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I'm very fortunate. My alium plants self-set round the mother plant. Maybe you could just try sprinkling some on a small piece of ground and sew some in a pot. I'm not sure about covering the seeds because mine self set but a light sprinkle of compost over some of the pot may give you the best of both worlds.
Sowed my allium seeds about 2 weeks ago - any idea how long they take to germinate?
I thought I had posted something on sowing Allium seeds, I certainly did on the old Beeb site.
They need a cold period to germinate so, they ought to germinate in Spring.
Collecting the seed is easy, when the little capsules at the top of the old flower stem begin to open to reveal little black seeds, is the time to collect and sow. Turn the seed head and stem upside down in a paper bag and let the seeds fall out. If they refuse to then you need to split the cpasules and release the seeds that way.
This is the peice I wrote for the Beeb many moons ago.
Sow the seed fresh. It germinates better straight from the plant rather than being dried off.
Cover lightly with grit, gravel or whatever rather than compost.
Sow in a deep pot rather than a seed tray (reasons later).
Leave exposed to weather. They need a period of cold followed by warmth to initiate germination.
When (if?) they germinate do not be in a hurry to p rick them out. This is the reason for deep pot rather than seed tray. They have only one root to begin with and if it is damaged, it dies and a new one has to be produced from the base of the seedling. usually they die.
Feed the seed pot with dilute Baby Bio type stuff, until the leaves go yellow then allow the pot to dry off.
Repotting may be done when they are dormant. Some types never really go dormant so be careful.
I often do not repot until they have had another seasons growth. Remember many of them actually grow in late winter/early spring.
Cannot think of anything else for the moment.
Not as hard as it seems.
Thanks Bergill - Oops - have put in trays - may see if I can move into pots as they havent germinated yet. Will also put them outside rather than pamper them in my conservatory!
tucker2010: http://www.piteba.com/eng/index_eng.html seems to be the machine for the job, but I found that via instructables and the write-up says you have to have black oil sunflower seeds not the munchy kind, so grow from bird food (25kg for £42, 2.25kg for £6.25), not from a tiny packet from the health food shop (500g for £3.19).
The manufacturer's website says minimum 25% oil and this page says that includes striped sunflower seeds ... barely ... as well as black sunflower seeds and also peanut, safflower and nyjer.