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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Subject: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- anyone?
applestar wrote:I soaked for a couple of hours then drained and nicked with nail clippers a bunch of watermelon and melon seeds to put in the sprouter last night. I decided watermelon seeds may not have good viability so dumped the few that were left in the old packets together. If any of them germinate, it will be bonus. :D

BTW two of the previous batch of pre-germinated watermelons have sprouted in the pint size containers of potting mix. Two more are still sleeping.

Also soaked and drained a bunch of cucumber seeds.ALL OF THESE ARE SEEDS I NORMALLY SOW DRY SEEDS DIRECTLY IN THE GROUND but in the name of experimentation, I'll see what happens if they are pre-germinated first. :wink:
...since I posted this morning, another watermelons started to sprout

It's been bothering me that the loosely filled potting mix in the squash seed containers have been settling down to only 1/2 full, so as the seed leaves completely stretched out,
I have been carefully upending them in my hand, cradling the seedling between my fingers and adding more potting mix under them.

...and I noticed something I didn't know before...
When they first sprout and while the seed leaves are folded together and held upwards, the roots are few and not holding the soil together very well -- I can't upend them without the mass falling apart. But by the time the seed leaves are fully stretched out and the first true leaf is showing as a little bud in between, the roots have spread out and are actually starting to hold a rootball of soil.
Note the soil level raised in the orange pot and most of the others compared to earlier photo. Watermelon seedlings are in the three cut off soda bottle containers in the back
Note the soil level raised in the orange pot and most of the others compared to earlier photo. Watermelon seedlings are in the three cut off soda bottle containers in the back
Some more squash seedlings. Square berry container on the left is zinnias seedlings.
Some more squash seedlings. Square berry container on the left is zinnias seedlings.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Cucumbers germinated all at once yesterday, but I didn't get the chance to sow them and here they are, getting too long.... :o
image.jpg
I have a bed almost ready for them, but I'm already exhausted ...partly from watching some acrobatic birds :lol: -- but mostly I was trying to work out a way to trellis the cucumbers.... After lunch, I think.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

So, to re-cap...

Pre-germinated Green Beauty Snow peas sown outside 4/21. Almost all sprouted 5/1
Pre-germinated Tall Telephone shell peas sown outside 4/21. Most are sprouting 5/1
Pre-germinated Sugar Snap and Sugar Daddy snap peas sown outside 4/23. Just starting to sprout 5/1.

I know if I sowed peas in mid-March to late-March -- a month before last average frost -- it takes 2-3 weeks before they sprout. Is one week to sprouting normal when sown a week before average frost? Or did I successfully save time/shave off a week by pre-germinating?
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Directly sown pre-germinated Cherokee Long Ear popcorn have all sprouted:
Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn
Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Trying to help warm the soil where the pre-germinated cucumber seeds are planted. -- I bought these tempered glass replacement shelving on clearance sale a while back thinking about doing something like this. I wonder if these will help?
Half of the area covered by the glass A-frame
Half of the area covered by the glass A-frame
Ugh! WHY is the preview upside down!? O_o
Ugh! WHY is the preview upside down!? O_o
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Still sowing germinated watermelon and melon seeds. 3 more today, but really the remaining seeds may be duds. I need to inventory what I have sown and what have sprouted and are growing, and maybe decide I have enough.

I wasn't in a statistical frame of mind so I didn't count how many seeds I started out with, and I can't remember if I haven't already thrown out some, so I guess I won't bother to figure out the germination rate. But I used up out all of the remaining leftover watermelon and melon seeds for this experiment (except for Charleston Grey which I received last year), and I'm happy to have any that germinated. Some winter squash seeds that were new last year are not doing so well, too. I think I have more of some and not so many of the other.

I must say some of the new last year melon seeds are not performing so well either, though I haven't been storing my seeds very carefully and last year no even in a tightly fitting large tin like in previous years so maybe that explains it.

I should have sown the cucumber seeds that germinated today, but I didn't get the chance. I'm planning to sow these in 2" mini soilblocks. Hoping the ones I sowed outside will make it even though the forecasted lows are going down from 45°f to 43°F (likely about 42°F to as low as 40°F in reality).

Those of you who live in really cool summer areas -- do winter squash, watermelon and melon survive after sprouting and growing true leaves even if the night time temp get down in low 40's and daytime temp on cloudy days doesn't get higher than mid 60's? In my experience, peppers and eggplants sometimes will get stunted and not recover if exposed to low temps like that for several days/nights in a row.

