Re: HYB: 2nd year germination
Loic, I remove seedlings from 4 inch seed pots when they are quite
small, digging them out with a plastic dinner fork. I like the fork
rather than a spoon or knife, because it seems to damage tender baby
If the baby seedlings are very thick in the pot (I plant up to 50 seeds
in a 4 inch pot), or have roots all the way to the bottom of the pot, I
turn the pot on its side, and carefully rake off the top layer of
potting mix containing most of the ungerminated seeds, then squeeze the
sides of the pot a bit to loosen the roots.
With such small seedlings, there is often some root loss, but like
Betty, I trim tops and bottoms to match, and they usually do well.
Some really strong crosses tolerate being transplanted just as the root
and shoot are starting to emerge from the seed, but others seem to do
better when they have at least 4 leaves.
Once the seedlings are out of the 4 inch pots, I just put all the soil
and seeds back into the pot, pushing any visible seeds back into the
soil, then put the pot where it can get more chilling.
I plant all the germinated seeds in either single styrofoam coffee cups
(if there are only one or two germinants), 8 inch shallow mum pots, or
whatever is handy at the time. They stay in those bigger pots until
being planted in the garden row, preferably before peak bloom season.
Loic, if I were sure I would get seedlings that met my goals from only
the first year germinants, I wouldn't try to hold them over. It is
definitely more trouble. I started holding them over because both
successful pods and surviving seedlings were few and far between when I
first started making crosses. Now that I understand the 'dew' effect,
and pay closer attention to temperature, I get a <lot> more takes, plus
all the 'un natural' germination gives many more seedlings.
I wish I had never noticed that second year germinants seem to be
stronger, at least in some crosses.
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