Seed starting chronicles 2012

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

There's definitely randomness there, Amy, but I am using sand or grit as a top-dressing in most pots this year.  I thought it might reduce algae and moss growth on the top of the soil, which might be helpful for things that take a long time to germinate, and I think it is helping with that.  I thought the grit, in particular, would be useful to elevate very tiny seedlings above the soil surface, so that they can't be overgrown by moss and also so that they aren't momentarily inundated when I water the pots.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

AmyO
AmyO's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-06

OK, that's answers that. I use the grit as a top dressing on all my pots and it seems to help with the moss/algae problem. Any bits of perlite not covered turns green almost immediatly and fools me into thinking something is sprouting! >:(

I'm having a small problem with some seedlings just sprouting then withering and disappearing. It doesn't look like the typical damping-off symptoms, but it could be that as I never sterilize my containers. There is also a pot of Campanula zangezura and a pot of Anemone rupicola that are looking very chlorotic, but they have been fertilized with no change. Other seedlings are looking nice and green growing right alongside them. In addition there is a pot of Aconitum sp. that has developed brown seed leaves....I don't know if that is something to worry about, but hoped someone here might have some advice for me on these problems. :rolleyes:

Amy Olmsted
Hubbardton, VT, Zone 4

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Hoy wrote:

Marvellous Lori :o
Do you have anything that don't germinate?

I was thinking the same thing!!!

My germination results usually hover around the half mark, and last season was a particularly bad year for me, too.  A couple other seed growers in my Chapter also tally in at 50%, in general.  These are first season results.  Seeds that sprout in the following seasons are a bonus. ;D

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I think your seedlings look terrific, Amy!  I would imagine the ones you feel are a bit chlorotic will probably come around.  I wonder if the browning of the Aconitum seed leaves isn't just the effect of the light source somehow (e.g. very close to the lights, which is probably overall a good thing, nonetheless)?  They look otherwise pretty darn healthy.

Rick, it's great to hear that your stats are in the 50%-ish range too - very encouraging! 

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

My results also usually are about 50%. Last year I had a much better result, however, I lost a lot of seedlings in the summer. It is a problem though not being at home long periods in summer.

Amy, my thoughts were the same as Lori's. The reddening of the leaves are almost certain a result of too intense light level - did they sprout there or have you moved the seedlings?
I have found that chlorotic leaves can appear due to too much water and/or too cold temperature. It can also be caused by lack of some important nutrient of course but usually the plants improve when repotted later on.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

AmyO
AmyO's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-06

Thanks for the reassurances Trond & Lori!  :D
The Aconitum did sprout there under the lights and perhaps they a little too close, so I'll raise a notch or two.
The temp. is in the 60*f - 65*f area for the most part.

My record keeping is really bad to non-existant so I can't chime in on percentages of germination. But if I can remember clearly enough I would guess at 40-50% as well.

Amy Olmsted
Hubbardton, VT, Zone 4

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Myself, I wouldn't bother to take any particular measures concerning the seed leaves - they look healthy, just reddened (maybe it's normal in that species, who knows?)... and they're going to die off later anyway.  So long as the true leaves are alright - and they look fine - I'd keep the light as close to the seedlings as possible.  Light seems to be the most important factor to starting seeds indoors, and if there is a problem, it often comes from inadequate light, as opposed to too-intense light.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Yes, Lori is right. I wouldn't bother either. Although the light could have been too intense if the seedling had germinated in darkness and suddenly brought too close, the plant soon adapt and will take all the light you can provide with a lightbulb or tube.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Rheum delavayi - germ in couple weeks(? - one of the gaps in my records!) at room temp; seeds from Holubec ("China, Beima Shan, Yunnan, 4800m, slate scree, dwarf rhubarb, 10-30cm high, entire undulate leaves, red petioles, racemes of reddish flws, red winged seeds, 2008")

Saussurea nuda update:

Saussurea nepalensis - germ in 5 days at room temp; NARGS seedex

Oxytropis viscida(?) - seeds scarified, germ in 3 days at room temp; guess I didn't scarify them too effectively though, given only 2 seedlings emerging!

Lactuca intricata - germ in 4 days at room temp; seeds from Pavelka ("2000m, Boz Dag, Turkey; low suffruticose subshrub, 10-25 cm, lots of solitary blue flws, dry stoney slopes, 2009 seed")

Antirrhinum molle - germ in 10 days at room temp; seeds from SRGC seedex

Acantholimon caryophyllaceum ssp. caryophyllaceum - germ in 4 days at room temp; NARGS seedex

Achillea gypsicola - germ in 5 days at room temp; seeds from Pavelka ("1200m, Cankiri, Turkey; compact cushions, linear grey hairy lvs, 3-5 big yel flws on scapes 10-20cm, 2009 seed")

Cynoglossum amabile - germ in 4 days at room temp; SRGC seedex

Centaurea deflexa - germ in 14 days at room temp; seeds from Pavelka ("1900 m Tashkent, Turkey; tufts or small cushions, linear white tomentose lvs, stemless yellow flws, very good, loamy slopes, 2010 seed")

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Boland
Boland's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Lori, you are not stratifying a bunch of genera that I thought had to be...for example, I strat all my Saussurea, Patrinia and Campanula.  I have to seriously revisit my germination practices.

I have about 45 pots that have not sprouted after 4 weeks in the heat...they were all previously startified for 8 weeks.  Guess I'll stick them outside now to freeze-thaw until April and maybe they'll sprout then (unless the seed are not viable).

My seed from Goteborg's BG and Graz BG just arrived.

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

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