S is for Seed Stratification

Matilija Poppy - seeds needs fire

Matilija Poppy - seeds needs fire

My husband and I both run our local land conservancy’s volunteer-based nursery.  It is a fairly small operation, but it keeps us busy and this time of year, with the weather warming up, it is humming along.  So one of the main trial and error propagation techniques revolve around seeds and their stratification times.

Since we live in Southern California the seeds have learned (over the eons) they can’t just plop on the ground and start growing or they aren’t going to survive most of the time, so many of them have a stratification period.  A select few can be planted, watered and will grow, but many need to sit in the cold for a few months, have fire race above their heads (our plants expect to burn every 10 years or so), soak in hot water overnight, bake in an oven for an hour or two, get a slight cut in their thick seed coat (called scarification) OR even just sit for a few months.

Manzanita - scarification and time

It is a labor of love and it feels really good to figure out the correct combination and have those shoots start to show.  Then we need to keep them alive, but that is a different water/soil/sun story.

Do you have a green thumb?  If you plant a garden, do you grow your veggies from seed or seedling?

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About ocdreader

I love to read! I always have a book or four going, I have more books in my to-be-read pile than I can read in a year and yet I continue to haunt the bookstores. I have a problem, but I somehow soldier on. I enjoy talking books, so pass on your recommendations and thoughts - I would love to hear them.
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2 Responses to S is for Seed Stratification

  1. Jenny says:

    My thumb is only faintly green. I do garden, using plants from my local greenhouse and a few seeds.

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