The Third Test - 54 groups of seeds; March 17, 2008
I'm not going to list all of the crosses. There are 316 seeds in 54 crosses. Thirteen containers have 4 or less seeds, four containers have over 10 seeds with the largest holding 18 seeds.
I'm starting to ramp up now and the Easter weekend should see as many as another 100+ crosses added to the mix. I want to point out that I set up shelves to maximize my window exposure. They are just 1x6 pine boards that I have stacked with rolls of paper towel to hold them up. They've been covered in black peel 'n stick tiles to attract the sun. The sun heats the tiles, the tiles heat the rocks and the rocks should retain that heat for some time after the sun has gone down.
Another change - these seeds were all pre-soaked in a 9 parts water to 1 part peroxide solution for 24 hours. Test results (seen here) have shown this is the optimum blend for maximum results. A surprising number of them were already sprouted when they went on the rocks. In addition, after that disaster in the 2nd test with the mouldy seeds I got some advice to try a diluted addition of NO DAMP to my rocks water. All 54 containers are using the solution at the rate of 100 parts water to 1 part NO DAMP.
This particular group of seeds were part of a fridge rescue operation. While cleaning out the fridge I found baggies of seeds that had either mouldy or rotten seeds in them. Not all seeds were covered in mould or so rotten that they oozed. These are the salvaged seeds and therefore they have the massively HUGE potential to go south on me. If there was ever a test for NO DAMP's ability to combat mould, this is it!
Day 2ish (actually 0-4 depending on the container but I'll use the average). If you're wondering, the big container has iris seeds 'on the rocks'. We'll revisit the iris container at the bottom of this page.
Day 3 - I gave every container the sniff test this evening in search of the telltale 'rotten potato' scent that signals a problem. All containers gave off a medicinal scent probably due to the NO DAMP. First group of photos shows the buildup of condensation. Initially, when you lift the cover it will appear that there's no longer enough water at the bottom. However, as the condensation cools it will return to the bottom of the container. Only add to your water level when there's no condensation build up AND the water level looks low. At least 16 containers have sprouts already.
Observation - the growth that occurred while in the peroxide soak is a golden beige while the growth that occurred while on the rocks is a clean white.
|<- This container was in peroxide for 24 hours and on
the rocks for 2 days and it is already showing a blade.
By tomorrow there should be a minimum of two more.
Observation - several seeds have actually split wide open (this is a first for me). You can also really see the difference between the golden peroxide soak growth versus the white 'rocks' growth in the photos below.
Observation - even though this container shows mold (the only one so far) growth continues unabated.
<- This one has a lovely fuzzy mold but the sprout
itself also appears to have some deformity developing.
If it doesn't 'normalize' in the next couple of days
I will probably remove it. So far, this container speaks
well for the effectiveness of the NO DAMP. Usually
mold inhibits growth but that hasn't happened here.
Day 4 - Fans and fungus - fans first! First pic is an 'almost' fan - you can see the split. Last pic shows a fan in the underside crease. Bad angle.
Here is yesterday's fungus cup with another split seed fuzzing at the crack. And a backside shot of the deformed seed mentioned above. On closer examination I think that this is the fan of an albino seedling. Probably has a hopeless future.
|<- These are the front runners, all tet seeds. I don't
think I have a dip sprout yet. I have other buckets
with sprouts but these are the ones showing a little
I just popped this picture up to show what can be a ->
vast difference in seed size between tet and dip seeds.
For anyone that is not familiar with the difference,
the dip seeds are the smaller ones. This photo shows
the extremes. Dips can be larger than these and tets
can be smaller than the photo but generally tets are
bigger than the biggest dip seed.
What a difference a day can make. First photo is Day 4 and second is same seed on Day 5. You can see the dark green patch on Day 4 where the fan will eventually emerge. Oh, if I only had a time-lapse camera we would have been able to see the root push the seed up into a slightly different position.
