Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Germination Testing

Regardless of the Groundhog, spring is poking its head up in my garden.

Tulips from the Master Gardener (aka Dad) are popping up in the yard.  I'm pretty sure the squirrels found all of them planted in one area, but I keep finding more poking out of the earth.  I also have crocuses budding and more tulips in a pot from the boyfriend's mom. They're getting me amped for some gorgeous blooms this summer.

 Over the years I have acquired a bunch of flower seed packets.  And when I say over the years, I mean I have packets from 2006. I did a little research on the life expectancy of seeds (aka viability) and found that some are only good for a year, some up to five years, so I decided to do a germination test.

I tossed some of the packets because they had so few seeds, or weren't something I really wanted to plant.  I decided to test cosmos (2007), hollyhock (2010), nasturtium (2010), blanket flower (2006), bachelor's buttons (2006), columbine (2006), zinnia (2010), and daisy (2007). 

I wet a paper towel, placed 10 seeds inside, rolled it up with a marker indicating what kind of seed it was, and placed is in a plastic bag on top of my refrigerator.

This year I'm keeping track of all of my planting, germination, blooming, and harvest dates in a notebook. I set up a page for the germination test before I checked it for the first time after two days on the fridge.

If you enlarge that photo, you can see that my hollyhock seeds germinated after only two days!! I was impressed. I used all of the seeds that were left in the seed packet (12), and five of them germinated.  I rolled them back up with the rest to see if any more would germinate.  I checked again Monday morning, and I still had only five hollyhock sprouts, but I had six nasturtiums and seven zinnias that had all sprouted.  Pretty good numbers considering I only had six nasturtium seeds to test, and two more zinnias looked like they were about to sprout and the last seed pod looked empty.

I have been keeping pretty much anything that will hold liquid and or soil for the last month or so to start seeds in.  I planted all of the spouted seeds, including the two zinnias that were thinking about it, in an 18-count egg carton. 

It's still getting cool at night, and we might get some lowland snow this weekend, so they'll have to live under my grow light for a few weeks.  I hope they know how to share, because some romaine sprouts are doing their thing in peat pellets under the light, too.

I plan on waiting for another week on my germination test to see if any other seeds decide to sprout.  I was a little disappointed that was all that came up, but then last night I was gifted by a very generous friend some sweet pea and snapdragon seeds she collected from her flowers last summer.  Between those and some poppy and maybe other seeds collected by the Master Gardener, I should be set.  Hopefully this summer the bees will be loving my flowers and doing their duty to pollinate my veggies.

No comments:

Post a Comment