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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 roots less.

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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