Germination of "Difficult" seeds - USDA method



Germination of "Difficult" seeds - USDA method

Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:56 pm

Some seeds can be more difficult to germinate then others, be it an older seeds, limited number of rare seeds or just plain "generally difficult" variety to begin with...

Wanted to share some info that my help some of you who has few of those special seeds that need of a little aid. Posted while back by an avid tomato grower:

http://tgrc.ucdavis.edu/seed_germ.aspx

I planted majority of the seeds on 02/20/2010, while most germinated in the matter of 2-4 days, there were some stragglers. While it is possible some of those seeds may still come up in few days, I seeded another small flat on Feb 27th, and today I see first signs of germination already (those stubborn ones are alive afterall).

I also noted an amazing (to me) transformation: After 30min of soaking in the 1/2 strength bleach solution, and thorough rinsing the seeds - dark "skin" of the seeds becomes completely translucent, revealing what I've never seen in the real life - anatomy of the seed! Curly little babies, and you can tell immediately which seeds are full of dormant life (and most likely to be viable) and which seeds are a waste...


Image


Would I use this method every time - no indeed, but for those "special need" seeds - works, work well!

Hope this article helps!

Regards,
D
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Duh_Vinci
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Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:54 am

Beautiful photo!
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rainbowgardener
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Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:32 am

Awesome!

Will that only work with tomato seeds?

I sowed some Rubine Brussels Sprouts, and the little guys germinated okay, about 30%, but they are 2007 seeds. I got them about a month ago, so I don't know storage on them

But, they sent up a weak stem, and soon as I took them out of the germination box, fell over dead within a couple hours.
The other kinds of brussels did not do this. But they are fresher seeds.


I am going to plant them again. And leave them longer this time.

But, has anyone had this issue? I noticed in the link they mentioned weak seeds.
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Ozark Lady
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Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:14 am

Wow, that's an incredible picture!
katylaide
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Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:44 pm

Aren't those little guys amazing? Like a little babies!

Ozark Lady wrote:...Will that only work with tomato seeds?...

Someone also mentioned that it works on Pepper seeds, but have not heard of anyone using it for anything else, besides, brassicas family seeds are sooooo tiny, it would be rather difficult to rinse them off I think?

Well, the results so far are very pleasing to me, germination in 3 days of the same seeds that have done nothing during routine seeding!

And Gixx - if you reading this - Black From Tula, this time, 4 seeds, 4 germinated, same seed source as the first round, and that makes me happy!

No germination yet on 3 varieties of the same batch, but this evening would be only 3 days from seeding, so I'll try to be patient! Though I must admit, these are among the ones I've been really looking forward to try:

Spudatula (PL version of Black Tula)
Berkley Tie-Dye Heart
Pink Berkley Tie-Dye

So that makes the "patience" somewhat a stretch :roll:

Regards,
D

EDIT - Last year many co-workers asked if I could share some plants of Black Krim and Cherokee Purple, when first, giving me a look "Are those eatable? They look like a bruise!" But after tasting them - story changed...

So I planted the seeds for giveaway plants on Sun evening after bleaching them - just opened a small germination box (Wawa Hot Dog plastic box that is, great for small batches of seeds)! Less than 48 hours = germination!
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Duh_Vinci
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Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:14 am

Windows to the life within -- amazing! Thanks for posting DV. :D

Just sowed the main tomato seed starts yesterday. Luckily, late last fall, I had stashed a couple of 3 gal pots of finished compost in the covered plastic composter. The my main compost pile is way too cold and SOGGY from the 24" snowmelt to shift out anything usable right now.
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applestar
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Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:57 am

That's pretty neat. =) I may try this with my next set of seeds.
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tn_veggie_gardner
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Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:08 am

That is AMAZING! I will definitely have to try that.

What all do you do to your tomato and pepper seedlings before you plant them? Do you soak them, use a heat mat, or a heat light to encourage the fast sprouting? Do you have them in window light or artificial light when they sprout....wait a second, I remember you said you keep them away from light when sprouting.

Sorry if I'm taking this a bit off-topic :oops:, but you have some fast germination rates 8).
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garden5
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Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:26 pm

applestar wrote:Windows to the life within...

Nicely said, spot on, Apple!

G5 - to be honest with you, for the most part, nothing special.

