Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pre-Sprouting Seeds - part 2

I wanted to show you some more pre-sprouting. Here's an interesting example. 
These are beet seeds. Normally I wouldn't pre-sprout beet seed but this package was from 2 years ago, and although stored correctly, I wasn't sure of its ability to germinate. As it turned out, I was getting 80% germination, not bad. But the interesting thing is that you can easily see that beet seed contains multiple germs. The two bottom seeds have two rootlets emerging while the top seed has three. Yes, three little beet plants will develop from that one seed capsule. This is why one must thin beets even if you are careful to space the seed 3 inches apart. 
These seeds are tiny. They're turnips. The big white blog in the bottom of the photo is a normal bean seed for size comparison. Small seeds the size of turnips are not worth pre-sprouting because of their small size. They are very difficult to handle without damaging the emerging rootlets. But again, this was old seed that I wasn't sure would sprout at all. As it turned out, I got a 40% germination rate. So when I go to direct seed into the garden, I now know to seed it on the heavy side since less than half the seed will germinate. 
These are a tan soup pea variety. I was given these from another heirloom gardener. So again, I didn't know if they would germinate. But being large and thus easy to handle, pre-sprouting goes just fine. These little guys germinated a lot faster than I anticipated, so they are a day older than I would prefer to plant. With the longer rootlets, I will have to be careful when planting them. Breaking the rootlets off is way too easy to do. I would prefer the rootlets to be just emerging or up to 1/2 inch long when I go to plant them. 

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