I've been bringing the eggplant and pepper seedlings and the melons and watermelons inside, but have left the winter squash seedlings with true leaves outside along with most of the tomato seedlings to harden them off.

(PS: just occurred to me that I forgot to start Kikuza and Sweetmeat winter squash :roll: )
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

These winter squash seedlings have been hardening off outside. True test, of course, would be when I go to transplant them. We have a dip down to low 40's tonight and tomorrow night, then looking at a heat blast up to mid 80's on Friday. Looks like I should be able to plant them after the cold snap.
image.jpg
image.jpg (70.61 KiB) Viewed 4630 times
These have been kept inside and are not yet hardened. They were just seed leaves when the others with true leaves were sent out. Now cozy without the cold (40's-50's) nights, they have caught up.
image.jpg


This is one of the maxima varieties. It's seed leaves are HUGE!
image.jpg
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Did I mention I'm trying sunflowers and beets now? Started soaking them two nights ago and after full day of rinse and drain, the sunflower seeds have already started to germinate:
Pre-germinated sunflowers
Pre-germinated sunflowers
I already knew it works for sunflowers after last year's experiment, but I had a couple of sunflower seed heads hanging upside down on the end of a curtain rod all this time (completely forgot about them) and I had no idea if they were still viable after being near the window and all.

Still waiting on the beets. Started nasturtiums and cleome. :()
image.jpg
Green Beauty snow peas
Green Beauty snow peas
Looking at the nice unbroken rows of sprouted peas and corn already growing in the garden, I'm really liking how the pre-germinated seeds hardly ever fail to grow where you sowed them. :D I'm going to try growing a fence row of sunflowers (along a difference fence than the last time where they were all facing the neighbor's house when they bloomed :roll:). I'm planting them along the fence with the neighbor who is using a lawn service. Hopefully, the sunflowers will help to provide a screen barrier against wind drift, soak up any unwanted chemicals, and also act as warning by indicating any sign of broadleaf herbicide.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Didn't take pictures but most of those sunflower seeds germinated. More than enough for double staggered row along 24 ft span of fence as planned -- especially if they all sprout -- and along part of the SW facing garage wall to hopefully shade it from the hot sun in the summer. :cool:

Last time I tried sowing sunflower seeds along the garage wall, chipmunk dug them up and ate them all. :roll: We'll see if the pre-germinated seeds have better luck. :bouncey:
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

I was going to be done with sunflowers and took the seeds out to toss in the compost pile, but saw that four more had germinated overnight :lol: This is how they look.
Sunflowers
Sunflowers
I sowed them in an empty part of the lemon balm patch which adjoins the 24 foot span.

Beets started to germinate yesterday and I sowed a bunch in wide gaps between onions in the Spiral Garden. More beets germinated today and were sown in the rest of the outer onion spiral. (And a few in the SF&H)
Beets
Beets
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

These are winter squash under cut off gallon jug hot caps. One was a couple of pre-germinated seeds, and they have just sprouted.
Pre-G squash seeds sown under a hot cap
Pre-G squash seeds sown under a hot cap
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The other one had lost it's taproot in the sprouter, but went on to shed it's seed shell and opened seed leaves PLUS GREW a 1" radius branched roots -- all while still in the sprouter. You gotta reward that kind of enthusiasm so I planted it under a vinegar jug hot cap... And it has grown the first true leaf.
Originally transplanted at seedleaf stage under a hot cap
Originally transplanted at seedleaf stage under a hot cap
The other pre-germinated seeds were sown in pint size containers and allowed to sprout on the heatmat, upstairs, or taken outside in the hot sun during the day. They were grown inside, then taken outside during the day and brought inside for the night. This group were left out 24/7 since last week and were covered at night when temps dropped to mud or lower 40's
Pre-G seeds sown in containers
Pre-G seeds sown in containers
They will be planted in the garden tomorrow or Monday.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Started these nasturtiums in the sprouter on 5/8. I think I see some starting to germinate :D
image.jpg
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Cucumbers are all sprouted -- I don't think the glass A-frame is making any difference, do you?
Cucumbers have sprouted in the New Kitchen Garden
Cucumbers have sprouted in the New Kitchen Garden
I don't know if you can really see them, but the sunflowers along the fence are starting to sprout:
Sunflowers are starting to sprout along the fence
Sunflowers are starting to sprout along the fence
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

