Friday, May 11, 2007

Seed #2 - Showing Off

After five days in the soil, seed #2 has sprouted. Unlike seed #1, this one brought the seed coat up with it. Just today alone, the sprout has grown over half of an inch - it's going to be pretty exciting when the seed coat opens up. These two photos show the sprout from either side.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Seed #9 - Germination

Originally placed in the coffee filter on 4/27/07, twelve days ago.

Seed #8 - Germination

Originally placed in the coffee filter on 4/27/07, twelve days ago.

Seed #7 - Germination

Originally placed in the coffee filter on 4/27/07, twelve days ago.

Seed #6 - Germination

Originally placed in the coffee filter on 4/27/07, twelve days ago.

Seed #5 - Germination

Originally placed in the coffee filter on 4/27/07, twelve days ago.

Giant Sequoia Bark

Here's a close-up I snapped at Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA. This is their signature tree, the same one that my wife was standing under in the photo in this post. I kept this one at full resolution - it makes for a great desktop wallpaper.

The bark of a Giant Sequoia is like that of few others. It's light, fibrous, and can be up to two feet thick at the base. These qualities make it a poor conductor of heat. That, and its fire resistance help protect the sapwood from damage when surrounded by fire. These fires are actually good for a large Sequoia -- they help dry up and open the cones that may stay green and hang in the tree for up to twenty years. This is perfect timing - the newly released seeds will have a new forest floor to take root in.

Seeds #5, #6, #7, #8, #9

I had five more seeds sprouting their radicles today. Seed #5 is the best of the bunch, the others are barely showing a root, and in a couple cases, only just breaking open the seed coat. I'm splitting the post into five separate ones, which will make it easier to track a seed's progress later on using my tags (seed_5, seed_6, seed_7, seed_8, seed_9).

I didn't see any harm in putting them in the soil a little bit early. These are all from my second batch of seeds, from April 27. They've been in their baggies for twelve days.

At this point, after three weeks, 9 of my 117 seeds have germinated, and 3-4 were discarded due to mold. I couldn't be happier with these results. I expect somewhere between twenty to thirty percent of the remaining seeds to germinate in the next two months.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Showing off My Seedlings

With all of the great seed-sprouting going on, I've neglected to show off my beautiful seedlings. Here's a few of the thirteen in 5/4 gallon pots out on my deck right now:

Monday, May 7, 2007

Seed #1 - Standing Up and Out of the Greenhouse

I didn't want to keep my first sprout in the greenhouse longer than necessary to prevent mold build-up from poor ventilation and excessive moisture. So, I cut its cel-pack out and placed it in a glass in a corner of my kitchen where it receives indirect sunlight.

I'll spray water on the seedling every day or so to keep the soil moist. In a week or so, it should begin sprouting its secondary leaves, and shortly after that, it'll be ready to be transplanted out of its cel-pack into a small pot.

Seed #4 - Germination

This never gets old... Another little radicle, this time from seed #4. This is from the second batch of seeds, along with seed #2. It spent ten days in its baggie (from 4/27 to 5/7) before showing activity. It's now sitting in the greenhouse with seed #2 & #3.

I'll continue to monitor the rest of the seeds, as they may sprout between 7 and 90 days after first soaked in water. If I'm lucky, I'll receive 40% germination rate. I'm hoping for 20%, since I didn't stratify the seeds as most reading recommended. As of right now, I've seen 4 radicles from 117 seeds, or 3.4% within the first two weeks - not bad so far.

Unfortunately, while planting this one in the greenhouse, I found two more moldy seeds in the baggies. I discarded them to prevent further spread.

Seed #3 - Germination

Here's seed #3, from the same, original batch as seed #1. This seed was in its baggie from 4/19 to 05/07 (18 days) before germinating. Into the greenhouse it goes, 1/16th of an inch into wet seed-starting soil, radicle downward.

I had kept the yet-unused cel-packs in the greenhouse filled with seed-starting soil in all along, and found it difficult to re-moisten now that it had dried out. I just emptied the rest of the soil back into its bag, along with a few sprays of water to make it more usable in the future.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Seed #2 - Germination

So it looks like seed #1 wasn't a fluke after all. Today, this little guy came to life. This was from my second, less-expensive batch from Whatcom Seed Company. This seed spent only seven days in its baggie before showing its radicle, which was on par with the previous batch. As I did with seed #1, I planted this in a cel-pack in the greenhouse, radicle downward, with a 1/4 inch soil covering. I moistened the soil and placed the greenhouse in some shade in the corner of my kitchen.


Everything I've about growing giant sequoias from seeds says to watch out for grey mold. Well, when looking through the baggie seeds, I noticed something that concerned me. This is what was I found when I opened the coffee filter...

I'm not sure exactly what type of mold this is, but it concerned me enough to discard this seed and transplant the clean seeds to a new filter and baggie. Hopefully this didn't spread to any of the others. It's a good thing that I had split all my seeds into several bags in the first place. And, since I found this while still in the baggie, this mold won't make it to my greenhouse.