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CULT: Seed Storage

From: "Sterling Okase" <sterling_o@hotmail.com>

In response to Judy Eckhoff:
I do something pretty similar with my seeds after I harvest them. I put 
them in marked envelopes but do not store them in the fridge. I keep 
them at room temperature until it gets cold enough outside to plant. 
Does anyone know if a longer cooling period (via the fridge) promotes a 
higher percentage of germination? I've heard that it does. When it's 
cold enough outside, I plant them in potting soil in a loose pile in 4" 
pots and cover them with 1/4" of soil. I have heard or read that 
germination is better when seeds are close together. Is this another 
Iris Wife's Tale? I place all the pots in a flat, place another 
overturned flat over it and weight it  with rocks so the grubby 
squirrels don't be diggin' in the pots and scattering seeds everywhere. 
YOU GO SQUIRREL! I set the flats out somewhere in the garden and let it 
freeze and thaw throughout the winter. I notice during warmer winters 
(like the one we just had) that germination is poor compared to years 
with colder winters.
Also, has anyone noticed that fertility (pod or pollen or both) changes 
from year to year on certain cultivars? Last year Bedford Lilac put out 
abundant pollen and this year none. Conjuration puts out pollen 
sporatically from flower to flower and for the past two years  has been 
pod sterile. This year nearly every cross on Conjuration formed a pod. 
Does anyone know why this is? Or am I dreaming?

Iris Maniac,
Sterling (not Innerst)
Seattle, WA. Zone 8

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