Thursday, August 24, 2006

Seed Gathering

It's late August and many flowering plants and trees have gone to seed. Gathering the seeds can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon as I've discovered. My inventory includes snapdragons, gladiolus, a couple of species of lavender, and several others, including catalpa seeds. I have been saving them in plastic box with dividers that I found at a fabric store. I am fairly clueless about how to make these things grow but thank goodness for blogs. I finally found information about storing and germinating seeds here. I have already corrected one of my mistakes (storing seeds in airtight containers). Storage before a complete dry out can lead to mold or premature germination. I have also decided to not label everthing even though every site I've found says I should. I can catalog the seeds in my head. There's no need to bring paper and ink into this. I also discovered this tip for a simple germination test at You Grow Girl:

"If you are saving your seeds for extended periods of time, test the seeds before you use them to see if they will still germinate. This is easily done by placing 20 or so seeds (depending on size) onto a half-piece of damp paper towel. Fold it over so that the seeds are covered. Then place it in a plastic baggy with a few pinholes punched into it and set it aside in a dark, warm place. Bear in mind that some seeds need light to germinate and some have other specific requirements-some may need to be soaked first, or may require a certain temperature for germination. Knowing your seeds will help you in this process: however most seeds will do fine with the standard procedure. After a week check to see how many seeds have germinated. Again some seeds will have a longer germination period than others, so if they haven't germinated by week's end, wait another week to be certain. If a fair number of seeds have germinated then the seeds are good and can be used with little trouble. If few seeds germinate, increase the number of seeds sown per inch or don't bother using them at all."

I would have never thought of that!

I also didn't realize that I should germinate seeds in a DARK place.

Hmmm... I may have to replicate my little botany experiment in a different location.

I will be so happy if I can get a lavender seed to germinate and become an adult plant. If I can do the same with the jasmine I think my mum-in-law will start coming to me for gardening advice! And I will have a present for my mom. She loves jasmine too.

This information about germinating lavender seeds says that lavender germinates slowly and unevenly. That's good to know! The seeds of several species can be germinated outside or started indoors for more success.


Honeybee said...

Plants, even seeds, have very sensitive light-sensing mechanisms. Being in the dark/lack of light tells a seed that it is underground and therefore in a good place to germinate.

The paper-towel seeds *will* germinate in the light, but it will probably take longer and the seedlings will be much smaller.

Good luck growing those seeds in the future!

Alasdair said...

Seeds kick ass. I'm just hoping that when the wisteria pods decide to crack open they don't knock out the windows, or scare the puppy too much. I can easily imagine her dashing around the house, trying to escape the deadly seed pods.