1. Seeds should be in a healthy condition, free of disease. Most 'bad' seeds either smell, look or feel bad. White growth generally indicates fungus.

2. Upon receiving the seeds, they should be soaked in a strong fungicidal solution. This helps a) restore seed moisture and b) attempt to prevent fungus attack. If some seeds sink upon soaking whilst others float, it could be an indication that the floaters have dried out too much. It warrants closer investigation.

3. Seeds should be planted in a sterile mixture of approximately 50% coarse washed sand and 50% german peatmoss. These should be sieved and adequately moist, NOT wet.

The seeds should be placed into the mix, approximately ½ way deep, with the germ ends of the seeds all facing one direction. The seeds should be planted flat ways, not end ways, as it takes a great deal of energy for the seed to produce roots and leaves, and the less mix the seed must push through, the more energy it has to produce growth tissues.

Seeds of a fleshy nature require more moisture control than do seeds with a hard coating. It is often beneficial to lightly sprinkle some of the seed mix over these types of seeds to a depth of say 1-2mm (a good indication of the correct depth is that when the topping is sprinkled and moist, 50% of the seeds should show some surface.

4. Seed container sizes and sowing distances. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the seed, the closer they can be planted together, in a container of shallower depth.

seed sizedistance aparttray depth
50mm100mm (pots)150=200mm
100mm250mm (pots)250-400mm

In many cases, black poly planter bags are better and cheaper to use than pots, but in the smaller sizes peat pots are desirable.

5. Seeds containers or trays should be placed in approximately 50% light and kept slightly moist. The seeds and mix should NEVER be allowed to dry out. Neither should the mix be any wetter than just damp to touch, otherwise fungus is invited. As the seeds germinate and develop true leaves and roots, light can gradually be increased.

6. EXTREMES ARE LETHAL. Water, soil and air temperature and fertilizer application are the most common killers. Keep air and soil temps within the 18-35°C. Fertilizers do not need to be used until true leaves and roots are formed. And then, only weak solutions of an organic nature, once or twice per week as a foliar.

7. Seedlings should be allowed to remain in their containers until adequate leaf and root growth is evident (and more or less uses up all available room). It is unwise to allow the seedlings to remain in their containers and become rootbound. They should be repotted into a loose organic mix.

8. Good germination and growth requires constant attention - and a careful eye for optimum conditions.

A.W. Carle

DATE: November 1982

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