So here's the fuzz bucket. I have no idea why these seeds are still growing. I should toss them but my curiosity won't let me. I do think that tomorrow I will remove the fuzz-free seeds and set them up in a new clean home but continue to watch this train wreck just to see if there are survivors.
Here's a container of 8 seeds, same cross. Interestingly 3 seeds are pretty much on the same growth timeline while the other 5 have done nothing.
I think the AAD bucket will have a fan tomorrow. I can see the whatchamacallit turning green. (what do you call that thing?)
|Okay, couple of days ago I mentioned that I had a
seeds that had cracked wide open on me. They're growing for
some unknown reason. Anyway, I think I know what happened.
Me - I'm an idiot sometimes. I had boiled my water, added the
peroxide, waited for it to cool before the pre-soak. I suspect
that I didn't wait long enough and the water was too hot. They
must have been popping like popcorn in those containers. :)
However, the advanced containers have the popcorn seeds which
leads me to believe there may be some value in my error.
Day 6 - The dead and dying from the fuzz bucket. The two cracked seeds have been removed and another has a sickly color to its root.
The above might lead you to believe that a cracked seed case is a terrible thing, and yet I have proof otherwise. We get to see inside a seed.
Day 7 - I have removed the NO DAMP solution from ALL containers. In 2 containers I started to notice root rot. I don't know that the NO DAMP was responsible or not but I was not prepared to put all of the crosses at risk to find out. I think that I may try it again next year when I have surplus seeds of crosses that I've done myself rather than test it on seeds I've paid for.
|<- All of these seeds came from one container. I found
another container with similar blackening of the roots.
Clearly the seeds germinated fine and then something
happened afterward (no damp?). To be safe I suctioned
the remaining containers and replaced it with the original
The seedlings that have done well up to this point continue to flourish with no ill effects of No Damp which adds to my confusion.
And the dips have finally made an appearance. This time with no discoloration from the peroxide soak because they didn't sprout while in peroxide.
Day 8 - The front running tet containers have reached the lid on the containers. I will either have to remove the lid and bag the container or remove and pot up the taller seedlings so that I can recover for the remaining seeds.
And with the close of Day 8 it looks like the dips will produce their first mini-fan tomorrow
Day 9 - The first of the sprouts were potted. They had reached their covers but because there were unsprouted seeds I pulled them out.
The first dip fan - dips on the top row, tets on the second row
|<- The seed coats have smoothed out
well in these containers so the other
seeds should sprout soon.
Okay, I thought I had a problem in this container. Take a look at the seed at the bottom frame of the seed cup. A dark root. I was prepared to pluck the seed and flush it but when lifted it there's a nice clean root. I hesitated, waffled... then decided to give it its own container just to protect the rest of the cross.
Day 11 - So far, 30 of 54 containers do not even have a single sprout. The majority of the unsprouted have plumped up though. Some of these were very dry seeds, some were even crosses from 2006. If I don't see some results by the weekend (Day 14) I will place them, container and all, back into the fridge for another 4 weeks. It's possible that they were too dry to break dormancy in which case some time in the fridge, now that they've plumped, should do the trick.
I have one container shown below DRSCBG that is 7/7; container GSCAM is 5/6; AAD is 3/5; and container SABCL above is 4/4 (counting the dark one).
Day 12 - A planted seedling update, a group shot and the last picture is a fan trying to unfurl. I haven't seen one do it this way before.
Day 13 (March 28, 2008) - Mixed bag of stuff today... first a space demonstration. In the first photo below is an example of three methods of starting seeds, the same number of seeds and the same number of crosses. Four crosses of 6 seeds each, one group in 16oz beer cups, one group in jiffy peat pellets and the third in the 2oz Dixie (or Solo) cups. You can see the space savings with the Dixie cups. The jiffy pellets were planted March 23rd. I pre-ripped the netting before planting hoping that this will prevent any seedlings from root-choke in the netting. I also slid a cross ID'd plastic knife along the row as a seed marker. After only 5 days I can see 3 sprouts out of 24 seeds but I find myself staring at the soil of the other pellets and dying to poke around in the dirt to find out what's happening in there.
