I have questions… Episode 1: Chia, Parsley, Echinacea

The secret to productivity and getting stuff done, I am constantly told is accountability. And thus begins my new method to potentially get the website updated more often and keep it interesting of course. So I’m going to relay to you my planty questions of the moment and then I welcome your feedback while trying to get them answered.  If you have any information leading to the recovery of these answers or simply believe I’m mad, do let me know in the comments. So, without further ado, welcome to Episode 1.

chia seedsShould chia seeds be ground in order to access the nutrients?

Blah blah blah superfood, blah de blah blah everyone should be eating chia seeds… You’ve heard the spiel a thousand times before by people trying to sell you the next great wondrous superfood. I do like my chia seeds and on paper they look incredibly nutritious, but I’m wondering if adding them to bread recipes and smoothies may not be accessing all the potential nutrition. I’m thinking that all that mucilage on the outside, followed by seed coating is actually stopping us get at those goodly internal parts of protein, calcium, omega-3s, iron and vitamin E. And how does all that added gloop on the outside affect your digestive system, especially those that are already suffering from glugged up bits? Enquiring minds and stomachs need to know…

Does soaking parsley seeds actually speed up germination time?

I will carry out the experiment and let you know as so many people complain about the length of time it takes for parsley seeds to sprout. If not soaking, is there another way to speed those little slow-coaches up?

How long has my echinacea tincture been sitting on the bench?

There has been a post in the making for ages – echinacea tincture. I’m waiting for 6 weeks to be up to bring you the full story, but I forgot to put a label on it with the date I made it. My memory simply isn’t what it used to be. A special prize for anyone who can remind me when I started the brew.




  1. I always start my parsley seeds indoors, and they take no longer than any other seeds – usually a couple of weeks – probably because it’s warmer or the temperature is more consistent. Whilst imbibition is the first stage of germination, I can’t see why soaking parsley seeds would make a difference as I don’t think they have hard seed coats or chemicals that retard germination (there is some suggestion on the internet that they do, but nothing reputable). Thompson & Morgan says it’s down to temperature, and possibly immature embryos: http://www.thompson-morgan.com/parsley-article

  2. Thanks Emma. Strangely, this is one of my most frequently asked questions. I wonder if people are simply comparing them vegetable seeds, expecting similar results? But I have been intrigued and so I am determined to carry out the experiment and see what comes of it.

    Thanks for introducing me to your work. Now added to my Feedly 🙂

    • My botanist friend tells me there is a chemical that inhibits germination in parsley seeds; he thinks perhaps soaking (or sowing indoors and keeping moist) does leach the chemical out into the soil and thereby speed up germination. As you say, it looks as though some experimentation is in order!

  3. Gosh – that’s 2 comments in a row with emoticons… how very unlike me….