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Re: Sowing outside (for Marie)

  • Subject: Re: Sowing outside (for Marie)
  • From: Bill Nash raffi@sympatico.ca
  • Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 11:49:41 -0400

At 04:30 PM 08/01/2002, you wrote:

Hi all you experts out there! I found two seedlings today hiding under my
undulata albomarginata (one is obviously a FW offspring - still little but
already showing the characteristic leaf blemishes)...I was thinking: Why not
the seed outside in a seedtray / bed and leave them outside just like nature
intended? All advice welcome...BYE

Hi Marie etc...hosta seed sowing, done directly outdoors is easy to do, with many benefits to this procedure:
<<and this is coming from an amateur seedling growing hobbyist --ie..-- I ain't no expert or professional>>

--  Like millions of plants can be grown from a given pod-parent, when say for example, one is looking for a specific characteristic in a given parent's gene pool, like for example, striated leaves.
        a)... once upon a time, we grew 50,000 plants from H. sieboldiana Elegans, open pollinated seed (looking for streaky kids?) <=> nine striated seedlings were found in this batch. 

-- The production cost of growing seedlings directly outdoors: is almost nil, except for the cost of making very preferred growing beds to sow seeds into.  Boxed raised beds; fully shaded from direct sun; and preferably screened also, to keep critters (squirrels?) out of, is my suggestion to begin with.

-- If one uses regular unsterile garden soil, then weeding becomes a hastle, so I use Pro Mix BX (a sterile & soiless growing growing medium) in my boxed beds, where seedlings are grown.  This is rather expensive to do, since this growing medium costs me about four dollars a cubic foot, but it is well worth the initial cost in the long run.  Potting and transplanting can be done without use of a shovel.  Squirrels love to hide their goodies in Pro Mix hence, I'm saying to screen the whole bed.

-- Hosta seeds can be sown outside in the Autumn (just before freeze up) and the seedings will sprout the next summer, after soil temperature moves above 42* Fahrenheit, or the seeds can be sown in early springtime, as soon as the frost comes out of the ground.   Considering all my seed sowing experiments -- I WOULD SAY --

-- hosta seed germination is not hindered by storing this seed frozen; and in fact, STORED FROZEN SEED will sprout 20 years later, which would not be possible, if this seed was kept out in the open, say in the regular dry and warm conditions of an average house environment.  Hosta seed, will become fully dry and dead within several months, whenever it is not stored via refrigeration.  I store all of my hosta seed frozen, since this is the best way to maintain the germination factors, for a long as one wishes (many years?).

-- the hosta seedlings sprouted directly outdoors, do survive the next winter nicely, even without any mulching.  However, quite often: frost heave, throws these plants onto the surface of the soil, when snow melts completely, but using a mulch of shredded leaves, will prevent this.  If the plants are lying on the growing surface, their roots can be shoved back into the growing medium via thumb pushing, and the plants will survive and grow nicely in their second year.

-- Hosta seedlings, which are sown directly outdoors, do generally bloom in their second year.

Final thought, direct outdoor sowing can be done successfully with most perennial genus.

<just my thoughts, Marie, I hope this helps and good luck>

Bill Nash Guelph Ontario Canada Zone 4


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