Seed starting chronicles 2013

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Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

I give cold germinators at least two weeks at 60F or above.  I figure they need some warm time to imbibe (absorb) moisture.  The surface tension of cold water is very high.  But I've never done comparison studies to determine what the optimum warm time is.  According to Deno, if you give cold germinators too much warm time (like 3 months) they die.

On the other hand, I know that some seeds will absorb moisture just fine at fridge temp (40F).  I had a batch of Russell lupines germinate in 5 days in the fridge without any warm period.  Some poppies will germinate very cold.

Since just about everything responds well to the two weeks of warmth, I have standardized on that for cold germinators.  Note that I am not talking about seeds with complex requirements, like lilies with delayed hypogeal germination.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

I have put things requiring cold strat directly outside other years in late winter/early spring (only a day or few of warm at most), with good results on some, but not all.. though those that did not germinate, I generally assumed the cold period was too short if it was late in the year, but who knows...
I put out a bunch a week or so back also, seed from Kristl, and her instructions for cold strat do not mention a warm period (other than, as Gene mentioned, warm/cold/wrm germinators etc, different issue). They'll have plenty of up and down at this time of year- I put them in a spot that is sunny part of the day, and we have had days up to 10C, other days forecast to be well below freezing, with nights considerably colder still..

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

A few pics from last spring that I neglected to add to our growing archive:

    Dietes bicolor

    Patrinia villosa

    Corydalis ochroleuca - volunteer seedlings in the garden, where an old plant finally died

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

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Had to look up Dietes as I wasn't familiar with it; oh yes, I know it under the alternate name Moraea.

Rick, are you overwintering the Dietes plants indoors, I see that it is rated for zones 8-11, thus a tender plant. Very attractive from photos I've seen. 

I don't think one has to try too hard with Corydalis ochroleuca, seems like this one, along with C. lutea, looks towards world domination. ;) Both might be good candidates for green roof plants, as they'll grow most anywhere.  I have C. ochroleuca seeding into my stone/gravel "drip strip" around the house, a 2' wide strip around my house corresponding to the roof overhang. The area gets blazing hot in full sun, the light color walls and foundation reflecting light and heat, the plants never get watered unless blowing rain comes from the right direction. Normally I yank out ochroleuca plants whenever I see them, while the foliage is attractive, the plant spreads too much by seed, and I don't care much for the long wands of pale flowers.  But I usually neglect those growing in the barren drip strip (because I'm lazy), and they sail through heat and drought without any problem.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Overwintering Dietes indoors was my plan, but they got missed when I was separating out the winter tender species in the fall.  So they "endured" 20F before I realized my blunder.  They were quite vigorous until their death knell.

Corydalis ochroleuca is not as invasive as C. lutea here, but yes, it can be a bit too much.  Seedlings are super easy to pull at the stage in the photo, but once they get their second true leaves, it can be more tedious. 

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

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

I never considered C. lutea as a green roof plant, maybe. I have enough of it, growing in DEEP shade. Gets maybe a half hour of direct light in the summer. In my climate, it is remarkably hardy.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Corydalis lutea survives in that window box on the railing through the winter?

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

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

Yep, it has survived for two years now.

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

Rimmer
Rimmer's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-05

I am looking for advice on starting west Asian dry land alliums from seed.
I suspect they are spring bloomers followed by a dry summer, so would that mean they should be sown in early fall?

specifically i am looking for germination advice in the following:

Allium alexeianum
Allium ericetorum
Allium gomphrenoides
Allium scabriscapum
Allium wendelboanum

Thank you

Rimmer
SE MI Zone 5
5" snow cover today

Rimmer de Vries
SE Michigan, USDA Zone 5b

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Rimmer wrote:

I am looking for advice on starting west Asian dry land alliums from seed.
I suspect they are spring bloomers followed by a dry summer, so would that mean they should be sown in early fall?
specifically i am looking for germination advice in the following:

Hello Rimmer, the only species in your list that requires cold treatment, best sown in fall and allowed to overwinter outdoors, is Allium alexeianum.  Most of the "big ball" Asian melannocrommyum types have hard round seed that only germinate in spring following seed set the previous summer.

The other four species will also germinate after winter cold treatment, but its not necessary, they can be sown anytime, including spring, and germinate within 2-3 weeks, germination stimulated by exposure to soaking rain (if pots are left outside) or after being keep continually moist is pots are in a controlled environment. They are generally "easy germinators".  I don't have first-hand experience with gomphrenoides, but being a member of "section Allium" from Greece, alliums in this section are typically quick germinators.  The European to Russian Allium ericetorum, and Turkish scabriscapum & wendelboanum, are also easy germinators.  They could be sown now, placed outside, and can be expected to germinate as cool & moist spring weather arrives. 

With such species as A. alexeianum, if I were going to sow the seed, would sow directly in a prepared spot in the garden, in midsummer, to see germination spring 2014.

As for Allium scabriscapum, it is maddening that this beauty is not in general cultivation, it's a real beauty.  I have a few 2-year seedlings and hope one day to have blooming size plants. Some good images here:
http://www.vanherbaryum.yyu.edu.tr/flora/famgenustur/li/al/sca/index.htm

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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