You can see the sunflowers sprouts better today. EVERY ONE OF THEM ARE UP exactly where I sowed. Granted there may be future mishaps -- notably slugs, but I gotta say that's a satisfying sight. :D
Can you see the offset double row (zigzag pattern)?
Can you see the offset double row (zigzag pattern)?
Further sunflower progress will be documented in the Tomato Gardens thread.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Planted the winter squash seedlings today.
image.jpg
image.jpg
Oldest watermelon and melon seedlings:
image.jpg
Oh! But the cool looking two white-veined seedlings are Thai Kang Kob that were planted.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Here are the two vinegar jug squashes that were sown as pre-germinated seeds:
image.jpg
image.jpg
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

I love all the photos in this thread. Great work, Applestar!

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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Thanks, Cola. :D It's a lot of fun and easy to do with the larger seeds.
I soaked beans overnight 5/17-18 and rinse/drained them yesterday. Today, the first group germinated and I sowed them. I have to admit I forgot to take pictures of the germinated beans before sowing them. So only took pics of mostly not yet germinated beans left in the sprouters:
image.jpg
image.jpg
I use salsa jars laid on their side as extra sprouters:
image.jpg
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Here are the pre-germinated pole beans I sowed today:
Christmas Lima, Good Mother Stallard, one Tiger Eye
Christmas Lima, Good Mother Stallard, one Tiger Eye
Scarlet Runner, Sunset a Runner, Kentucky Wonder, Purple Podded Pole Bean
Scarlet Runner, Sunset a Runner, Kentucky Wonder, Purple Podded Pole Bean
It's interesting to note that Good Mother Stallard was late to germinate but the one that germinated first, when left in the sprouter for and extra day for the others to catch up, immediately started to spoil -- Note the somewhat browned radicle. I think it was still OK and will sprout, but this temperamental behavior might explain the difficulty in growing evenly spaced row of Old Mother Stallards last time I tried to grow this variety.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Some of the protected C. pepo and C. maxima squash progress:
image.jpg
image.jpg
I think the tunnel does raise the temperature somewhat higher during the day and keep it from dropping at night. These look further along than the ones out in the open at the base of the Spiral Garden central compost pile.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

OK, gotta ask, apple. Now, I haven't read through every word, don't mean snark in any way, but Why?! What is the mission statement?! Is this to get some things going a few days ahead of normal planting? Is this better than just starting in cups etc inside? In glancing looks like alot of time, rather lots of short bits on a regular basis.

It is interesting, thanks for sharing. Just missed the objective and mission statement in this project. Now science fair project for the kids, that's different and I hope never to see that again! Well, the 5 yr old g-son may take an interest in yarn dyeing or plants, please help him, and ask me for direction...but I digress...
Have fun!
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

:lol: Susan you made me chuckle. Here is someone asking ME -- moi -- for why I did something. An objective "Mission statement" even.... Well the short answer is "It seemed like a good idea." -- and I'm not being snarky either. So let me think back and see if I had a darned good reason or two... Or three.... :wink:

I did begin last year. I think it all started with the corn. I had saved some interesting corn by growing to maturity, drying and saving, but it had been a few years, so I wanted to know if they were viable. Corn being what it is, you need them to fill the rows, and in my limited space, I've had gappy rows of corn even when sowing freshly bought packaged for that year seeds.

So the question was would floating corn seeds indicate lack of viability. Then, I had all this soaked corn, I only wanted to sow viable seeds that would grow... and germination was really the only sure indicator/answer. Combined with hand pollinating, last year's corn experiment was a great success, letting me plant uniformly mature seedlings exactly in three variety blocks in an 8x12 garden bed with practically no empty spots.

I also tried with sunflowers, and although sunflowers ran into issues after sprouting, I had a handle on what to do to *not* repeat those mistakes.

Fast forward to this year, and I decided to pre-germinate peas because I was late with sowing them due to long winter! and I needed them to hurry up and get growing before our typical winter-skip spring - summer weather ruined the pea harvest. I'm pretty sure I was able to shave at least a week off the usual timeline.

I then repeated/reviewed the corn and sunflower experience, and expanded to cucurbits. Namely, I was always recommending that squash, melons, cucumbers, etc. should be directly sown and no transplanting. I tend to say to myself -- wait is that really true? So I wanted to see if I could quickly develop a workable method. Interesting thing about stuff like this is that most of these are things I've tried in the past -- tried and failed at some level or other that, looking back, was mostly due to inexperience.

