Thanks for the info, Griff.
I meant to rinse my seeds every day, but got side-tracked til this morning, so the seeds were soaking for 3 days. Some did have "gunk" but most didn't. I used little clear plastic cups, all sitting on an old cookie sheet, since I only collected 21 pods. Good idea re stacking them after they're finished soaking. I'll be planting them in 4 to 6" square pots, damping the soil slightly, then covering them all with ziplock bags, duct taped closed.
I'll be placing all the pots just off my deck beside my shade garden, where it gets lots of snow cover, and no foot traffic til spring.
I tried this method with various other perennials over the years, and it seems to work well. The bag keeps slight moisture inside the container for a few weeks after all the snow melts. It's the first time I've tried it with iris seeds though.
Donald, when I first saw your picture of your pots in the wheelbarrow, it looked like a very well organized seedpod. ;)
Good luck with all those seeds, Elm. Perhaps a roof garden isn't such an outlandish suggestion.
El, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Z3
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 14:17:58 -0500
Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: HYB: seed pots [and more]
Forgetting all the seed burritos, tacos, enchildas, napkins, blankets, refrigerators, toilet tanks and what have you, and addressing only the matter of removing the germination-inhibiting coating from the seeds (the existence of which I accept as a reality), there is really a very simple way to do it. I empty the seeds from ripe (splitting or about to split) pods into individual little plastic containers (the kind that dairy products like cheese spread come in) and let them dry out for a couple of months. Mold may form on some of the seeds, but it doesn’t do any apparent harm.) In October (if I get to it that early), I run about a quarter of an inch of water into each container and stack them atop one another, letting them sit for at least 5 to about 10 days. By that time, the coating has been reduced to an evil-smelling gunk in which the seeds are sitting. I then pour each container’s contents into a wire mesh washing machine lint trap and hold it under the cold water tap in the kitchen full force. You can turn the contents this way and that under the faucet to ensure they get a good rinse. This only takes a few seconds, and it removes the evil gunk. I then shake the seeds back into their containers, which also have been rinsed free of the gunk, and stack them atop one another. The seeds will stay moist for a couple of days as I plant them into pots.
Now, this supposedly betters the odds that our seeds will germinate, but it by no means guarantees it. Other factors apparently are involved, and I don’t think we know what all of them are.
If I went back through my yearly records, I might find patterns of more or less successful germination from pods involving one or another cultivar -- or I might not. I haven’t had the time to do it. But, regardless of traits peculiar to certain cultivars, there is a pattern that I have observed over the years. That is, that no matter whether the winter has been mild or severe, wet or dry, the overall (all pots) rate of germination of seeds here fluctuates wildly. In an average year, I can expect better than 60%. In some years, better than 70%. But I have also had years in which the rate has dropped below 20%, and this past year (shudder) less than 5%. So, where does the pattern come in?
The pattern is that all of my fellow hybridizers in Region 4 with whom I talk report similar fluctuations in the same years. I’ve been tracking this for several years, ever since I first began to notice the coincidence. This leads me to suspect that there is something in the genetics of bearded irises --something cyclical, perhaps -- that is a controlling factor in germination which is as yet beyond our ken.
I’d be interested to know what others think on this subject. -- Griff
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2010 8:59 AM
Subject: [iris-photos] Re: HYB: seed pots
That's what I was thinking. But I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to
Maybe daily dunk burritos for a week, slosh them around, then squeeze as
much water out as I can, then back in fridge. That way, the ones that
need a little more chilling will be sure to get it at optimal
temperature (in the fridge), not as erratic as on the sunporch. Just
pick out & pot up the germinating ones, same as in the past.
But first, I have to get all the mess off the shelves on the sunporch -
> Will you be changing the water every day?
> <<I'll try to soak them in their baggies & plant afterwards>>
> Betty W.
Linda Mann east TN USA zone 7