And the odd disastrous seeds continue to appear. I think I'm getting a little better at pulling out trouble-makers before I have a major problem. First two photos show a pair of seeds in an otherwise good cup sharing a fuzzy blanket. I yanked them both out of there. In another bucket I also yanked out a pair 'popped' rotten seeds, in a third container a case of 'root-rot' showed up again and I checked out the seed that was brown with the white root... MOLD!
It's not all bad news. Some of the seeds that I rescued from some of the ugly buckets (remember that a lot of these seeds came from baggies where the mold had started to form while they were still in the fridge) are growing fairly well. One rescue from the container described as the 'fuzz bucket' CDUn in the first week is growing well but starting to show a little mold and some darkening at the crown. It is the only seed in that container so there is no harm in letting it continue until I can pot it up. Second photo is from LRUn, another single survivor of a problem container. Third shot is an unsprouted single survivor of PPUn container. The last shot is the unfurled fan of the same seed shown in the Day 12 photos.
Day 15 (March 30, 2008) - Well, here's something new to me - crown rot! And on an itty bitty scale. It seems the 'rescues' were doomed from the beginning. I don't know if this is a No Damp burn or not. I don't think I can blame it on the peroxide because there were no crowns exposed to the peroxide. Some of these early crowns may have been exposed to the No Damp though before I suctioned it off. I potted these into soil today but I don't hold out much hope. (See 2009 update for good news on LRUn at the bottom of this page)
At the same time these seeds fared very well without being affected by No Damp. I'm at a loss to be able to explain it.
OT but the Iris seeds mentioned at the top of this experiment page are still in the fridge (4 weeks). I also have two groups of Blackberry Lily seeds 'on the rocks' to see how they do. They are in slightly larger containers. These are just recycled containers from other products. The results of these containers are presented at the bottom of this page.
Day 16 (March 31, 2008) - I learned something new today... well, last night to be honest. I mentioned to Eric West that I wanted to put the unsprouted containers back in the fridge but he told me to wait longer. I told him that I was afraid of mold being a problem if I kept the seeds in a warm, damp environment. He said that the best way to combat mold was with air. His advice was to take the covers off. I protested because of evaporation and my lack of horizontal space. I'm not home all day so I can't 'top up' the containers as the water evaporates and with cats n' kids in the house I couldn't have containers spread out all over the place. We came to a compromise. I found a way to stack vertically without lids and decided to take the lids off at night. Less evaporation and no activity in the house to knock over the containers. I can remove the lids around 10pm, juice them up with some extra water, check them in the morning for possible 'top up' before capping again for the day. Containers continue to sprout so I will hold off on stuffing any back in the fridge for a while. Last pic in this row are the 'crown-rot kids'. Little hard to tell but they're still alive in there. They are destined for certain death but I'll continue to water them 'just in case'.
The star's of the show - DRSCGB with 7 of 7 seeds all with fans and others that are greening up nicely. No more crown rot showing in these containers. Refresher course now, if you scroll up you'll see the cross of BCSI where 3 seeds sprouted and they have been removed and potted. There were 4 remaining seeds in the cross that stayed behind in the container. If you look in the lower right-hand corner of this first shot you can see a container with 'BCS' on it. Those are the 4 remaining seeds of which 2 more have sprouted. And the top container SABCL has the fan that wanted to unfurl (touching the 'B') still has a kink in it.
And of the 24 seeds that I planted into the jiffy pellets I still only have 3 seeds sprouted (that I can see) and they are all in the same cross. I'm happy this particular cross has sprouted as these are my Blue Hippo seedlings. You can see that they pulled the seed case up out of the peat.
Day 17 - BCSI started with 8 seeds (see Day 5 above); 3 sprouts already potted on Day 9; 1 seed with mold plucked & flushed; 2 new sprouts on Day 15
The rootless wonders, still growing in pics 1 & 2; last pic is a cup planted with 7 seeds TRFK on March 25th, all 7 seeds breaking ground on the 7th day.