Funny thing of it all is that I am positive I said sometime ago that I don't like the damp paper towel in a Baggie on the refrigerator method because then you are slave to the whims of the germinating seeds. :roll: So far this spring, I tried the damp paper towel twice or so and I'm by far in favor of using the seed sprouter and pre-germinating LARGE seeds. ...So then I might as well go ahead and include edamame and beans :-()

Small and tiny seeds will have to be another year's project, if ever. :>

...anyway, there might be more to it all (maybe my pre-planned planting maps have something to so with it, too -- it's so annoying when things don't grow where -in the map block- I wanted/intended it to....) but that is the long-winded gist of it. :mrgreen:
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

By the way, beans -like peas and sunflowers- are direct seeded when they have germinated -- ideally when the radicle root is no longer than 1/2 inch.

So far, my experience is that some peas and beans "crack" or fall apart when they are first soaked for the 4-6 hours. The ones that fall apart are the non-viable beans. So in fact, by soaking, you can eliminate the duds and near-duds. Remember, the "bean" is the two halves of the seed leaves.

Sometimes, they crack through the germ, and other times, the broken beans won't green up to become seed leaves and spoil easily. Some peas and beans take a while to germinate, and if you are patient, they WILL. But chances of spoilage increases, so it seems that there' same point when you should give up on the remaining ungerminated seeds because the maintenance required to keep them from spoiling becomes requires more work. Peas and beans should be drained completely after each rinsing. Excess moisture increases chance of spoilage, but this means you need to rinse/rewet them frequently, before any germinated radicle root dries out.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

OK, so if y'all have been reading all my posts, here's a pop quiz: Bullet list the reasons applestar is pre-germinating these seeds.... (Help me out here -- I can't seem to make a summarized list. :roll: ). I'll use it to ref/link to when anyone asks in the future, instead of my long drawn out explanation. :wink:
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Here are a few photos of edamame/soybean seedlings that have sprouted

Image

Image

Here's an example of one that lost a seedleaf/half of the bean when it cracked during soaking, but the germ was unharmed and it is growing. Image
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

I've been reading along with interest to your post, Applestar. I found it interesting for the following reasons:

1. General knowledge of what works by pre-germinating and what doesn't work so well.
2. General procedures to pre-germinate. Sprouter/wide mouth jar; paper towel in baggie in refrigerator.
3. What a germinated seed actually looks like (normally we only see them when they pop out of the soil).
4. A great way to plant only viable seed (many folks don't have a lot of space for their garden and would like to plant only viable seed in order to maximize space usage. Nothing worse than plants a space and only getting 60% or less to grow :( )
5. Tips and tricks as you've gone along the process.
6. An understanding that you're on the seeds timeframe not your own. When they sprout, you plant :-()

I don't know if this is the type of list you were looking for, but I've certainly enjoyed reading it. I'm thinking of trying it later in the year for a fall crop of snow peas and seeing how it goes. Thanks for the great info! :mrgreen:

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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

...still pre-germinating... :mrgreen:

Since Baby Fweddy-Fwed did a number on the pole beans, I started some more, this time out of my saved mixed hot weather crops seeds bag. It had little round black BB sized seeds in it that I think are okra. Okra was the first to germinate in 1-2 days so I already sowed most of them in my Edible Landscaping Front Yard Fence Row. But here are a couple left, along with other beans. There were some corn in there too so they also went in the FYFR, along with some of the beans. The rest of the beans were distributed to re-seed where Baby Fweddy-Fwed decapitated them, as well as some other locations that are hopefully inaccessible to him,
A couple of okra and beans
A couple of okra and beans
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

I forgot to thank skiingjeff -- Thank you!
Exactly what this thread needed -- an orderly mind to provide a sense of reason to counterbalance my rambling. :D
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

No worries :)

So I tried to pre-germinate some bush beans but didn't do so good. So I have a quick question to clarify what I might have missed in the thread. You first soak the seeds you cover them in water about 12 hours (overnight), then you drain them and let them sit without any water for until the next night. Then that next night you soak them again overnight and then drain. Continuing to repeat until they germinate. Correct?

If so, I understand why a dish works better than wide mouth jars because there is less potential damage to the seed.

Again, thanks for the great thread! :)

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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

OK I see where you went wrong. After the initial soaking, the seeds/beans are rinsed twice only, no soaking. Also, in the summer heat,initial soak should be limited to 4-6 hrs.

