All Loquat Seeds Have Germinated

Today I discovered that the last loquat seed has germinated. That means that 100% of the 20 seeds actually germinated in a period between 30 and 56 days. Not too bad.

loquat seedlings

Loquat Seedlings

I had dumped the three I had germinated in vermiculture, but I still have 20 seedlings. How’s that, you might wonder. It’s because loquat seem to be polyembryonic, just like lemons. You might be able to see that with the one on the bottom right corner. Three seedlings grow from one seed there.

New Seeds: Pistachio

Finally, I could convince myself to get some pistachio seeds on Ebay. One might ask – why don’t you just buy them at the supermarket? – Easy: because those are always roasted and half of them even salted, so they won’t germinate. They were offered as “Persian Pistachios”, which basically means that they’re from Iran. Iran is the largest exporter of pistachios, as far as I know.

So, those are not actually Mediterranean, but pistachios are grown in Sicily, and that’s my excuse.

So I ordered 10, but actually got 12, which is always nice. I read about how to get them to germinate and just followed the instruction: Soak them in water of room temperature for 16 hours. I might have soaked them for 20 hours and the colour of their shell did actually change, as you might be able to see in the pictures:

As you can see, I used an empty ice cream container. They are very useful and it gives me yet another reason to buy ice cream.

After they had soaked, I put them in the remaining vermiculite and covered them up. I only used five of the seeds so far, in case they all germinate (they probably won’t), I won’t get too many.

There’s only as much water in the box as the pistachios had on them.

I also got new plant labels, of which I taped one to the box. Because I have other projects in other ice cream boxes and I will have forgotten which is which after a couple of weeks.

In the article about pistachio germination, I found the information that soaking the seeds in solution of 1 percent potassium nitrate might help the germination rate. I want to try that with cheaper seeds first. I still have seven pistachio seeds left for later trials.

Timelapse of Lemon Tree Seedlings

Video

After about four weeks of taking a picture every hour, I’ve compiled a timelapse video of some of my lemon tree seedlings.

There were eight seeds in the pot and I’m happy to announce that all of them have germinated. The last one only today, when stopped taking the pictures, so it isn’t visible in the video.

I will repot some of them (the taller ones) tomorrow.

The pictures where taken with the Raspberry Pi and RPi Camera Module. The code used was

raspistill -o lemon%04d.jpg -tl 360000 -t 2419200000 -w 1280 -h 720 -ISO 200

.
The “-t” value might have been a bit different. I used VirtualDub to render it as a video and Magix to edit the video.

Growing Medlar from Seeds II

Still doing research on how to grow medlar from seeds, I came across an old German book on GoogleBooks called Abhandlung von Bäumen, Stauden und Sträuchern, welche in Frankreich in freyer Luft erzogen werden (= Treatise About Trees, Shrubs and Bushes which have been grown outdoors in France) from 1763. This was translated from a book by a Monsieur Duhamel du Monceau. If anyone prefers the French version…

Screenshot from GoogleBooks

Screenshot from GoogleBooks

As all the message boards and Wikipedia articles seem to quote each other, I thought it a good idea to bring a new source into the discussion, especially one from a time when medlars where much better known than today. I will try and translate it from the German.

First, he names 22 types of Medlars (Mespilus spinosa, Mespilus silvestris etc.). He writes “Mespilus germanicus […] sive Mespilus silvestris”, so this is the same for him.

Cultivation

All types of Mespilus can be grown from seeds. Those which grow in the woods can be grown into plants which are then transferred nursery. If one wants to sow medlar trees, one has to know that the seeds often germinate only in the second year. Therefore, some people put the ripe fruits into pots or boxes filled with soil in autumn, put those in a cool place or outdoors. Or they dig the pots two or three shoes deep into the soil, let them rest there for a year and only take them out in spring the next year, to sow them on patches, where the seeds germinate quickly.

We have found that when one takes the ripe fruits in September and puts them in layers with soil and sows them in sherds [???, maybe clay pots] and puts those into the dung patch, the seeds will germinate in the first spring already, which is quite useful in a species that rare.

One can also breed the mespilus by cuttings and the rarer types by grafting onto more common types.

All types of Mespilus are tolerate just about any type of soil except very dry soil in which they wither.

He then goes on to recommend planting them under oak and chestnut trees, because the taller trees profit from the medlar covering the ground. That might be interesting for fans of permaculture.

Selfmade Pots and More Seeds Germinating

Some days ago, I ate that pomegranate and kept some seeds – 29, to be precise. I wanted to sow them, but I had no pots left. However, I had eaten some Greek style yoghurt which came in nice flat plastic bowls. So, instead of dumping them, I made pots of them. They’re flatter than the pots I bought, which I think is of an advantage, because their roots won’t become as deep as the ones before. And bonsai trees don’t need deep roots anyway.


