About Basic Care of Seeds
It is important to maintain the freshness of the seeds in order to facilitate proper germination. This is why we store all of our seeds in a refrigerator dedicated for this purpose. Therefore, in order to preserve their freshness until you are ready to begin the germination process, you can store the purchased seeds in the plastic bag we have provided. You can place the seeds in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
About Germination Instructions
Once you are ready to germinate your seeds, you have two (2) germination methods: natural germination or forced germination.
Natural germination: Sow seeds outside in autumn. Overwintering the seeds will accomplish all the necessary natural processes seeds require to germinate. Next spring, you should have sprouted seeds.
With forced germination, you are accomplishing the germination process artificially. Therefore, you will need to follow the steps listed below. Each seed is different. However most of them require three (3) steps. Some may require more while others may require less. These steps are: the scarification, the stratification and sowing.
1 – Scarification
Each seed has a shell around the live inner part. Some are harder than others. The goal of the scarification process is to soften the shell and allow water to reach the inner part of the seed. You will scarify the seeds by placing them in water, usually a glass or a bowl, for a period of twenty four (24) to forty eight (48) hours. The norm appears to be the use of warm water. Some seeds require boiling water while others require water at room temperature. Normally, the viable seeds will drown after the twenty four (24) hour period while others will float on top. If there are still seeds floating after the forty eight (48) hour period, you can discard them as they are empty seeds. Once completed, you are ready to begin the next step ( please note that some seeds require you to proceed directly to the third step).
2 – Cold Stratification
The next step is the cold stratification period. This step is where all the magic of nature occurs. In nature, most of the seeds fall from the trees in autumn. Consequently, seeds spend the winter period under colder temperature permitting the chemical in the seeds to develop and trigger the germination process once the ideal temperature is reached in spring. In the forced germination process, you attempt to recreate the winter period. In order to accomplish this process, use the following materials:
Plastic Ziplock bag
Fold the paper towel in two and moisten with water. It should not be dripping wet but humid. Place your seeds on the humid paper towel and fold it over the seeds. Place the paper towel with the seeds in the ziplock plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator for a period varying from thirty (30) to one hundred and twenty (120) days. We suggest that you check your seeds every thirty (30) days in order to prevent rot and allow for proper air circulation. You will also check for germinated seeds. If this is the case, take the germinated seeds and proceed to the next step. If not, wait the required period and then proceed to the next step.
3 – Sowing
Sowing can be accomplished in the ground or in a pot. You can use any soil suitable for planting and growing. Make a small opening in the soil (approximately half (1/2) an inch deep), place the seed in the opening and cover it with a few millimetres of soil. Keep the soil moist.
Extra steps for certain species
If you choose to germinate your seeds via the forced germination process, you may be required to follow this extra step. This step takes place prior to the cold stratification. All you have to do is expose the seeds to ambient room temperature for thirty (30) to ninety (90) days. This is called heat stratification and is accomplished by leaving the seeds exposed in a plate on your desk. After you have achieved this step, you resume with cold stratification.