If the temperature is warm (over 75°F) and/or air is dry, you need to rinse twice and drain more often so the delicate roots won't dry out. I really like this EasySprouter because it creates a thermal airflow between the inner cup with drainage slits and the outer solid cup. But I have made my own version with two plastic beverage cups that seem to work. Trick is to suspend the inner cup over the outer cup with a small gap in between when stacking them.

I've had some success with personal size salad spinner with the inner basket sitting on a jar lid to raise it a bit more from the collected water in the older bowl.

I really thought turning the salsa jar on its side worked pretty well too.
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Thanks! I guess I overwatered them :oops:

Just like everything with seed starting, it seems to always be a matter of too much water or too little water....lol

I'll have to try again because putting the Carson yellow beans into the ground doesn't appear to be producing many plants and I want to check on the viability of the seed before contacting Territorial to express my displeasure with their seed as I bought them new for this year's planting.

Thanks for the clarification :)

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applestar
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Bumping this thread as reminder to myself and others in my planting zone that it's almost time again to start pre-germinating corn and squash, etc.

Reviewing this thread, it looks like I also pre-germinated peas to direct sow about this time last year, but this year, I already started some inside that are a month old, 3-4" tall and ready to plant with several true leaves. (I'll add the link for that thread later)

It's good to know I can still sow some peas though (as long as the spring weather is going to be like last year) since I have a lot more seeds.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

I started the first variety of corn -- Glass Gem :D
image.jpg
I plan to grow at least one more variey... A third if I can work out the logistics and another location to plant them. It's a question of staggering the planting times based on days to maturity as well as planting on opposite sides of the house to effectively buffer/block accidental cross pollination by the wind and air currents.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

And this batch is ready to plant already! :D
image.jpg
I really wanted to plant them today but could not find the time. I'm going to have to get them in the ground tomorrow or the day after at the latest.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Last year, I found out that by pre-germinating and starting them inside for planting as early as possible, early maturing C.pepo variety and C.maxima, which are vulnerable to SVBs (squash vine borers) were able to mature fruits before SVBs took down the vines.

This year, I direct sowed the pre-germinated seeds in raised hills for warmed soil, etc. and it worked!

-- I harvested these Kakai hulless seed squash today (along with the one volunteer maxima) Almost all Kakai vines have collapsed due to SVB.
image.jpg
I only got two Guatemalan Blue fruits from two plants -- but par for the course since I had 6 Kakai plants -- but I believe they are also nearly ready to harvest -- there is corking starting in the fruit stems. Since the vines are not quite collapsed (supplied by secondary roots from nodes along the vines), even though they are infested by SVB's at the base, I'm going to give them another day or two before harvesting.

This is working out well since now, melon vines that are enjoying the hot weather can move into the space that had been occupied by Kakai, and I sowed pre-germinated edamame/soybean seeds in the Guatemalan Blue hill.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

FYI -- Subject: First Glass Gem Corn Harvest


...came back to this thread again to see if it's time to start pre-germinating corn for this year. Looks like I should start this week end or next week. Image
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applestar
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Re: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Cu

Subject: 2016 -- starting seeds and cuttings for the new season
Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:28 pm
applestar wrote:I have 2 or three different varieties of corn to grow this year. I'm going to try to be careful to stagger planting time for them and will also grow in beds that are located on two opposite sides of the house. I'm also learning to use isolation tassel and shoot/cob bags for corn seed saving. :()

First up, I started soaking my Mirai 350BC seeds yesterday. After soaking all morning, I drained the water and put them in my seed sprouter, and have been rinsing them at approx. 8 hour intervals.

...just a little while ago, I decided to give them another rinse, and was tsk- tsking that these shriveled up corn kernels had NOT plumped up with water and that some of them are STILL not sinking to the bottom, wondering if they are duds since I tend to think good seeds should sink. Then did a double-take because I realized one of the floaters had a rather long radicle/seedroot growing already. :shock: -- Time to sow! :-()
Image

I started sowing them in the 1/2 gal rice milk carton. For this, I stand it up on one of the long narrow side like this, which provides 4.5 inch depth. I can comfortably fit two 10 seed rows = 20 per carton, and could squeeze in another 4 in between for even two dozen per carton. Image

-- today, there were actually only 16 germinated seeds, though. So I left space for 4 more seeds.
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