Middle South

February, 2011
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Annual Symposium in Davidson, North Carolina
Exploring Possibilities: Rediscovering Home will be sponsored by Davidson Garden Club and Davidson College on March 1. The event features Erica Glasener, television host of A Gardener's Diary; Chip Callaway, renowned landscape designer; and many others. The event will be held at the Knobloch Campus Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is included in the $85 registration fee. For more information, visit the Web site at www.davidsonsymposium.org.

Clever Gardening Technique

Easy Seed Germination Test
Though hard-coated seeds can last for many years, even decades, you can get a good measure of their viability with a simple test. Take a sample of ten seeds from your batch and place them on a damp paper towel, fold the towel in half, put it in a zip-lock bag, and place the bag in a warm location, but not in direct sunlight. The top of the refrigerator or on a high shelf are usually good spots.

Check the seeds daily for germination and mist the paper towel with additional water if it begins to dry. Depending on the species you are testing, the seeds may sprout in a day or two, or may take much longer. In any case, usually the majority of seeds will sprout within a few days of each other. When no seeds have sprouted for several days, you will know the germination rate.

If only a few seeds sprout, dispose of the old seed and start fresh. If half or more of the seeds germinate, however, you can use your test results as a guide to plant more seeds than usual to yield the desired number of sprouts.

This test works well on annual flower seeds and vegetable seeds, but is not as useful with perennial seeds. These seeds, which often lay on the ground for many months before germinating as the weather warms in spring, may require a pretreatment such as stratification or scarification.

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