Day 18 (April 2, 2008) - To date, all but 15 of 54 cups have some sprouting. Currently no cups are having problems with mold. Taking the covers off seems to have helped but I've found that the water levels drop too much overnight so I'm just doing it for about 4-5 hours in the evening when I'm around to 'top up' the levels. Some cups have been taken out of service either because they've fully sprouted or because they've gone (literally) down the toilet. Here are 3 containers that I will retire this weekend. Two have outgrown their covers so I have them in a ziplock bag. SBSC needs one more fan and then its ready to go.
Here's an interesting cup - 2 different angles of the same container. I picked this container because of the differences within a single cross. Six seeds and the one in the center (1) is the only one that's 'average'. One seed (2) hasn't sprouted, one (3) has thinned and dried at the seed case to the point that I don't think it can produce a fan, another (4) is trying to unfurl a fan from the underside, one (5) has the tiniest little fan coming out really low probably because of the wicked hook in the seed leaf section and the last seed (6) has a gushy, sickly looking sprout with a black crown and no apparent greening happening. Even though this is not the best cup from a results point of view, it is nice to know why I will probably only get 3 seedlings from 6 seeds. I would not be able to seed this with soil.
Day 20 (April 4, 2008) - There are still 10 containers with performance anxiety and the crown rot kids continue to grow. Below are two cups in the early stages of germination. The biggest difference are the seed sizes. The larger ones are tets on the larger end of the tet seed scale. The smaller ones are dips that are on the smaller end of the dip seed scale.
An update on my daylily jungle cups
Check out these roots! From the DRSCGB bucket...
Day 21 (April 5, 2008) - First picture are the crown rotters. Why are they growing? Scroll up to Day 15, that was 6 days ago. They should be dead by now but they are bigger and they look healthy. I'll just keep watering them I guess. Second picture is one of the Blue Hippo seedlings in a jiffy pellet. Still only have 3 of 24 seeds sprouted in the jiffy containers.
And an update on the rocks seedlings that were planted on Day 9 - background shows TRFK at 11 days old. Also in the background, under the plastic cover, is a soil cup with 5 seeds from the same seller and planted on the same day as TRFK. So far nothing has broke the surface. I really want to poke around them...
Day 22 - A detour of sorts. During this experimental run I also decided to put my Castor Bean seeds on the rocks. I started with all of them on the rocks but after a day or two I lost faith and took about half of them out and planted them in soil. Here are the remaining (the soil ones haven't 'popped' yet) seeds that I left 'on the rocks'. The seeds are large as is the container. If you've ever bought gummie bears from WalMart then you have one of these containers too.
Another thing I discovered today, some seeds that I received in the fall came in little paper coin envelopes. I pulled them out today to possibly plant them. Holy! Were they ever dry. Shriveled to raisins - worse than raisins actually. If I'd known in the fall what I know now I would have prepared them better for storage. Anyway, what I'm left with now is an attempt to remoisten them and provide enough time in the fridge to break the dormancy. I packed them into baggies with damp vermiculite and tossed them back into the fridge. Looks a lot like oatmeal raisin cookie dough.
Day 24 (April 8, 2008) - The good, the bad, and the oh-so UGLY!
First, the Good - I was supposed to pot these this past weekend but life got in the way. Tomorrow, for sure.
The Bad - If you scroll back up to Day 18 you'll see a cup where I numbered every seed. I disposed of seeds 3 and 6. Of the remaining seeds, one is the unsprouted seed and the other three have all gone albino on me. This was Siloam David Kirchhoff X Crystal Blue Persuasion. Apparently they don't bring out the best in each other. :(
And finally, the UGLY - so ugly that they're cool. Kind of have an Alien look to them. They've set anchor and they are rising up. (Castor Beans)
Day 25 (April 9, 2008) - My best one-day crop. I finally got around to potting up the two containers that were about 3" tall. Great looking root systems on these seedlings. There were potted in a mix of coir and vermiculite in 16oz beer cups until the remaining snow disappears. I still have 18-20" on the gardens.
