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Programming seeds naturally. Goes against everything I learned about starting seeds.

 
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Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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This is super logical.  I don't know that it's actually true.

The idea is that seeds started in very poor conditions have their  dna programmed to be able to survive in harsh conditions.  So it learns to live in sub par conditions.  Then, you transplant it to moderate/better soil/conditions, and it flourishes better than ever!???

I start my seeds in almost perfect conditions, and then plant them into less than perfect conditions.  It works, but now that I think about it, it might be wrong.  It totally validates the argument for starting the seeds where they'll permanently be.

It's kind of like growing up on the streets as a kid, and then you're super prepared for life vs some overly sheltered kid???

Here's the video I just watched about it.  


 
pioneer
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Location: Insko, Poland zone 7a
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I like it.

A similar dynamic was talked about in Korean Natural Farming trainings, where it was compared to raising children.  If we give them everything they want - more than they need - from the beginning, then they will grow up completely dependent and not able to care for themselves.  But if we are more strategic with the intention of helping them work for the things they want, while still providing the basic needs, then they will grow up to be much stronger and more able to adapt.  

One of the things that I didn't hear mentioned in this video was microbes.  

On the Regenerative front, John Kempf and Dan Kittredge have both mentioned that the number one thing they do to get the best ROI (Return on Investment), is to expose  seeds to microbial inoculants.  This can be as simple as soaking the seeds for a short period of time in water that has been mixed with healthy compost, or a very good batch of microbial active soil from a forest, or from a base of a very healthy plant that is the same species as the seed being planted.  Or using IMO (Indigenous Micro-Organisms) from a similar/same environment where the seeds will be planted.  

The inoculants will bring their own level of "programming".  

You might appreciate this podcast:  
 
gardener
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I watched that video and it sent me looking into sprouting seeds in sand, the least hospitable "birth place" that came to mind.
This could be paired with compost tea, for that inoculation effect and just a bit of fertility.

Getting big trees fast isn't that compelling but getting resilient plants is.

I'm not sure if its worth the effort for annuals and I'm not sure how many trees/perinials I will be starting from seed, but it is very interesting.

What if we plant a bunch of seeds in a  post hole full of sand, right where we want a tree to be?
A few seasons in and any seedlings will have reached the more nutritious soil.
A few seasons more and we can select the most vigorous, and cut back the rest.



 
master steward
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I have done reading that suggests that trees can "learn" even when they are "adults". If they experience a really bad drought, but manage to survive, they will respond by growing more slowly and conserving water in the future.

This is similar to the STUN method that several permaculture people recommend, Sepp Holzer for one. (Shear Total Utter Neglect) That isn't always possible for me, but I've done what I describe as a "weaning program". The former owner of our land watered everything continuously during our drought period. I felt that shouldn't be necessary, so I gradually lengthened the time between watering, and I made sure I watered deeply when I did to gradually teach the trees to extend their roots deeper and to search for water.  That said, I also have dug in punky wood up-slope from the trees to help the crappy soil hold water more effectively.

I can certainly believe that starting straight from seed would have similar if not more dramatic effects. There was a study in southern Europe that I read years ago and fruit trees that never received any water from the time of planting, coped better during a bad drought than trees that had received a minimal level of water and then received none at all during a drought (which can happen if one's well runs dry at a bad time!)
 
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