Kyle Neath wrote:I have found starting most perennials from seed to be very difficult, but I'm not sure that has much to do with the seeds or genetics. It's more than I'm new to seeds that require stratification / scarification, and it's a good bit of a learning curve to figure out a successful strategy. To me a lot of this comes down to the path of least resistance and the timeliness required. For example, last year I spent an incredible amount of time researching the plant's needs, collecting hundreds elderberry seeds, cleaning out the fruit, scarifying them with sulfuric acid, cold stratifying them, then trying to start them. None of them sprouted. This year I spent about 5 minutes taking cuttings in the fall, and all but one of them have buds opening up now. I haven't given up on starting some from seed, but it's clearly a no-brainer for me at this point to use cuttings to get more elderberries.
Out of your list, there's a few that I wouldn't hesitate to buy root cuttings / crowns for. Comfrey, Asparagus, Onions, Sunchokes, Horseradish, and Strawberry. If you can't afford to buy the number you need right now, plant the ones you can afford and split them up next year. It's all very possible to start these from seeds, but the return on effort is going to be through the roof with cuttings.
leila hamaya wrote:theres a few there i dont have any knowledge of but the only one that pops out as being difficult from seed is comfrey.
I will assume you want to grow "true" comfrey, which is the only kind you can get seed for, and i understand it to be very difficult to start.
bocking (several different "bocking" types )
and most of the russian comfrey types do not make seed and are sterile. comfrey spreads so easily by roots, that its actually something of a blessing that it doesnt also spread rapidly by seed as many cultivars are sterile.
but anywho that might be something to get as live plants and /or root divisions...especially if you want one of the Bocking types as they do not make seed.
horseradish is also generally started from plants/roots...and walking onions are generally started from bulb, even the "seed " of walking onions is a tiny bulb.
chamomile and strawberry both must be surface sown, do not cover the seed, just press them on top of the wet soil and keep the top of the soil moist.
the rest are pretty straight forward...at least the rest that i know about.
Anne Miller wrote:I have read to follow the instructions on the seed packet which is what I do.
From your list these are the ones I have experience with:
Yarrow - mine came up in the garden from seed. Not a good germination rate though.
Lemon Balm is one I could not get to germinate, so after several tries I purchased a transplant. Try using the wet paper towel to see if you get germination then plant the seedling.
I didn't have any luck with loveage but that could have been my seed source.
echinacea (purpurea) - I used the wet paper towel method then put in peat pots. This variety doen not need stratification.
I don't have experience with these though I suspect that they need stratification. Try putting the the fridge for a month or follow the planting instructions: chickpea/cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer)
Groundplum milkvetch (Astragalus crassicarpus)
Lacy phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)
wild strawberry (Frugaria virginiana)
Thanks! I've seen my wife do the wet paper towel method, so I'll try it. That's feels similar to the jar method of starting sprouts. Is there any reason to not do them like sprouts so you get more starts? I know that some of the fragile seedlings get damaged as you try to pull them out of the jar. You know I've had lovage and lemon balm growing here the last year and I've hand-shredded the seed heads (whatever was left of them after an autumn and winter of wind) to disperse seeds near by. I'll see what sprouts this spring. . I'll try it all.
Su Ba wrote:Mike, I have zero experience growing in your region. But I do grow a number of the plants in your list, and start them from seed. BUT, I start my seeds in a greenhouse, not out in the open soil. So I can't say which would germinate and survive by simply sowing and raking in. But it would be a good experiment to try a small patch and see how they do. Personally I wouldn't sow a lot of seed until I knew which varieties the method would work with. I guess I'm just a seed miser and hate wasting seed and garden space. Thus I start my seeds in flats and transplant the seedlings into grow-on pots before transplanting outdoors.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Egyptian walking onion: Typically sterile, therefore planted as bulbils.
Jerusalem artichoke: Unlikely to be able to buy seeds of improved varieties. Recommend rhizomes.