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Re: Seed Starting

  • Subject: Re: Seed Starting
  • From: maria guzman mirror@3RIVERS.NET
  • Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 15:23:48 -0700

>    Can everyone give tips on starting pelargonium seeds?  All kinds of
>experiences would be informative.

You want expert advice or a litany of failures?  I can give you both :-)

I work through a gooseneck magnifying glass on a stand (from my husband's
fly-tying days), plus a sharp razor blade, and a slab of wood.  I place
each seed on the wood (dampened with water or spit for traction) and slice
a miniscule bit off the opposite end of the feather/corkscrew husk.  Then I
CAREFULLY squeeze out the seed.  If you're not careful it's likely to go
flying like a rocket into oblivion.

After this manouver I take the sharp blade again and CAREFULLY slice
another tiny bit off the tip of the seed itself, the narrower (root?) end
opposite what looks like the folded-cotyledon end.  Or you can shave a
paper-thin bit off the shell.  The point is to allow water to enter the
seed so that it will germinate.

When all are prepared I wet a paper towel and fold the seeds in it for
about 48 hours.  If they are species seeds they tend to rot if kept  wet
too long but hybrid seeds don't seem as susceptible.  Anyway check seeds
after a day or two.  Germination is sometimes very erratic.

If all this sounds complex it isn't.  You quickly get fast.

As for soil, I use Scott's Seed Starting Soil from Home Depot which is
milled peat and perlite.  It's quite satisfactory for seedlings.  When
ready to transplant I add more perlite and sometimes sand or use a coarser
mix.  I used to use my homemade compost - which could grow a fencepost -
but I haven't access to compost any more and have learned (the hard way)
the first rule of growing pellies is perfect drainage, as you know.


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