Oh Dear ….. Germination Failure===Some Thoughts About Politics

A few days ago, I reported that I had germination of my baccy seeds. That was true – lots of little white spots on the surface of the compost, which is how they appear in the first instance. Sadly, all but a couple, which went on to start to develop, disappeared. After four days of waiting, I decided to start again.

A similar happening occurred some time ago, but, in that case, it was the compost which was crap. The seedlings appeared, but rapidly died off after a week or two. Another disaster was when the seeds germinated, but I kept the compost too warm, and the seedlings died.

On this occasion, I think that the compost was too cold and damp. Yes, the ‘seed tray’ was in a heated propagator, but I made the mistake of putting a tea towel under the tray to absorb surplus water (from seepage via the holes which I had punched in the bottom of the makeshift seed tray). That towel absorbed the water all-right, but it also absorbed the heat from the heating element. I noticed that the surface of the compost, where the seeds were lying, was quite cold.

So I have started again.

I have taken out the towel (which was saturated, believe it or not), lined the seed tray with cling-film, warmed the surface of the compost with hot water, and, after it cooled, sprinkled seeds over the surface again. The seed tray is now inside the heated propagator being kept warm.


The good news is that experience has taught me that there is little point in having the plantlets ready for planting out in April because the ground is too cold – not too cold to kill the plants, but cold enough to retard growth, while exposing the young plants to slugs and such. Better to plant out a little late rather than too soon.

It really is a most intriguing hobby.


I really do not understand politicians. It appears that Parliament goes into ‘purdah’ in a couple of weeks time. That means that Parliament ceases to function for all intents so that MPs can concentrate upon lobbying the electorate, aka trying to con the electorate. And yet, only yesterday, Cameron (PM) and Hunt (Health Sec) rushed through anti-smoker legislation. There is a stink about it somehow. Neither Cameron nor Hunt uttered a word about it. It was all left to the girl, Jane Allison, to politically enthuse. Remember that we have had three ‘Health Ministers’ (joking of course) over the last five years – Milton, Soubry and now Allison. It is almost as though each one was appointed for a specific purpose and then discarded.


I have a vague suspicion that there is a much greater game afoot. That there is a consensus among ‘The Political Elite’ that Multinational Corporations are too powerful and must be brought to heel. Tobacco Companies are easy meat, really. But then there are the fuel multinationals – oil and coal. What better way to to bring them under control than ‘climate change’? And what better way to control booze companies than minimum pricing?

It is easy to understand how people like Cameron and others who are really powerless when confronted by huge Multinationals, and who are convinced Common Purpose graduates, see no other option than to destroy the industries of multinationals. However, they know that it is not really possible if there are hundreds of independent States, and so they see the need for ‘One World Governance’.

It may be that such an ideal would be wonderful. For example, resources could be pored into Africa and the people could be dragged out of abject poverty and ignorance, and the material riches of that continent exploited for the benefit of mankind as a whole, but it will not happen because of corruption.

The WHO boss, Chan, who went to the tobacco control industry jolly in Moscow rather than the Ebola conference, has done it again. She has announced that bashing tobacco companies is more important than anything else. She demands that TCs must be shut down. Note that she advocates the destruction of SUPPLY. That is Common Purpose in action. It is gloriously totalitarian.

That might be possible, but it might also be the recipe for the mother of all civil wars. For example, if it is true that Common Purpose is widespread, then those people would be extremely hard to dislodge. Voting Tory, Libdem, Labour, UKIP, Monster Raving Loony, would make no difference at all.

It is hard to see any ‘political party’ in the UK which is not corrupt. By ‘corrupt’, I mean reliant upon propaganda rather than truth.


10 Responses to “Oh Dear ….. Germination Failure===Some Thoughts About Politics”

  1. audreysilk Says:

    Junican, I don’t know why you go through so much tinkering for your seedlings (unless you tell me that you keep them outside). I believe I’m about to go into my sixth year of growing and not one year did I have trouble with growing the seedlings by following the most simple process:

    Put potting soil (buy a bag at store) in the trays and thoroughly wet the soil. Let drain for one day.

    Sprinkle the seeds on top of soil. Mist using water bottle.

    Tent tray with plastic wrap (if you don’t have the trays that come with plastic lids). I use long Q-Tip sticks inserted into the soil to make the plastic tent.

    Put by sunny window.

    Mist soil whenever you think it might be getting dry.

    That’s it. No towels. No heater. No nothing but the trays, the plastic wrap (greenhouse effect), and the misting bottle.

    When the seedlings are well-developed you can remove the plastic wrap.