Soil-less Seed Starting Mix - Espoma (3 parts) with added worm castings (1 part)
Germination in the dark, heat mat, 1020 trays, dome lid on
Temperature inside the dome 82-83F
Seedlings go under the grow light as soon as they are germinated (no heat mat)
Transplanting into small containers when fist true leafs are established
Transplant them again into a larger containers about 4 weeks before planting into the garden.

That's about all. Before this Bleaching method, known difficult to germinate seeds I soaked in the black tea overnight, seems to help also, but this USDA method mentioned above - I think I will use for those "special" seeds from now on.

Regards,
D
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Duh_Vinci
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Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:25 pm

I have an excess of seeds that I saved last year, and since, I thought they were, defunct, because I didn't ferment them. I didn't keep the names... grrr. Mystery tomatoes... but they were o.p. I know that, cause I don't knowingly grow hybrids. Oh well, I got 100% germination. So, I really have an excess.

I have just got to try this bleach thing... I wanna see it.
Hey, did you magnify them alot? How did you get such a beautiful view?
I can see that they are larger than life. But, can you see them, before you take the photo and enlarge it?
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Ozark Lady
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Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:39 pm

You can definitely see them with the naked eye, but not in such detail. Picture is taken with 100mm 1:1 macro lens and 75mm extension tube, so you are right, definitely larger than the actual seeds...

Regards,
D
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Duh_Vinci
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Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:18 am

That is awesome D_V. I actually heard about this on another site the day after this was posted, ironic.

Congrats on the BFT's The one's I replanted (seed) came up rather quickly this time for me (no bleach though).

As usual most awesome pic bro.
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gixxerific
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Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:24 pm

Amazing photo! I might try it on my west burr gehrkins, because they are very slow to come out. On the other hand, now I got heat pad, so that might help too.
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Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:59 pm

Duh_Vinci,

I'm germinating seven heirloom varieties this year. I planted ten seed of each variety. Of the seven, only the Cuostralee is having a difficult time germinating. The seed has been planted now for fourteen days. I am thinking about trying the bleach wash method on some more Cuostralee seed and trying again. If the method works, why can't it be applied immediately after fermenting before drying and saving seed?

I also question the viability of the Cuostralee seed I received from a reputable seed company. I ordered all my seed from the same vendor at the same time. I received all my seed except the Cuostralee within ten days. It required an additional six weeks before the Cuostralee arrived. I'm wondering if my vendor may have acquired some old seed from a different vendor to fill my order.

The viability of some vegetable seed can be determined by the float test. Simply drop some seed in water and stir or shake the container. The seed that floats to the top is not viable. The seed that drops is viable. Will the method work with tomato seed?

Ted
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tedln
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Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:34 pm

tedln wrote:If the method works, why can't it be applied immediately after fermenting before drying and saving seed?

Ted, I have no scientific data to explain their suggestions for planting the seeds soon after the treatment, but purely by observation while utilizing this method, I can come up with the following:

Once the seeds are treated with bleach, seed shell becomes very very soft/pliable. And if planted immediately following the treatment, moist soil/soil-less mix keeps the seed shell soft, allowing the actual seedling to break free of this shell (once awaken). If treated seeds allowed to get dry again, the seed shell become dry and tough again, and germination probably would take almost as long as the seeds "not treated". Just a thought, but open to any suggestions...

tedln wrote:Of the seven, only the Cuostralee is having a difficult time germinating. The seed has been planted now for fourteen days... I'm wondering if my vendor may have acquired some old seed from a different vendor to fill my order...

While 14 days is non unheard of, at this point, I think I would definitely take a different venue, just as a back up plan. And if those first seeds germinate in few days - so be it a surprise. Most of the fresh, home grown seeds I'm use to seeing germination in 3-5 days (seven max, and mostly from commercial sources)... Anything longer - I become "impatient" =)

tedln wrote:The seed that drops is viable. Will the method work with tomato seed?

Ted, many say that it does work, but what I've noticed, once tomato seeds are dry, and introduced into a liquid - non treated seeds with plenty of fuzz on the tend to stay afloat for a while. With this bleaching method - no exception. But after 30 min of treatment, most seeds indeed sink to the bottom. But in addition, you can clearly see through semi-transparent skin of the seeds, which ones are full, and which are "blanks"

Good luck with your new batch, please let us know how it works for you! All the difficult to germinate varieties for me I've treated with bleach, and have germination on the second try (which makes me happy).

Regards,
D
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