Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why "direct seeding" is a great idea, as illustrated by a carob seedling

When you plant a seed directly in the ground and let it establish in place, you gain some serious advantages over plants started in flats or pots. This particularly true when you're talking about trees.

As Allen's dad's experiment proved, seeding in place doesn't have to be tough. You just pick a good spot, plant, water if you remember... and mow around it.

Check out this carob tree seedling I pulled out of a container on my windowsill:

This little guy is only a couple weeks old. Look at that amazing taproot! (I didn't even get a picture of the most impressive root in the batch - one of them was easily 16" long.)

When you put a little tree like this in a pot (like I'm going to do with this one), the taproot gets lost or tangled around in a circle. Some trees can grow new ones when they're transplanted - some can't.

Imagine if I'd planted this carob seed directly in the ground. It would already have its main root a foot deep - even though the plant itself is only about 3" tall. I bet it's already big enough to handle low rainfall.

I'm not sure if carobs will survive the cold of North Florida, since there's limited data on them available - but I'm going to try anyhow. I have ten seeds of which I've planted five thus far. Four germinated (after scarification and 24 hours' soaking it took about 10 days for them to come up) and one was a dud. I'm potting up the first four to let them get good and big before I put them out in the yard - but I think I'll put the remaining five directly in the ground and see what happens.

Since we can't grow chocolate here... I'm hoping for carob instead. Anyone ever see one growing this far north?

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At May 2, 2015 at 7:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen it growing up to 20' tall and bearing large amounts of pods in Modesto California.


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