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Re: HYB: seed stratification

  • Subject: Re: HYB: seed stratification
  • From: Linda Mann <lmann@volfirst.net>
  • Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 13:20:13 -0400

I am scanning thru messages from oldest to newest, which is probably a
mistake, but ..

Donald Eaves in Texas wrote:
<I will be interested to read about your experiments.  ... Why.. .do you
want them to sprout early?   The few that I had sprout didn't survive.
Some were just weak ... some damped off.   If you are wanting to push
them, I've had good luck transplanting them to a rich bed in May and
then spending a fortune keeping them watered all summer.  Probably 80%
of those look like mature plants now, complete with increases.  This
happened last year as well and I probably had 90% or more bloom the
first year.>

I am indeed trying to push them.

My thought is that I will get them into the ground as soon as they are
big enough to handle and keep them under double Reemay with
water-filled-cola-bottle-heat sinks between little rows of plants.  This
should create conditions sort of like a cool greenouse.  I have had
terrible success (more like spectacular failures) with germination of
seeds in an outdoor seedbed and/or pots for the last two years.  I'm not
sure why, but suspect intermittant attention to moisture when seeds
should have been germinating.  Or perhaps lots of tender early genes
that would not have survived here anyway.  In either case, I hope I can
control moisture levels in the fridge a bit better than I was doing
outdoors, and can eliminate wierd weather during germination.

Similarly, I have had terrible luck planting out small iris seedlings in
the ground, partly because I may forget them from day to day, but partly
because there are too many hazards of critters (from cutworms to horses
and all sizes in between, including ants, dogs, cats...thankfully no
armadillos as yet).  By the time they are big enough to recover from
life's tribulations, I've lost the opportunity to get them growing fast
during the spring flush of growth.

I think my selection of mostly later blooming irises is making it harder
to 'push' these plants - the pods ripen so late I am barely going to be
able to get them thru the stratification period before it gets to be
pretty serious winter here.  And if they germinate outdoors, they
germinate late when weather has become sometimes hot windy and dry, and
it's harder to keep them 'comfy' while germinating.  Plus that means
they are late to get growing.

I have never had a seedling get anywhere near big enough to bloom by the
first year.  But at least this year, I have one with some increase on
it, so maybe....  It is among the batch of seedlings that I transplanted
into sand over alfalfa cubes and kept watered in the shade with an
occasional dose of Miracle Grow.

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8

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