Explaining Stratification and Spotting Germination
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Claude Belisle
Posted on: March 13, 2002

What do you mean by "stratification in fridge"? Does "awaiting the germinating" mean we look for some green?

To stratify seed in the fridge, we wet the seed – usually by placing it in a wet paper towel and putting the towel with the seed into a loosely closed clean plastic bag. Place the bag into the crisper portion of the fridge, so that the temperature is close to but not at freezing. Keep in the crisper for three months then move to room temperature or cooler-depending on the seed. Most seed germinate at room temperature, but some need much cooler or much warmer temperatures to germinate. If they germinate at around 5 degrees Celsius the seed bag is just kept in the fridge and checked every day to pick out seeds that have started to germinate. Most seeds germinate by starting to grow a root. You therefore watch for that little white knob appearing on the seed surface! After the seed has grown a root, it will start a shoot. Shoots are usually green, but if the seed has been kept in the dark fridge it may be more yellow than green. As soon as germination starts it is best to plant the seed gently.

To avoid damaging small seed it may be better to sow the seed in a flat, wet the soil, drain it and enclose it in a clean plastic bag (not closed too tightly) and place the bagged flat in the fridge. (And then for the next three months be nice to everyone who shares the use of the fridge with you!)

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