Seed Germination

Loukie Viljoen
12 August 2000

I have been reading all the banter about germination of seedlings, colour of seeds etc, etc. Perhaps I can add to the confusion by explaining my procedure. I planted about 200 seeds today 12 Aug 2000 in my home made germinator. As you can see I only put the seeds on top of the soil, with no covering, but well wetted with a fungicide, the soil happens to be ordinary potting soil from a nursery supplier, uncooked, not microwaved or any of the likes. The whole lot is put into a tank that used to house my grandson's snake collection, you can see the green astroturf flooring in the tank, on the outside of the bottom of this tank are some of the foil covered heating pads used for keeping the cold blooded snakes comfortable in the cold weather, this is covered by a well fitting lid, no circulation but plenty bottom heat, hence the condensation on the inside of the glass as seen in the other photo also the wires of the heaters are visible. The temperature in this tank through winter does not drop below 20 degrees Celsius, and does not rise above 23 degrees. 

The humidity in the box is at a constant 80%, so it is hot and humid. I used this method to germinate some imported Japanese seeds, arriving here on 8 April, the beginning of their growing season and spring but for us the start of our cold season, I did not want to wait until spring, so I germinated them in this setup, I did have a 100% germination in the dead of winter, the first sign of germination was exactly 3 days after planting, all were germinated within 3 weeks of planting and I have not lost a seedling. This whole contraption stands in front of a window allowing plenty morning sun to strike the seeds and also increases the temperature, I do spray them every morning with a very dilute fungicide, viz. FUNGINEX, the bottle is inside the whole contraption so as to keep the solution warm and so that the wetting is done by water of the same temperature.

As far as seed colour is concerned, I think it depends a lot on the timing of the harvesting, open a berry before it has changed colour and you will have virtually green seeds, the later they stay on the plant the darker they seem to become. I will for interest sake keep you posted as to the progress of this method and later will include photos of germinated seeds or rotten seeds. Two of the little green pots contain seeds sown on the 24 July 2000, all have germinated, the third pot has 5 seeds from a special yellow Cultivar sown on the 9 Aug.