I have been a member of the Alpine Garden Society for a very long time and every year they produce a most impressive seed list which for one reason or another, I’ve never had anything from.
This year that changed, I dipped my toe into the 5621 items on the list, picked my allocation of 23 packets and then the 50 items for alternatives. When you are asked to give that many alternatives you don’t expect to get very many of your first choices, so it was pretty astonishing when they arrived to find I had all 23 of my first choice list.
What I usually do with seeds is to sow them in 9cm pots and put them in the greenhouse. If they need a bit of warmth they go on my propagation bed, otherwise they go on the bench. The glasshouse is kept frost free so they get cold but not frozen. When prolonged cold treatment is called for I have put the pots in the fridge.
A lot of things just never come up, so after a couple of years I usually give up and throw them away, always with that worry that they might have been just at the point of germinating. It has meant that I’ve always had quite a lot of pots around containing ungerminated seeds, needing watering, weeding and a degree of vigilance.
I decided it was time to try something different. I came across a website called robsplants.com and an article on it about germinating seeds on filter paper in plastic bags. As a method it has two big advantages; it takes up much less space and it makes applying the conditions the seeds require to germinate much easier.
I used Jellito seeds website to check on the germination requirements of the seeds I had and picked out 9 varieties that needed cold treatment. I used coffee filter papers and 8 x 12cm sealable plastic bags. I moistened the filter paper, spread the seeds on it, folded it up and placed it in the bag which I then closed. I shall let the seeds imbibe water then check that the filter paper is still reasonably moist. It’ll be a daily check for a few days. Then I need to place them on edge, so the roots grow along the paper, not through it, if and when they germinate.
They’re going to get a couple of weeks warmth indoors, then a period of time in the fridge, then warm again to hopefully achieve germination. I’ll keep you posted.
For those interested the seeds I sowed were:
Eryngium bourgattii ‘Pico’s Blue’
Iris setosa dark blue
Polygonatum sp dwarf SBQE 310
Fritillaria michaelovskyi hybrid