Fancy a bit of Kitchen Chemistry? Read on.
The following solution* is recommended to improve germination rates for seeds:
One level teaspoon of Cinnamon, and half a 300mg. (or equivalent) Aspirin dissolved in one litre of lukewarm water: allow to cool, and soak seed in solution for 1-2 hrs. before sowing.
You should achieve better rates of germination, and possibly improve the overall vigour of the plants. The solution can also be used for watering newly sown seeds or cuttings. I am trying this with a control group planted in the 'normal' way, and will comment on results later in the year.
My results: I found this significantly improved the germination of my parsnips.
Now the science:
Aspirin is a version of salicylic acid, which is a growth hormone found naturally in plants, and can assist their defence system, and act in a similar manner to rooting powder, assisting the plants resistance to cold, heat, pests, disease, and drought: sound too good to be true? Give it a try.
The Cinnamon works differently, being from tropical tree bark which has evolved to include antifungal and antibacterial chemicals, assisting problems such as damping off, and rotting in low light levels.
*Acknowledgements to James Wong
The following concoction is recommended as an organic insecticide:
Cut the zest (peel) of an orange into thin strips, and drop into a bottle of clean lukewarm water (I used a 2 litre capacity), give it a stir, and leave to cool (it will go cloudy). Remove the strips, filter if necessary to remove any sediment.
The oil in orange peel contains d-limonene, which is an insecticide, effective on fleas, aphids, mites some ants, wasps, and some flies, including a nerve toxin acting within minutes.
NOTE for some people and pets, it can be an irritant, so use with caution