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The Corroboree
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Thoughts and info... cont.

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Hard Coat Seed Germination (hot and arid plants)

When I look at a seed one of things that goes through my mind is how can I help this along? It's a question that I've been trying to answer for decades. i know that all seeds really want to germinate otherwise the mother plant would have committed her resources into something else than to go through all the trouble of generating a seed... right? The problem is that they can't tell us directly, we've got to be good listeners and thinkers most people have problems not because of bad seed Most don't get success due to bad technique and information. Sadly many that try to work with entheogenic plants or exotic seeds learning from trial and error is both time consuming and very expensive. So as someone that's lost hundreds of dollars in seeds over the years I've come up with a personal germination method that seems to give good results. So here's some of my thoughts and process I go through after reviewing any available instructions on the net. With any new plant seed I try to evaluate the environment it's evolved into as best I can many times a picture of wild plants will tell me a great deal about what I need to replicate in order to successfully germinate seed. Things like weather, climate, soil and even perhaps animal interaction all provide clues for successful germination and cultivation. with Ephedra, Acacia or other hard shelled dry environment plant species. I prefer to do a few things with these hardened seed types to speed up germination as they're clearly water repulsive coated we need to get that core moistened up a bit. Take the seed and lightly brush along the length of the seed casing with a emery board (finger nail file) or fine sand paper. you need not go very deep... just enough to roughen the surface. do not go so deep as to into the meat of the seed. First, I give them a nice soaking in warm /hot water to soften that seed coat up then in a mix of hydrogen peroxide household standard with about 75-80% tap water to sterilize the seed coat and also soften it up a bit more. Do not let the seed over swell pull them out early. I then prepare a soil type (this is where almost all brown thumbs go wrong imo) for these harsh environment types i'll make up a batch of sharp cut sand (aka washed sand to remove all fine grains) by putting playground sand into a wire strainer and hosing it clean after washing ... I might take the extra step of running boiling water over it to sterilize completely. ESPECIALLY if the sand is sourced from a riverbed. This is mixed up with about equal parts of pearlite and /or a peat based seed starter mix. for ephedra, I used 50% sand 20/20 starter mix. DO NOT USE any composted topsoil or planting soil mix! all will contain both destructive bacterial and fungal cultures that will consume the seeds. many herb and veggie gardeners don't experience problems because their seeds germinate rather quickly where as some of our seed types may take up to 6 months to show themselves. When the new soil mix is ready it is then placed into small 2.5" cups and packed down. at this point everything is fairly sterile Seeds are set 1/4" down and covered with the soil mix. The cup is then covered and sealed with saran wrap The clear wrap is tied it off with a rubber band or tape tightly This is to keep out bacteria, fungus as well as small fungus gnats that will destroy all your seedlings with their maggots. I've had a real problem with those pests once done and labeled with a sharpie (species and date) everything is placed into a tray and on a bright shelf with a tad of direct sunlight and that's it. You've constructed a mini greenhouse I've found that they can be placed in direct sunlight for hours without overheating and killing the seed (due to their small size ) while still retaining moisture. water should remain fairly constant with way with less flux in temperatures, there's still air exchange but it's going to be from the bottom and it's the best way I've got to keep fungus gnats from attacking the perfect little environment with their maggots. after germination hard seed coats that may be kept moist enough for the seedling to easily cast off easily. when the seedling is ready, either holes caqn be made in the plastic wrap or the rubber bands can be removed to increase air exposure and harden the plant over the following week. transplant when ready into a larger pot. Enjoy.