Are seeds ready?
Answered by: Ginny Cotterill
Question from: Susan
Posted on: April 15, 2011

I’ve been purchasing herb seeds from your company for many years and highly recommend your company. I think your catalogue is the best herbal reference around and your web site is awesome! I do have a question though - as my son is working towards his master gardeners certification he is continually asking me questions (which is a good thing). So this year we are trying some more difficult to germinate herbs and I’m wondering if the herb seed (such as eucalyptus) that you sell has undergone the stratification process prior to packaging? Also curious to know if we need to use sandpaper on seeds such as False Indigo?

We do keep the more difficult seeds in cooler storage, but we do not stratify them before we ship them to you. So, it is necessary for you to do so according to your weather schedule for planting. Most seeds that must be stratified require 30 to 60 days for the process. In general, as your son will probably have learned from his studies, you need to sow the seeds on a tray of soil-less medium, and cover them lightly with more medium. Water them thoroughly, and then pop the tray into a plastic bag. Place this in the fridge for the required time. After the interval, remove the tray from the fridge and plastic bag, and place in a warm, sunny area. Keep the tray moist until germination occurs.

False Indigo and other hard coat seeds will benefit from the use of sandpaper. For larger seeds, you can try etching them with a sharp knife. Always be careful not to harm the embryo inside. These techniques are referred to as scarification. They help the seed coat to break down, allowing for exchange of gas and water and thus germination.

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