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Alternatives for Cold Stratification?  RSS feed

 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 354
Location: Western Kenya
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I have some experimental seeds which I found out after-the-fact require cold stratification to germinate.  This is a problem because I have no refrigeration (off grid with only a very small 100 watt solar).  Nobody in the village has a fridge.  We drink our sodas pee-warm.   So my question is: are there any ways around the "cold" part that could get these seeds to grow?  Specifically I have berry seeds and some rose seeds.  Any ideas?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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In my life, I don't believe everything that I read on the Internet... Lots of people spout-off lots of ideas, but they have never actually put a seed in the ground. In my experience, life tends to thrive on a spectrum of diversity, and not be the black and white existence that people tend to attribute to it. In other words, if it was me, I'd just plant them and see what happens.
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
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Location: Western Kenya
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Good thoughts Joseph.  I was thinking of dividing the seeds, maybe soaking some, and taking the others and putting them in the flower garden, in a spot circled by small stones, so that I remember I stuck something there and don't weed our any possible sprouts.  The flower gardens don't get disturbed as much as my nursery beds and vegetable gardens.  My "flowers" of course are pineapples, papayas, cilantro, aloe and a couple of ornamental shrubs.
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 474
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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yes... i don t have experience, but i think that a diversity of methods, places, substrates, techniques etc. will increase your chances of getting some seeds to sprout. please label it and record which way works

good luck.
 
Alexandra Clark
Posts: 87
Location: Long Island, NY
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I have to giggle. Just the other day I "found" a wild rose seedling that came up a year after I planted it without cold stratification. The season did it for me. I just transplanted it.

Since you live in a relatively warm climate, I would do as you said, divide the seeds and plant half of them and see what happens. If they don't grow, you will have some time to decide how to cold stratify them. You might even put them in the post to a friend who could do it for you and then mail them back to you?

Good luck!
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Since cold stratification is simply a method to trick seeds into thinking they have survived a winter period, I agree with kola Lofthouse, just plant some and see how the do.

While there are some plants that really do require a cold period, most of the time it is not an issue for most seeds.

I liken it to seeds that you read about scarification being required to get them to sprout, those are actually seeds designed to pass through an animal gut and you can soak those seeds in a citric acid for a few days to replicate the natural method of softening the seed coat.

Redhawk
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
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Location: Western Kenya
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Redhawk - can you give me a recipe for this citric acid solution?  How much citric acid in how much water?  I might try that too, with the berry seeds... I would think those would be adapted to passing through a bird too!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I use 1 part lemon juice (lime works too) to 0.5 parts water, soak for two days then plant as normal.

This formula works for all but the most stubborn seed coats but what is nice is that if they don't sprout and haven't damped off you can pull the seed and treat again.

Redhawk
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Plant which come from cold climates usually need cold stratification. But in my experience it has not be all that cold, but probably it would be too warm in your climate, depending on how high up you are. If you have a bigger amount of seeds you could always try because some might lack the need for cs. But from a practical standpoint it is enough to stratify your seeds in a tiny bag but you would have to check it more often. By tiny I mean 5 cm to 5 cm. I use a bit of vinegar instead of lemon I don't measuer it.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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About scarification, those are also ready to get tumbled in the grit at the bottom of a water course.. as in a dry arroyo after it gets enough rain for the water to run down it, it tumbles the seeds they get "scarified" by the seeds scratching their seed coat, and the moisture soaks in, so if the seeds need scarifying, some people rub them a little between a couple sheets of sand paper, or rub them around in some similar sized grains of sand.

Cold stratification is a little harder to mimic.  Best germination rates will follow cold, but how cold for how long?  Different seeds have different needs, and some will germinate without.  I don't know what kinds of berries, or the climate of their origins.  Could be 400 hours below 40 degrees F, could be 800 hours below 50 degrees F.  Could you rig an evaporative cooling situation for some of the seeds?  say inside a box covered by an absorbent cloth on which water was dripping, which was hung in the shade and a breezy place?

Another thought about enhancing germination through the appropriate treatment for a given seed.  I grow a plant called rocky mountain bee plant.  This has highly specific germination requirements.  It needs a period of osscilating temperatures, warmer, cold, warmer, cold warmer cold..... about what it would get if it spent the winter on the ground on the arid Colorado Plateau.  I was able to buy seeds by the ounce, and no directions.  I planted and planted and planted.  But it was not til a lot of seeds, several ounces of small seeds had been scattered that some overwintered on the ground seeds germinated and I realized what the seedlings were, that I finally got these plants established.  I really wanted those plants....  Now I have heard of people trying to replace the oscillating temperature cycle with cold stratification by putting the seeds in the freezer or refrigerator for the winter, and just not having any luck at all.  It is just not what the seed needs to break its dormancy cycle.

So, you may have a little luck with your seeds or you may have a lot, but if you knew someone in a neighboring village or town who does have a freezer or refrigerator, could you ask to have your seeds stored for how ever long you suspect the seeds may need cold stratification, as part of the many treatments you try?

It is certainly a great project, good luck!
 
Viola Schultz
Posts: 39
Location: Zone 6 Hudson Valley
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there's also an evil way to stratify your seeds. Here's a little discussion on permies about it: Gibberellic Acid
 
Aleksandar Jankovic
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Location: Somewhere in Serbia
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Check out this resource from the UK Forestry Commission, specifially page 26 on natural (fridgeless)  stratification
 
andre hirsz
Posts: 39
Location: thunder bay ontario canada
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I've had good success stratifying my apple seeds with a shot of organic vinegar in a cup of water and an overnight soak. Doesn't seem to matter how much vinegar to water I add, but maybe about an oz to a few cup of water is quite safe and effective.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I like the vinegar method but I don't think it would do when you need cold. What is evil about GA?
 
Zandra Lily
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Experimenting is how we discover new techniques. Permaculture is about learning what works on your land. If you find the seeds don't sprout it just means they don't want to live in that enviorment so just find some other plants that like where you live. We learn by doing, there is no failure just learning what works in the enviorment we live in amd the land we live on. Try all of it and maybe you'll discover a new technique ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜Š
 
Cody DeBaun
Posts: 74
Location: Denton, TX United States Zone 8a
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I wonder how strong a genetic trait stratification requirements might be, and how widely that varies between species?

I'm just thinking that one additional benefit to the plant-and-see method might be that the seedlings that come up may also be the ones whose seeds in turn don't require cold stratification. Like adapting a cultivar to a given region, you might be able to break the cycle of manual stratification by selecting for that genetic trait. MIGHT be, to be clear I don't have any direct evidence that that would be the case (Joseph Lofthouse, any wisdom for us here?)
 
Viola Schultz
Posts: 39
Location: Zone 6 Hudson Valley
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Angelika Maier wrote:I like the vinegar method but I don't think it would do when you need cold. What is evil about GA?
  "evil" because it's not a permaculture way, I think :0)
Also, I purchased GA to experiment with digitalis excelsior plants -- I had grown them in my home over the winter and had pretty big and healthy specimens. However, they need vernalization period (dormancy) in order to bloom the next year. I used several strengths on a few plants. One of them started blooming a week ago but it doesn't look good -- sort of genetics gone wrong -- I've got a crooked and partially developed flower stalk. The other 2 treated and 4 not treated still not flowering.
 
Christine Buckingham
Posts: 6
Location: Nashville, TN
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I am a no body here but I wonder why you are trying to grow a plant that needs a colder climate then you are in... one of the first things we learn in permaculture is to know your biome, if this plant requires more cold then your biome delivers why not try to find something that does the same thing that is more adapted to your biome.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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