Tonio
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Cotyledon stuck in seed

Whats up with the cotyledon getting stuck in the seed?

Some seeds have popped up on tomato and peppers, but some are stuck in the seed.

Should I coax them out, or is this a condition of the seeds, or prep ? I am using EB Stone seeds starter mix- which is basically peat and perlite, some vermiculite. I added some extra perlite and vermiculite(fine ).Using distilled water for moistening. Iv'e tried 72 cell and community plastic tubs, and does not seem to matter.

T
San Diego / Z10
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TheRipeTomato
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Manually pop them out. Humidity and seed age and other fatcors can affect this.....we always just pop them out manually without any ill effects.

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rainbowgardener
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Personally when I have seedlings, with the cotyledons still stuck in the seed coat, I just give them a day or two to free themselves. Most often they do. If not, at least the leaves will be bigger, giving you more to work with.

The issue is that unless you are very careful, sometimes trying to take the seed coat off, it can tear the leaves off with it. That's the only leaf surface the plant has at that point and if it loses too much of it, it will just die. Once the leaves are bigger, with the seed coat just stuck at the tip, it is easier to just pop it off. And if the tip of the leaf comes off, it still has leaf surface to keep going on.

But yes, if after 2-3 days of sprouting, it hasn't worked itself loose, you probably want to help it along. Those leaves need to open up to the light.

I always find that some need help getting loose from the seed coat and some don't, even amongst a set of identical seeds planted identically. So just some quirk of individual variability, how tough the seed coat was, how well it got moistened, angle it popped up at, who knows?
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applestar
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I have yet to find consistency among the sprouted stuck in seed shell seeds. sometimes, it seems to help to keep spraying them so the shells don't harden up. Sometimes, I think the seeds weren't planted deep enough or were planted in too loose soil mix and the seed shells didn't get sufficient "friction" and moisture to remove them. I sometimes think another possibility is the soil mix had dried a little too much and the seedlings had insufficient moisture at the critical time to fill out the cotyledons.

Some seeds like pumpkin cotyldons look so stuck and impossible to come out of the hard shells, but they manage somehow. Most seedlings are pretty brittle and easy to pinch or break off at the stem immediately below the cotyledon (hypocotyl? I think). If the cotyledon is mostly out and just the tips are stuck you might be able to pull on the shell and they'll slip out.

Overall, I tend to think that if the seed lacked the vigor to escape the seed shells on their own then maybe it just wasn't meant to grow... (wow that sounds kinda harsh when written out like that, but I'm talking about plant seeds OK?) Just IMHO

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Ruffsta
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i've removed them manually with no problems resulting.. just be very very gentle.
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Tonio
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Thanks for the replies!!

I have coaxed a few that are stuck at the tips, and appear to be fine. Some are totally stuck inside the shell- few of those I tried clumsily ( is that a word LOL), but I could'nt do it gently enough :evil:

Good tips- perhaps I should pre soak the seeds, or keep a wetter mix during the germination period. I have slight algae issues after germination, so obviously I'm not watering correctly.

T
San Diego / Z10
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dustyrivergardens
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moisten a q-tip wet it a few times be gentle. works pretty good .

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GardenRN
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This is tedious, but if it's a seedling that I am particularly wanting to keep, I dip my finger in water and place a drop on the seed coat. It will balance believe it or not. Do that a few times a day. The drop is slowly absorbed by the seed coat and by doing it multiple times a day it keeps it wet. If by 2 or 3 days it hasn't fallen off by itself, I take a pair of tweezers and give the seed coat a slight squeeze on the sides where it kind looks like there's a seem. That opens the hole a bit more and loosens the grip. At this point I slowly pull it off and it usually comes right off. If it pulls off the cotyledon at this point I just chalk it up to "it wasn't meant to be" and was probably going to be a weak plant.

I agree with Applestar on that one. Survival of the fittest.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

Tonio
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GardenRN wrote:This is tedious, but if it's a seedling that I am particularly wanting to keep,

SNIP

I agree with Applestar on that one. Survival of the fittest.
Wow, this is tedious :shock:

Is this care typical for starting tomato & peppers? Or do I have bum seeds or lack in preparation?

T
San Diego / Z10
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GardenRN
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NOT typical....the vast majority handle it on their own. But say I got a variety in a trade and only have 2 or 3 seeds.....it makes each one a vastly higher priority.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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rainbowgardener
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Agree, most seeds will work themselves loose if given a little more time. And often once the leaf is bigger and the seed coat is out at the tip, it isn't tedious, it can quickly and easily be pinched/pulled off.
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GardenGnome
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I've killed acouple plants POP. But I planted so many I could lose afew.
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Tonio
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Allrightyyy then.. I'm getting the hang of removing the seed shells now :lol:

a gingerly wetting of the shell a few times, and ol' tweezer's across the grain works well.

T
San Diego / Z10
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GardenRN
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Glad it worked for you :wink:

Good work
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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