In the spirit of all things new and pertaining to growth and expansion, I’d like to share a little bit of my recent expansion process. Now, I know I’ve been talking a lot about seeds, seedlings, expansion, growth, and all that kinda stuff — but just bear with me. The past couple weeks have really been quite a transition for me, so I guess some of that is rubbing off on these recent posts.
Manifest Destiny. I’m not talking about the 19th century mindset that the US was going to expand from coast to coast. Nah, I’m talking about all these flippin’ crosses that are now starting to germinate somewhere in my back yard. 120+ different crosses now starting. The Sarracenia are spreading from one end of my yard to the other. Hah!
Back in February I wrote about my seed packing project and getting the seeds I harvested into cold stratification. Now I’m showing you how I get them out and get them started.
One thing I didn’t do back then was make labels… so that’s what I did first. I wrote all the crosses down for that particular seed batch on the envelope I had the seeds stored in. That won’t do for potted plants, so I had to get some label action going on.
So, guess what I did? As I was going through all the crosses, I wrote down all the crosses on a label and paired up with said same cross on envelope. Easier said than done. ESPECIALLY with the complex crosses.
I do this just to be organized. I am sure to stick the label in each pot that the particular cross is going into. After all, ya gotta know what is in each pot one way or another, right?
I began to fill pots up with media to plant the seeds in. What I do is prepare the mix using peat/sand and fill each pot that I will be using for germination up to the top like in the photo below.
I then pull the seed batch out of the respective envelope. Be sure to check out what was going on in February as I go over how I get things in the bag. It’s basically the way I was doing cold stratification as my space is limited.
Inside that envelope are the seeds, and damp peat/sand mix that’s been in the fridge for a while. As you can see, I had the cross labeled on the little envelope and the bag fit perfectly inside. This cross in the example below is an S. ‘Alucard’ x leucophylla, anthocyanin free. The progeny of this cross will not be AF, statistically speaking; however when these seedlings are of flowering maturity and I cross with another anthocyanin free plant – the resulting offspring should partially be anthocyanin free. Genetics, always interesting, yes?
To make it easy to unload, I split open the seam of the bag along one side, exposing the media + seed mix.
I then flip it over and the whole thing falls into the pot very easily, and cleanly.
I spread it around a bit, pat it down, then I insert the tag that has the proper ID.
…and then repeat for 120 times.
As you can see in the photo above, I am using two large mixing tubs as a place to keep the freshly sown seeds in the pots. I fill the black mixing tub with about 1/2 inch of water. There’s another small container with a few more pots outside of this shot — but just wanted to show you a small photo so y’all get the gist of what the heck I was doing.
A friend of mine suggested to use trichoderma to prevent fungus problems. It’s a beneficial fungus that fights the bad fungus. Fight fire with fire, and fungi with fungi. So that’s what I did.
I ordered tablets from http://www.growmorerice.com. No, this is NOT a paid ad on my blog. I’m just lettin’ y’all know where I got this stuff, and how this will turn out with the seeds/seedlings. It’s my first time trying this so this is totally an experiment for me. I’ll continue to document my progress here. I actually have been using this stuff on my Sarracenia starting only a few months ago, and so far so good! I haven’t had any major rot issues either. Maybe one or two plants, but that’s a lot less than what I would normally be seeing.
So in that envelope is a tablet you drop into the water, and after a few minutes, it’s all mixed up for ya. I dropped the stuff into the sprayer tank, gave it some time, and let it dissolve.
I’ve sprayed this mixture at the base of my mature/adult plants this year with no bad side effects. Let’s see how the seeds/seedlings react and if it really does help with rooting/fungus protection.
Below is another shot of the “germination chamber” with all the seeds freshly sown.
Next, I added a few support posts. Basically some tubes inserted into slots on the makeshift table, and I held together with left over bonsai wire. Yeah, ghetto. I know.
Since I am *not* starting these seeds in a terrarium or a greenhouse like I normally would, I made my own germination chamber outdoors. Since I am doing all this outdoors, and I’ll have to protect the seeds from things like rain, wind, and other critters that could dig up the seeds and move them around. That would be pretty tragic.
After I get the support posts up, I cover the entire thing with two layers of thick plastic that I obtained at my local hardware store. The additional air layer in between the two sheets serves as insulation. Then to secure the whole thing, I use bungee cords. I also used a couple bricks to weigh down the plastic.
It isn’t greenhouse plastic and this stuff will eventually break down due to the suns UV rays. It’s good for about an entire season. Before it starts to break down, I’ll recycle it and if need be, throw another type of protective covering on it later on.
It actually started to rain the day I finished this project up, and I’m glad I was able to get the plastic on or else I would of ended up with those seeds all over the place. Below is a shot of the germination chamber. As you’ve read in the last couple of posts, it is working and the seeds are slowly starting to germinate.
Another Sarracenia generation and new era of botanical expansion over here. I can’t wait to see what some of these will look like in the next few years. But for now, I’ll sit back and enjoy the journey as it unfolds. Out of those few seeds, I hope will come some freekin’ awesome stuff!