My 2-week’s trip to Kunming ended just before year-end. It was a comfortable and relaxing trip. The warmth and the sunshine of the city Kunming and its daily temperature of 18-20C during my 2 weeks stay had unfortunately to be left behind, what I could bring back with me though were the many seeds I’ve always wanted to have, seeds such as Chinese Toon, Water Convolvulus (Water Spinach), Chrysanthemums, just to name a few.
A tree I’ve always wanted to grow in my garden is Chinese Toon, a fast-growing deciduous tree. Its new tender leaves can be used as a vegetable in the Chinese cuisine. When mature, the plant can grow into a big tree of 25 meters. People used to harvest young leaves (shoots) with a long bamboo cane. Pruning can get the size and the shape of the tree under control, I should reckon, but this is yet to be proven once I have the tree going in my garden. The winter cutting I took the year before failed to produce new growth. My trip to Kunming gave me the opportunity to look for Chinese toon seeds and I did find them.
There are two kinds of Chinese toon: a purple version and a green version. The purple one is said to be more aromatic and tender. There is no way to find out whether the seeds I brought back from Kunming were collected from the purple species or from the green ones but to sow them. These are rather big seeds that are difficult to germinate; they need to be pre-treated. Here is how I sowed the seeds and I prayed to God that it was the right way to do and that the seeds would germinate in a few days time. They did:
1.Soak the seeds in warm water (30C) overnight
2.Spread the soaked seeds on a wet kitchen towel and leave the seeds to germinate
3.Wait with patience
4.Once seeds germinate (took 6-7 days), pot them up with potting compost and water in well