Here's a brand new cross, just went on the rocks this past Monday evening so its at Day 2. Another seed blowout, this time without pre-soaking.
And a quick check on the Alien creatures...
Day 26 (April 10, 2008) - A group shot, though this is not the entire group. I've been potting up seedlings pretty regular now. I did another 8 this evening. I bought some clear cups to extend the containers, thereby leaving the seedlings in a little longer and take them past the stage of any damp off happening. And it would seem I'm an albino seedling magnet. Another cross with an albino seedling but this one is very healthy and growing. I doubt it will last too much longer.
And an Alien update, after this photo I planted the tallest seedling and the seeds planted in coir are emerging...
Day 29 (April 13, 2008) - My 'day' job is going to require more of my time until the end of April. Although I will continue with my seeds and seedlings, it is unlikely that I will be able to continue to add content and photos here at my current pace. Hopefully once a week or so won't be too hard, and to be honest, there's not as much happening as there is in the beginning anyway.
I'd like to take the opportunity to recap and revisit. First, I started with 316 seeds. Of those seeds, 111 were seeds from 2006, 151 were seeds that I salvaged from baggies with rotten or molding seeds that I found in the fridge a little too late, and the remaining 56 seeds were clean seeds from 2007. All of these seeds were purchased from sellers and were mailed to me. Some of the total of 316 seeds spent more than a safe amount of time in an outdoor mailbox, possibly with weather that reached -25C for up to 6 hours. I won't make that mistake next year. I'll have them delivered to my office.
So, after 4 weeks I have 101 that sprouted and 124 that are still seeds. That means I'm missing 91 seeds that probably left the building via the toilet. I was plucking and plopping on a regular basis at the first sign of trouble. Just FYI, of the 24 seeds in jiffy pellets on March 23rd, 21 days later only 5 sprouts.
The first photo below are the rootless, crown rot seedling that I thought would die for sure. CDUn is in serious trouble, almost dead. It was the one with mold in addition to what appeared to be crown rot. The others are thriving. I am amazed. The second photo shows a seed that has just sprouted in a cup of seedling that are about 3". It took 4 weeks to get around to sprouting and these are the same cross. One seed is still a hold out.
Next we have an update on my little albino seedling that continues to grow. Others that I've had never got this tall.
And the crazy Alien creatures (Castor Beans) - I have more than enough growing considering they will grow to 6-8' in one summer. They are an annual here and I currently have (between the rocks and the soil seeds) about 15 active plants. Not sure where I'll put them all. The rocks container is starting to mold up so it will be cleaned out pretty soon. I'll plant the sprouts and toss the rest.
Even my kitchen windows have changed dramatically in the last 4 weeks. At the top of this page they look pretty empty but I'm at the stage now where I don't know where I'm going to put anything. And yes, that is snow you can see through the windows. Still 12-18" on the gardens.
And here's a quick look at a group of seeds I started just 6 days ago. Every container is sprouting. One container is 8 for 8. I selected another container because it displays the seed skin that can get stuck on the end of the sprout that can look like rot. The last container were 2 only bonus seeds that absolutely gushed out of their shells and they are the most robust seeds I have ever seen sprout. All of these seeds came from one seller, 'Maya' on the Lily Auction. Just fabulous seeds!
This photo (an enlargement of my two favourite sprouts) - just because its a beautiful thing
For those interested in the Iris seeds.
And for those interested in the Blackberry Lily container
2009 update - On August 3rd, after a shaky start (see March 30/08 entry above), LRUn bloomed! She's not perfect but I never thought it would live after seeing that black crown on that itty bitty seedling.
2011 - I've had a few of these seeds bloom now. Here's TRFK (Talon x Rose F. Kennedy). Yellow was a surprise.
BACK TO 'rocks'