George R Stilwell, Jr.
grsjr at JUNO.COM
Tue May 13 15:41:26 CEST 1997
As soon as the root radicle appears, gently lift the seed and place it in
a depression in a good pasteurized, moist, germinating medium, cover
gently, and keep it moist from then on. Don't wait too long to move the
propagule. The roots will grab onto the paper towel.
Yes, excess pressure on the soil may break the radicle, exclude oxygen,
and is otherwise undesirable. If you must, a few drops of water will put
the radicle in contact with the moist soil.
I used to grow them in a seed-starter flat until the leaves appeared,
then transplant them to pots. I fount the losses were too high in the
transplant operation, delicate new roots break easily.
So, now I go directly to a 4x4x5 pot with up to 5 propagules, spacing
them out in the 4 corners and center. The pots are held on a
wicking-mat/seed-starter tray so they're bottom watered continuously.
I don't have lights, so I use a cardboard box covered on the inside with
aluminum foil and of the proper height and with a top sloping at the
proper angle to reflect light from the window such that the seedlings
grow straight up and do not bend toward the window. The height of the
back of the box and the slope of the top are set by the latitude of your
location so the reflected rays come straight down from the top and
exactly cover the seed tray from the back. Needless to say, there is no
front on the box.
Your exact latitude can be determined from a mapping program like
"Precision Mapping 3.0", but it isn't that critical. You then have to
decide if you want an Equinox design or a Winter Solstice design. I use
the latter because I start the seed early, and it is much more compact.
It worked fine this year even though I didn't stare the seed 'till nearly
I have design tables and a drawing with the design equations if you're
interested. The tables cover latitude from 30 to 50 degrees. It may sound
complicated but it isn't. And, it sure beats the price of a grow-lite
unit. I couldn't buy a replacement bulb for the cost of the whole box.
Let me add, it doesn't work in a dark basement, for the devoted light
unit fans benefit.
<GRSJr at Juno.com>
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