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Re: Okay, serious stuff

Thanks, Auralie.

I like the aluminum pan idea. Yeah, cookie sheets rust.

I've thought of using the bottom heat available on top of the dryer and fridge, but these areas are already spoken for. :>)

I also like the idea of dumping a whole packet of seeds in a cup and the first three out of the medium are keepers.

Actually, I'm not looking for an especially big operation, but for a reliable one. If I get an especially interesting seed, I want as much control as I can get for hatching it away from marauding squirrels and such.

Okay, here's a real-time example. We have five loquat trees. One is a grafted variety, Bradenton. One is a seedling we bought when we first moved here. The other three are seedlings from our original seedling purchase. One of the second generation seedlings has begun to produce fruit that is substantially better than the fruit of its peers or the Bradenton. The fruits are as big as the Bradenton [1-1/2" by 1"] or bigger and have fewer seeds--average 2.5 for Bradenton; average 1 for seedling. Fruit quality is the same [Ms Fatma thinks the seedling tastes better].

So, there are two things to do here. First, graft [because it could be a sport rather than a hybrid] the branch that produced the remarkable fruit of the seedling onto a root stalk [another seedling, but one of no consequence] and grow it into a tree. To prepare for this, I've tied a ribbon around the scion and will graft it as soon as I can get a seedling up to size.

Second, plant the seeds of the remarkable fruits and when they get up to size, graft them onto the branches of another of the seedlings and see what kind of fruit they produce [they should produce fruit the first year after the grafting, so it's not a long wait].

And, to move to closure, I think a squirrel may have gotten the first two seeds I planted from the remarkable fruits. I've put out Di-Con, but I may have been too late.

On Saturday, March 5, 2005, at 04:52 PM, Aplfgcnys@aol.com wrote:

Jim, I'm certainly no expert and have no professional background, but
I have started started seeds indoors for close to fifty years. I'm sure
you are planning a much grander operation than I have ever had, but
I do have one tip. I have used cooky pans in the past to catch drips,
and find they rust and end up being pretty messy. I now usually use
aluminum roasting pans which can be discarded at the end of the

I have never used heating coils. The things that I think need bottom
heat, especially squash, I start on top of the dryer and furnace in the
laundry room, and bring out into the light when the first seed-leaves
appear. I realize you're thinking of a much bigger operation, but
do you really think you would need the heat in your climate?

For many years I started seeds in plastic cups full of vermiculite.
I would put the whole packet of seeds into one cup, and when the
sprouts had four leaves would transplant each into those plastic
six-packs. Labor intensive. Now I have some of Parks' starters
and also fill six-packs with soil and put two or three seeds into
each - remove the weakest as they grow. Less time and effort,
but I'm not sure I have any better results.

I'm telling myself each day that it's too soon to start seeds, but
I'm sure I will not be able to resist doing it soon even though I
know I should wait until the end of the month. Good luck with

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Island Jim
Southwest Florida
27.0 N, 82.4 W
Hardiness Zone 10
Heat Zone 10
Minimum 30 F [-1 C]
Maximum 100 F [38 C]

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