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Sterilizing Seeds

Josh Shwa
Posts: 6
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So I got my seeds into Ecuador, I will be growing them in a tropical climate. Should I sterilize all the seeds in bleach? Is it more important to sterilize some over others? Here is a list of 90% of the seeds I have. Watermelon Desert King.
Spinach New Zealand Spinach.
Spinach Malabar Red.
Sorghum Tepehuan
Orach Aurora-greens.
Carrot Kuroda.
Thymbra spicata-zaatar.
Stetsonia coryne-toothpick cactus.
Porophyllum ruderale-herb.
Ocimum sanctum-holy basil/tulsi.
Ocimum gratissimum-clove basil
Ocimum americanum sweet basil.
Nicandra Physalodes Splash of Cream
Nelumbo nucifera-lotus.
Lycium exsertum.
Lavandula viridis-lavender.
Indigofera tinctoria-indigo dye.
Macadamia tetraphylla
Parsley Hamburg Turnip-
Physalis crassifolia. (50)
Radish China Rose. (b,h)
Radish Edible-Podded Rat's Tail
Mirabilis Jalapa Mixed.
Chenopodium ambrosioides-epazote (=Dysphania ambrosioides)
Chenopodium giganteum.
Celtis australis.
Cucumis metuliferus. (25)
Amomum subulatum-giant cardamom.
uniflora-suriname cherry. (1
Espostoa lanata.
Bixa Orellana-annato.
Eclipta alba.
Alcea pallida-hollyhock. (d,h)
Echinocereus dasyacanthus. (
Annona squamosa
Prunus Lyonii.
Hyssopus officinalis.
anona purpurea
arbutus unedo
averrhoa bilimbi
cananga odorata-ylang ylang
caparis spinosa
carissa grandifolia-natal plum/
cereus peruviana-apple cactus
deimbolia angolifolia
diospyrus lotus-date plum-
dovyalis hebicarpa-ketembilla
eugenia victoriana-
feijoa selowiana
gliricidia sepium
harpephylum caffram-kaffir plum
white sunflower
laurus nobilis
lycium barbarum
mimosa pudica-sensitive paln
nashia inaguensis-Moujean tea
parmentiera edulis-Guajilote-
phylanthus acidus-Otaheite gooseberry
pithecillobium guatemalensis-Sweet Tamarind
randia formosa-blackberry jam fruit
rheedia madruno-Madrono-
sapindus detergens-soap nuts
terminalia ferdinandiana-kakadu plum
exocarpos sparteus
thespesia populnea
achras zapota-sapodilla
Bhut Jolokia-
John Elliott
Posts: 2295
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I would go easy on the sterilization. Giving seeds a bleach rinse is a laboratory technique that helps scientists cut down on the number of variables in an experiment. If seeds coming from different sources have different types of fungal spores on them, they may give widely varying results when the seeds germinate and start forming mycorrhizal associations with the different spores. A bleach rinse kills all the spores and then you have a nice, clean experiment.

But from your list, it sounds like you want to grow food in a garden, not study one plant under controlled conditions in a lab. So I would only do a bleach rinse on the seeds that you suspect might be contaminated with something like Fusarium. Even then, if there is Fusarium in the soil, your seedlings could still get infected. I've battled Fusarium on and off, and the thing that works best for me it to grow mustard as a green manure and plow it under. I can't be bleaching large areas of my garden.
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Hum, I have never heard of this. Teach on !
John Elliott
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Hum, I have never heard of this. Teach on !

OK, here's a reference (with a whole mess of other references therein) that goes into more detail than my flip comment. If you are going to do any of these, don't go and plant the seeds you have pretreated out into your already infected garden. Start them in sterilized soil in a greenhouse where you have more control. When the seedlings get 4"-8" tall, at a good transplant size, then you can plant them out into the garden. And at transplant time you can use a fungal or bacterial compost tea to overwhelm any nasties that might be lurking in the soil.
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