[gardeners] 'Bright lights' and wet seeds

Kay Lancaster (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 17:45:15 -0800 (PST)

Perhaps I ought to explain why I'm not fond of colored cabbages...
they're very common winter annual plantings here in the PNW -- the
only problem is when we have had a good hard frost, they die.  And
ferment.  And no one cleans them up.  And the stench makes kimchee
appetizing by comparison.  :-p

It's sorta soured me on all of the fancy brassicas.  ;-)

wet seeds:

If you've got a bunch of seeds that have gotten wet, but haven't
soaked for more than about 24 hours, you can generally save them
by drying them fairly quickly in open, moving air... preferably
not over about 75oF.  When that happened to a bunch of seeds
at the seed lab, we opened each package and dumped the seeds
into nylon knee-highs (hey, they were cheap, K-mart was open,
and that was the fastest thing we could think of).  The knee-
highs were clothespinned to lines criss-crossing back and forth
across a classroom, and we put in several fans to keep the air
moving.  About once an hour or so, someone walked down the 
clotheslines and shook the seeds around in the socks, to get the
inside and outside seeds reversed in position.   After a couple of
days, we just left them hang on the line with the fans going for
another couple of weeks.  Most of the seeds retained at least
80% of their tested viability.

The thing that kills wet seeds fastest is being clumped together
with inadequate air circulation.  Seeds need oxygen too, most
especially if they think they're going to start to germinate.
Without the oxygen, acids and alcohol builds up in the seeds,
and they die.

Kay Lancaster    kay@fern.com
just west of Portland, OR; USDA zone 8