I've seen several reports of lower percent
germination. For the last two years, I've gotten over 80% germination by
using Jiffy-7 peat-pods. Here is how I do it.
I'm in Kansas. I plant the first week of
October. My germination bed is outside, exposed to the elements, but
strategically placed out of the wind.
After expanding the Jiffy-7 pods in tap water, I
insert a numbered label in each pod. Last year, I used a popsicle stick cut in
I use a pencil to make a hole, about 1/2" deep
and plant one seed per pod. Lightly squeeze
the pod to close the hole.
After I have a tray (i.e., a cookie baking sheet)
prepared, I place the pods in the ground keeping the tops of the pods at ground
level. I use a 2x4 wood frame which allows me to row the pods out and
helps me keep track of each pod. I fill in spaces between the pods with plotting
Once in the ground, I staple a plastic screen over
the frame so the pods do not pop out. I also fence-off the frame to
keep the critters out.
When the leaves fall, I cover the pods with leaves
( about 2"). After that, I pretty much forget about them. I may water once or
twice if we don't get any precipitation after a 3 week period. It is
important to establish a wetting a drying cycle as this helps pull the abscisic
acid out of the seed. BTW, abscisic acid inhibits germination.
Plants germinate in March and I transplant in late
April, after they have 2-3 leaves. The attached photo shows my seedlings
after I have removed the leaves and protective screen and getting ready to
transplant. This year I left the nylon mesh on the pods so as not to
disturb the roots when I transplanted. The mesh does not appear to harm the
development of the seeding and speeds-up the transplant process.
Planting in the pods in the ground and
covering with leaves serves as a natural temperature and moisture buffer that
protects against a hard freeze and prolonged dry periods. I have noticed
the pods the remain covered with leaves tend to germinate earlier than exposed
You can zoom into my picture to get a better idea
of my system. Note the albino seedlings in the upper right corner. These
are from a pink amoena self that eventually died. High percent germination is
critical if you are trying to determine segregation ratios. It also increases
the satisfaction you get from your labor, regardless your
If you already have your seeds planted in pots, you
may want to consider burring them in the ground and covering with
Good Luck to all.