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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Growing Chamomile

I promised Blur Ting to write about how one might successfully grow chamomile. I've been putting it off because I cannot get my hands on our camera. The Daughter is all of sixteen, and has run off to something called the Graces Camp. It is a 3-day sleepover where the young ladies are taught womanly graces. There is make-up class, catwalk class, dining class etc... There is a concert to put up and beautiful gowns, strings of pearls (fake, of course) and high heeled shoes. I expect she shall come home transformed from a gauche and ungainly oversized toddler into a composed and elegant young lady. With a prize like that in my sights, I have surrendered the use of our camera. So, I have no picture to show with my instructions on how to grow chamomile. And I shall have to do my very best to describe with words.

Chamomiles are temperate climate plants. They abhor the tropical rains. Of course, they do like a fair amount of rain but have you noticed how civilized spring rains are in Europe? Spring showers are comprised of small water droplets that fall gently and with ladylike decorum. Contrast them with the loud and rambunctious droplets that splash like pails of water upended on the hapless passerby, and one can understand why the genteel temperate plants are most offended by our impolite tropical rains. It is important therefore, to ensure that chamomiles do not suffer from any raindrop rudeness.

I do this using transparency foils arched over the breadth of my long, rectangular pots. Using 3 transparency foils per pot (fixed with scotch tape), I create a transparent roofing over the heads of my chamomile seedlings. The soil mix is composed of 50% perlite and 50% TREF compost. This is a mix that lets water through easily. Sow the seeds about 2 inches apart on top of the soil. Then, water from the bottom of the pot in order not to displace the seeds. To water from the bottom of the pot, stand the pot in a basin of water and allow the water to seep up to the soil surface from the drainage holes are the bottom of the pot.

Place the pot out in full sun and water again from the bottom of the pot every 5 days if there has been no rain at all. If rain has fallen, then don't bother to water at all. Once the seedlings are established, one may remove the transparency foils and leave the chamomiles free to bob their heads at the wind and the rain. They should be tough enough to stand up to some uncouth raindrops by then.

If you have a sunny balcony that hardly gets any rain, chamomile should grow beautifully for you even without the transparency foil. Just make sure that you water from the bottom of the pot.

May your chamomile grow for you and bless you with it's cheerful smiles and soothing flavours.

11 comments:

Blur Ting said...

Wow, so well written! I really enjoyed the creative writing. Chamomile sounds like a delicate young lady in need of tender loving care. Well, I am that gentle, you can find me in the grden digging with gusto, so I'll do my best :-)

Blur Ting said...

I mean I'm NOT that gentle :-P

petunialee said...

Heh heh heh! Nor me! Gentle I mean... What sort of business did you just start?

Blur Ting said...

Something to do with veggies. We're encouraging kids, in fact everyone, to grow veggies.

Ivana said...

While I'm amazed at your green fingers, I am just dying to see the girl's transformation... = )

petunialee said...

Blur Ting, that sounds lovely! I could put you in touch with my son's class teacher. You could integrate with their science class?

Ivana, even without make-up she already turns heads. She's a 16 year old gymnast after all. We were walking along on a beach in Mauritius and these French people just ket staring. I feel old and decrepit next to her youthful glow!!

Blur Ting said...

That would be great and it's part of our plan. But we're still developing the product and will have to talk to many schools thereafter.

petunialee said...

I wish you all the best. You have a great idea there!

Blur Ting said...

I sowed the chamomile seeds today. My goodness, they are tiny, almost invisible! Now wonder they need lots of TLC. I put them in a corner, sheltered from the rain and harsh sun.

petunialee said...

Actually, they need direct sun to germinate. Just make sure the rain doesn't get 'em.

Blur Ting said...

The corner does get some sun but I guess I'll have to be more diligent in moving it about whenever I'm at home. I have had tooo many lettuce seedling drownings I am extra cautious now.