    • junican Says:

      “Put by sunny window.”
      There’s the rub, Audrey, dear. “Sunny window’ and ‘March in the UK’ do not coincide!
      But I take your general point.
      I didn’t intend to over-elaborate. I have done what you have suggested before. That is, sprinkle seeds on warm, damp compost in a plant pot and cover the pot with ‘cling film’ (which, I assume, is much the same thing as what you describe as ‘plastic wrap’). Place pot on shelf in kitchen which is over central heating radiator – works a treat.
      My big mistake was to over-elaborate, I admit. But what I did seemed sensible at the time. How else do we learn other than by our mistakes?

  2. kin_free Says:

    Your seedlings could be suffering from ‘damping off’, a common fungal disease.
    As soon as any seedlings appear, I spray with a copper-based fungicide called ‘Chestnut compound’ but this product has just been taken off the shelf for some reason – must be classed as toxic today but I’ve used it for years. I can only suggest that you ask for the current alternative at a garden centre.

    • junican Says:

      Thanks kf, but I doubt it. See reply to Audrey. What I did was the opposite of what I should have done – by using the towel to absorb water, I created a cold barrier between the heating element and the compost. Also, the compost was too wet and cold.

  3. The Blocked Dwarf Says:

    Apologies, Junican, if I have posted this before , blame Old Age.

    That is the oven used to toast the famous semois tobacco. I have nicked the picture from https://dutchpipesmoker.wordpress.com/tag/semois-tobacco/

    who has a several more pictures of it and the entire semois process in the lightbox gallery.

    • junican Says:

      Well, BD, I don’t understand the need for the wheels and levers, but I assume that they have a purpose! But what is the function of of the axe and wooden block? Oh… right… it is to chop the wood to feed the machine.
      One is impressed.
      By the way, I saw your link on the “Growing, etc….” site. I read the link with interest – the more information the better.
      As far as I understand, Burley is still cured over several weeks (about four?), and is not flue cured.
      As you are aware, I am growing Virginia and using my ‘curing box’ to flue cure the produce over about five days. Nothing is easy – I wish it was. It is all about heat, damp and ventilation.
      It can be done, and it can be done easily, I am sure.
      Toasting seems to be an easy and quick way to ‘age’ the stuff.

  4. Ed Says:

    I think the big problem with shop bought compost is the majority of it has gone crap since they’ve been forced to reduce the peat content in their mixes. I had a terrible experience with Levington’s compost (which used to be very good back in the day) a few years back and lost a lot of seedlings due to their product. These days I just make my own compost with peat, good topsoil, vermiculite and perlite with added fertilisers. I’ve kinda customised my own formula, tweaking it slightly over the years to suit different plants I’m growing, but if you are interested, there are several good “recipes” around on the net including the standard John Innes formulas. Here’s a couple of good pages;




    • junican Says:

      Well, Yes, Ed, provided that the compost needs to be precisely wonderful. I have a compost heap going at the moment – something that I have not done for years. There is a lot of vegetation from mowing refuse and sundry rotting leaves, plus tea bags. Although I am seventy five, I expect to live for some time yet. My attitude is that whatever amuses me, and whatever I find pleasurable is OK.

  5. Ed Says:

    In my case, it wasn’t about making the soil precise or wonderful but cost effective when growing large amounts of plants each season. I realised this when trying to grow extra tato’s in containers and tyres and the sheer volume of compost it takes to do it. All the commercial compost products have greatly reduced peat content and the volume replaced with peat substitutes such as coir or wood fibres. In either case, both these products rob your plants of available nitrogen (as they break down) and the end result is you have to add twice as much nitrogen (in liquid feeds) to prevent the plants from starving or looking sickly and yellow. I’m not on my own with this opinion, even Which magazine has condemned these peat free composts and tells you that you’re essentially wasting your money.


    As the OP mentioned, cheshunt compound and a host of other stuff gardeners have traditionally used in the past have been slowly taken off the market. While some of these products needed removing, a lot of them didn’t;


    Also note that the EU in 2012 has even attempted to remove thousands of well known seed varieties (veggies) from sale by introducing ridiculous, far reaching legislation. Hopefully this bill won’t go through, but we’ll have to wait and see. See here for more info;


    Hopefully, I’ve got your attitude to life, but these bastards do grind me down at times.


    • junican Says:

      Interesting reads, Ed. The compost that I am using is ‘reduced’ peat and claims to be good stuff. I used it last year and it was fine.
      Yes, they do get at you, but we somehow find work-arounds, don’t we?

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