You need: yoghurt bowls, hand screw driver,
old piece of wood, Stanley knife

Drill some holes into the bottom of the
yoghurt bowl for drainage.
Use the piece of wood to prevent
your table to get spoiled.

As soon as the drill has penetrated
the bottom, you can take  the bowl into
your hand and finish making the hole.

Make as many holes as you like.
More are probably better than less.

If you like, you can leave those thingies
as they are, otherwise…

…use the Stanley knife to carefully
cut them off.

I let the 29 pomegranate seeds in warm water overnight and put 14 in soil into one of the thus made pots and 15 into the other. I couldn’t get all the fruit stuff of them, so I hope that they won’t mildew.

Some of the seeds from the first batch have started germinating. One pomegranate and two myrtle. I thought they were done germinating and had already collected about 10 of the “dead” pomegranate seeds and dumped them. Some of them might have germinated still. Well, too late.

Update on Germlings after 24 Days

24 days ago, I had sown pomegranate, myrtle and olive seeds. The pomegranate and myrtle seeds have started to germinate according to the description which came with them, actually a bit earlier. So far, I got six pomegranate germlings from 31 seeds and as of today seven germlings from 32 myrtle seeds. The olive seeds are not to germinate for at least another week.

Pomegranate, pomegranate and myrtle germlings

I had hoped for higher numbers, especially with the pomegranate seeds, but if I can actually get six saplings from those little fellows, that would already be great. Also, there are still some days left until the “official germination period” for both species ends.

“Science Project”: Determining the Germination Period for Stone Pine Seeds

Norman C. Deno’s Seed Germination Theory and Practice

This morning, I came across the book Seed Germination Theory and Practice by Norman C. Deno (available as pdf here). As I have only discovered it this morning, I have not read it entirely and I doubt that I will, because he seems to deal mainly with flower seeds, but he only uses the Latin names.
There is kind of a summary on this page, though, which again I haven’t read in its entirety, I have to admit.
Anyway, the main points I took from browsing both website and pdf is that Norman C. Deno and Brent Walston both don’t believe in stratification to be the solution for all seeds. I liked that idea, firstly because they question all the stuff that is posted and reposted again and again and secondly, because I don’t want to wait for my seeds to rest in the fridge for weeks and months.
As Norman C. Deno apparently “only” tested flower seeds (but thousands of them, mind you) and I want answers for tree seeds, I decided to start my own little “science project”. I put it in quotes, because with the small data I can collect it’ll probably not be very scientific. Anyway, he proposed a method to test several ways to get seeds to germinate which I have tried to reproduce. On page 13 of his book (page 19 in the pdf), he explains how to do it and I mainly copied his method.

Setting Up The Experiment

This is how I did it:
I used 60 pine nuts – bought in the supermarket where they were sold for consumption, but I won’t get pine nuts easily anywhere else. I also needed some paper towel of high wet strength (the one I bought isn’t very strong, but it’s the best I could get), polyethylene bags (I have loads of those, not because I smoke weed, but because the LEGO I buy used comes in them) that can be sealed, a waterproof pen, a plant atomizer  and maybe scissors.

I made four batches of 15 pine nuts, folded each paper towel three times and cut them in a way they would fit into my plastic bags. If you have large enough bags, you might not need to cut the towels. Then you write the name of the plant you got the seeds from and date on the “front page” of the towel. Then you open the last fold of the towel, moisten it with the help of the plant atomizer, put your 15 (or whatever number) seeds onto the wet part, maybe moisten it again a bit and close it. Then you put your package into the polyethylene bag and close it, but not entirely, so that some air circulation is possible and “to insure aerobic conditions”, as Deno puts it.
Afterwards you think where to put it. (Of course, you can think about that when you prepare all the above mentioned stuff.)

I put one bag in the fridge (stratification test), one into the mini greenhouse, one in the cubby and one in the cellar, which probably has a similar temperature to the cubby but less light. I should’ve found some place with temperatures below 4°C, but I didn’t know where. The freezer? Should be more like 0°C or less.
Deno recommends certain brands of paper towel, polyethylene bags and even waterproof marker. The most important point to me seems his concern with the plastic bags. He says to use bags with very thin “walls” to ensure permeability of oxygen. I only had those, so I hope they will work.
Now, I have to wait.

Thoughts

I do hope that at least some of them will germinate, but I don’t know for how long they have been in the bag they were sold in…and if that’s bad for their ability to germinate.
Drying seeds does not have to have a negative effect on them, as Norman C. Deno points out and is even necessary for some of them. I mean, obviously, otherwise stores couldn’t sell seeds. It’s just important to know which can handle it and which can’t. Room for another experiment. I might try apple pips next time. They’re more easily and cheaper available and I can eat the fruit.
Maybe it’s an idea for a kid’s science project, too. It might wanna use a species that germinates quicker like beans or something, though.