparine
bai bian dou Lablab Bean Dolichos lablab
bai guo Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba, L.
bai jie cai Greater Celandine Chelidonium majus
bai jie zi Mustard Sinapis alba
bei chai hu Bupleurum Bupleurum chinense
beng da wan, han ke cao Gotu Kola Centella asiatica L.
bi bo Long Pepper Piper longum
bi qi Water Chestnut Eleocharis dulcis
cai ji Globe Artichoke Cynara scolymus
can dou, hu dou Broad Bean Vicia faba
cang er zi Cocklebur Xanthium strumarium
chan su Cane Toad Bufo bufo gargarizans
chang chun teng Common Ivy Hedera helix
che qian cao Japanese Plantain Plantago major
chi xiao dou Mung Bean Phaseolus radiatus
chou cao Rue Herb Ruta graveolens.
chuan da huang Rhubarb Rheum officinale
ci wu jia Siberian Ginseng Eleutherococcus senticosus
da mai  mai ya Barley Hordeum sativum
da jiao hua Cooking Bananas Musa paradisiaca
di dan cao, ku ao, ku ban Common Thistle Cirsium ovalifolium
dong gua ren, dong gua zi Winter Melon Benincasa hispida
dou shu, sha ge Yam Bean Pachyrhizus erosus
fan mu gua PawPaw – Papaya Carica papaya
fan shi liu Common Guava Psidium guajava
fu xiao mai Wheat Triticum aestivum
gan cao Chinese Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra
gan shu Sweet Potato Ipomoea batatas
gan zhe shao Sugar Cane Saccharum Officinarum
gan, chen pi Mandarine Citrus nobilis
gan,  chen pi Bitter Orange Citrus aurantium
gang song Weeping Coast Myrtle Baeckea frutescens L.
gou qi zi ; di gu pi Chinese Goji Lycium chinense
gou qi zi ; di gu pi Goji Lycium barbarum
gou zhua dou Velvet Bean Mucuna cochinchinensis
gua di Rockmelon Cucumis melo
guan ye lian qiao St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum
gui zhen cao Cobblers Pegs Bidens pilosa
hai feng teng Japanese Pepper Piper kadsura
he ye Sacred Lotus Leaf Nelumbo nucifera
hei zhong cao zi Nigella Nigella sativa
hong hua Safflower Carthamus tinctorius
hou po Magnolia Magnolia  officinalis
hu jiao Black Pepper Piper nigrum
hu lo fu Purple Carrot Daucus carota
hu lu ba Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum
hu sui, yuan sui, xiang cai Coriander Coriandrum sativum
ji Shepherds Purse Capsella bursa–pastoris
jia ye shu Butcher’s Broom Ruscus aculeatus
jia ye song guo Echinacea Echinacea angustifolia
jia zhu tao Oleander Nerium incidum
jian hua, ba wang hua Dragonfruit Hylocereus undatus
jiang Ginger Zingiber offcinale
jiang huang Turmeric Curcuma Longa
jiao gu lan Immortality Vine Gynostemma pentaphyllum
jie geng Balloon Flower Platycodon grandiflorum
jie gu mu Elder Sambucus nigra
jie zi Mustard Greens Brassica cernua
jin yin hua Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica
ju hong, chen pi Pomolo Citrus maxima
ke fei Coffee Coffea Arabica
ku gua Bitter Melon Momordica charantia
ku zhu Bamboo Phyllostachys bambusoides
kuan dong hua Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara
kui hua Sunflower Helianthus annuus
la jiao Bird’s Eye Chilli Capsicum annuum
lai fu zi Radish Raphanus sativus
li zhi he Lychee Litchi chinensis
lian zi, lian xin Sacred Lotus Nelumbo nucifera
liang dang, tian xian zi Henbane Hyoscyamus niger
long yan Longan Euphoria longana
lu e mei Chinese Plum Prunus mume
luo shen hua, luo shen kui. Rosella Hibiscus sabdariffa
man jing zi Chinese Vitex Vitex trifolia
man tuo luo Datura Datura stramonium
mao gen Kunai or Blady Grass Imperata arundinacea  Cyr.
mao xu cha, shen cha Cat’s Whiskers Ocimum Aristatum
mei gui hua Dog Rose Rosa rugosa.
mo li hua Tea Jasmine Jasminum sambac
mu shu Cassava Manihot utilissima
nan jiang Galangal Languas galanga . Alpinia galanga
nan tian zhu Sacred Bamboo Nandina domestica
pu gua Bottle Gourd Lagenaria siceraria
