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HYB: Enhanced Germination

Message text written by Donald Eaves:

>This is a twelve week schedule as I have it
planned :).  4 weeks of stratification at room temps, 4 weeks at room
temps during the day and into the fridge at night, 4 weeks in the fridge,
then back in and out of the fridge every day.  If I understood what I
read, the some seeds should begin to sprout during the second period
of going in/out of the fridge.

Some species tend to germinate in the fall and others in the spring.  
Which type has an advantage depends, of course, on climate.  Many
generations of crosses have muddied the waters a bit  -- but enhanced
germination techniques do enable us to deceive them into sprouting at our

In my experience, those that would naturally germinate in the fall will
sprout during the first 10 days of the first period of cycling in/out of
the "fridge" while those that would naturally germinate in the spring wait
until the second period.   In my experiments, four weeks has been the
minimum effective "season".  

This method has proved quite successful for me.   Gus & I planted our last
seedbed in the winter of '84-85, using cold-stratified seeds -- and the
germination rate was much better than in previous natural plantings.  In
'89, I started a controlled experiment in which I split the seeds of a
number of pods between enhanced germination treatments and simple
cold-stratification [with over 1,000 seeds of various types subjected to
each treatment].  Didn't even bother with natural planting at that point
because it had proved so ineffective in this climate.  

BTW, if you have a room that can be shut off from the rest of the house
without the temperature dropping below 28 degrees F. there's a much easier
method.  Just put the seed flats in a window or under growlights and let
the natural temperature fluctuation simulate "spring" and "fall".  

Sharon McAllister

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