10/12/2007

Notes to myself.

I was much more drunk an hour ago. Than I am right now.

Besides my favorite coconut rum + pineapple chunks (with juice) + cran concoction, I'm also drinking lots of Bloody Marys these days. Bloody Marries? Surely, San Francisco's best Bloody Mary is had at the Lush Lounge. Well, at Whoreticulture Gardens, we do them with vodka + V-8 + freshly ground pepper + a few of these peppers Guy has Safeway deliver because we don't do grocery stores.

IMG_7139

Anyhow, this blog post is a note to myself that all my recently ordered seeds have been delivered, and that tonight I sowed Penstemon Palmeri, Camassia quamash, Delphinium cardinale, and D. californica.

It has long been my custom since I started sowing seeds last year, to soak them in a glass of water overnight before sowing, and to discard any floaters. Only seeds that sink get sown. Well, none of the D. californica sank. They all floated. But I sowed them anyway. Because they all floated. We shall see what happens.

(I could just write that note down on the tag I insert into the sowing flat, but then what would I have to blog about? Carol keeps her notes separate from the blog, but I'm not that organized. Everything that happens that needs to be remembered, I put here. Because I have to do this for me. Because I don't know you. Why should I care about you?)

Also, I want to note, to myself, that Flowercraft Nursery was out of sterile sowing mix, and has been for several weeks. So I concocted my own mix with bagged peat and perlite, mixed 5:1. (Peat is reasonably sterile, and since I've never experienced damping off, I am not afraid of it.) What's generally* most important to seed germination, besides sowing shallowly, is good contact between the seed and sowing medium. Contact must be thorough. This is what keeps the seed coat soaked, so that water can leach away germination inhibitors, so the coat will soften, so that it will slough off. Peat fibers are very small, and form a nice, tight enclosure around the seed.

*What may be specifically important to germination are things like diurnal temperature fluctuation and stratification. Most temperate zone perennials need at least the diurnal temperature fluctuation to germinate. I keep the seed-sown containers on a heating pad during the day, and I put them outside at night.

The Camassia quamash I did not bother to soak. They will take several weeks or months to germinate, and during that time they'll be in a flat left outside in the cold California winter rains with no diurnal fluctuation. They'll have plenty of soaking.

They can dry out next summer. Like me.

9 comments:

Christopher C. NC said...

My new patio should have room for a seed germination area and will be exposed to the diurnal fluctuations. I also plan to run power outlets into the floor/ceiling above which should prove useful.

Wicked Gardener said...

Funny post. I've learned my lesson about blogging under the influence.

mmw said...

The problem with peat is the acidity, particularly for southwestern plants. Chuck and I have pretty good water, but if yours is alkaline it will (allegedly) react with the peat, with dire effects on your seeds, and/or quality biscuits. (I'm assuming it's the same reaction as baking powder, but I'll let Chuck explain it).

At least, that's what I've been told. I haven't done comparative testing or anything.

chuck b. said...

Hmm, I don't know... besides peat and perlite, the only other ingredients in my usual seed sowing mix are vermiculite and pumice. Neither affect pH.

Amazing that if you type "Does pumice affect pH?" in a Google search, you get this nice website.
http://www.oan.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=162

chuck b. said...

Oh, you might be right about alkaline water reacting badly with acidic peat. Presumably the result would be a salty germination medium that could impede the absorption of water by radicles and rootlets.

lisa said...

Aw c'mon, you're not REALLY drying out next summer, are you? Why? Cleansing ritual or something? Alcohol is your friend...you wouldn't turn your back on youu friend, would you? (Amazingly, I'm NOT drunk right now ;-)

mmw said...

Yeah, salts precipitating is what's supposed to be bad about it. Chemistry is awesome, why don't you explain it on your blog?

I would LOVE it, but I'd probably be the only one.

chuck b. said...

I had a science for gardeners URL for awhile, but I never did anything with it. To explain chemistry well, I would need graphics tools. Acquiring those, learning how to use them, learning how to post graphics...all of that exceeds my blogging interest.

LostRoses said...

Chuck, I think you are amazingly lucid for being under the influence. Must be all that peat and perlite. You crack me up!