ri ben chuan xiong Cinidium Cnidium officinale
shan nai Lesser Galangal Kaempferia galanga
shan yao Wild Yam Dioscorea batatas
shan zhi zi Gardenia Gardenia florida
shang lu Pokeroot Phytolacca acinosa
she gan Leopard Lily Belamcanda chinensis
shen luo le Tulsi- Holy Basil Ocimum sanctum
shi da gong lao Mahonia Mahonia japonica
shu wei cao Sage Salvia officinali
shui fei ji St. Mary’s Thistle Silybum marianum
shui qie Ashwagandha Withania somnifera
shui xian Paperwhite Jonquil Narcissus tazetta
si gua luo Angled Luffa Luffa acutangula
si gua luo Smooth Loofa Luffa cylindrica
su mu Caesalpinia Caesalpinia sappan
su xing hua, da mo li hua Common Jasmine Jasminum officinalis
tan hua. Night Blooming Cactus Epiphyllum oxypetalum
tian hu su Dwalf Pennywort Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides
tong hao Garland Chrysanthemum  Chrysanthemum coronarium
tu jing jie Wormseed Chenopodium ambrosioides
tu mu xiang Elecampane Inula helenium
wang bu liu xing Soapwort Saponaria vaccaria
wang jiang nan zi Cassia Cassia occidentalis
wu qing Rapeseed Canola Brassica rapa
wu zhao jin long Morning Glory Ipomoea cairica
xi gua Watermelon Citrullus vulgaris
xi shu guo Noni Morinda citrifolia
xi ye bai tou weng Wind Flower Pulsatila vulgaris
xia ku cao Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
xiang fu zi Nut Grass Cyperus rotundus
xiang lin tou.. Screwpine Pandanus amaryllifolius .
xiang mao Noosa Native Curculigo ensifolia
xiang ru California Poppy Elscholtzia patrini
xiao bai ju Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium
xiao hao Barberry Berberis vulgaris
xiao suan mo Sheep Sorrel Rumex acetosella
xie cao Valerian Valeriana officinalis
xun ma Nettle Urtica dioica.
xun ma Stinging Nettle Urtica urens.
ya ma, hu ma Flax Linum usitatissimum
ya pian Poppy Paparver somniferum
yang gan ju German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
yang hui xiang Anise Pimpinella anisum
ye tang hao Tall Fleabane Erigeron sumatrensis
yi mu cao;  chong wei zi Chinese Motherwort Leonurus heterophyllus
yi tang Sugar cane seed Saccharum Granorum
yi yi ren Job’s Tears Coix lacrym-jobi.
yong jiu hua (la ju) Curry Plant (Grey) Helichrysum italicum
yu gan zi Indian Gooseberry Phyllanthus emblica
yu shu shu, yu mi xu Corn Zea mays
yuan wei Wall or Water Iris Iris tectorum
ze lan Bugle Lycopus
zhang nao Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora
zhi ma; hu ma ren Sesame Sesamum indicum
zi ran Cumin Cuminum cyminum
zi su Perillia Perilla frutescens
zi zhui ju, zi hua song guo ju Echinacea Echinacea purpurea



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Common Germination Problems.

The most common causes of seeds not germinating are:
1. Soil was too heavy (Clay).
2. Soil was allowed to dry out. (Only once is enough to kill the emerging seed)
3. Seeds were not given enough time to germinate before sower gave up. (Many seeds
have slow or erratic germination.)

The most common causes of seedling loss are:
1. Damping off, caused by over watering or fungi.
2. Using containers that don’t hold enough soil. (Containers need to be at least 6cm deep and
filled to the top with seed-raise mix.)
3. Using potting mix, common garden soil, or previously used soil. (It’s best to start fresh
each time to avoid fungi, etc.)
4. Insufficient air circulation.
5. Planting in previously used containers that were not properly cleaned. (Wash containers in
a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water before re-using.)
6. Overcrowding. If you’ve planted too many seeds and they’re all competing for space and resources.
7. Introducing seedlings to full sun or outdoor conditions too quickly (not “hardening off”).