Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seedy Update

While I am usually able to coax along most things growing outside, I am daunted by this whole seed adventure I am on this spring. After GoddessSupport gifted me with a heat mat and a grow light, I felt sort of obligated to not only have a stab at it, but try to be successful... I have to admit that it is with a wing and a prayer that any of these seeds has actually sprouted! Mother Nature clearly doesn't need help from me, but she may need me to take the Hippocratic oath and "do no harm" the last few days the speckled red beans have done their thing! Now all are sporting alien like protuberances that seem to know which way is up and down.

In order for germination to occur, three fundamental conditions must exist :
(1) The embryo must be alive or viable
(2) Any dormancy requirements that prevent germination must be overcome. (read-after obligatory warming, cooling, freezing, they have to come out of their nifty paper sleeves and get put into some dirt...aka "seed germination medium")
(3) The proper environmental conditions must exist for germination. (well it was too cold in the garage, but they seem to like the dining room!)

These little individual peat pots were a little challenging (to me)...first they needed more water to "swell" and then they needed someone who is not particularly delicate to get an individual seed or two into the tiny little spot intended for their "nest."
But, I did it and now...I have sprouted Vanilla Ice sunflowers!

These are Yellow Pear tomatoes...a favorite of GoddessSupport...

A tray full of Lupines!

Three distinct phases of seed germination occur: water imbibition; lag phase; and radicle emergence.

In order for the seed coat to split, the embryo must imbibe (soak up water), which causes it to swell, splitting the seed coat. The rate of imbibition is dependent on the permeability of the seed coat, amount of water in the environment and the area of contact the seed has to the source of water. For some seeds, imbibing too much water too quickly can kill the seed. (I have yet to do this)

For some seeds, once water is imbibed the germination process cannot be stopped, and drying then becomes fatal.(No kidding! The first round of sunflowers were "disimbibed")

Other seeds can imbibe and lose water a few times without causing ill effects, but drying can cause secondary would be helpful if they stated this implicitely on the packet! I would buy a heap of these!

The seed is an embryo with two points of forms the stems the other the roots, is enclosed in a seed coat with some food reserves.

The embryo is composed of different parts;
-the epicotyle grows into the shoot,
-the radicle grows into the primary root,
-the hypocotyl connects the epicotyle and the radicle,
-the cotyledons form the seed leaves,
-the testa or seed coat forms the outer covering of the seed.

The radicle, is the first structure to emerge from the seed during germination. (I have lots of radicals in the dining room right now) It penetrates the soil very rapidly, forming a slender, usually unbranched taproot.

The embryonic leaves, aka seed leaves, develop into the plant's first leaves above ground. These leaves open within a few days after the plant emerges from the soil and begin photosynthesizing to provide the growing seedling with its new -- and renewable -- food source.

So there you have the third grade seed primer.
I have my fingers crossed that some of these will make it safely from the dining room to the outside garden where they have a MUCH better chance of thriving...only time will tell.


Les said...

I just wanted to stop by and thank you for faving me on Blotanical. I hardly ever visit the site, but they sent me the notice. I am always glad to learn of another local blogger and am interested in what you post. Thanks again!


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Your seedlings look like they're off to a roaring start. Funny yours like the dining room...ours favor the living room, which at the moment looks more like a greenhouse! Can't wait to see your sunflowers in bloom.

The Idiot Gardener said...

Those beans are looking good. By the way, watch out for those pellets. I tried some with success and others (Jiffys) with horrible failures and mould! Since then I've switched to pots and to be honest, my germination rates have increased!