Germination of seeds
by Elize Strumpher
- Soak a brick of coconut peat (coir) in a container with enough water to loosen up the peat. Press out excess water.
- Whilst cleaning (peeling) your seeds, place them in a bleach and water solution (10ml to 1L of water) rinse in this solution before starting the germination process. NB: Always rinse your seeds in this solution before germination; even those you get from other growers. No harm to soak the seeds for an hour in this solution.
- Fill an air tight container (ice cream tub or any Tupperware like container) about 2/3 full with the moist coconut peat (coir). Not too wet! We use transparent containers which make it easy to check the moist on the inside without opening the lid. NOTE: No drainage holes in these containers!
- Pack the seeds on top of the moistened coir in rows about 1 cm apart. No need to leave large spaces between the seeds. Press lightly but do not cover the seeds with the coir at all.
- Fill a spray bottle with the same bleach solution as above but freshly mixed. Do not use the left-over fluid in which you have rinsed the seeds. This solution (clean) will also be used for future moistening of the seeds during the germination period.
- Give a light spray of the bleach water over the seeds and tighten the lid.
- Mark the containers with the seed name or code. One kind of seed per container. Partitions should be used if one container is used for different seeds.
- Place the containers in a moderately warm area between 22 – 25oC. Not in direct sun light. We use a homemade germinator which is temperature controlled (thermostat) where the temperature is constant day and night.
- The seeds can stay untouched for about 10 days before you need to check for moist. If there is no moist visible on the sides of the container, just spray again with the mixture as above (not too wet!)
- Do not over water but keep an eye on the moisture especially when germination starts because when the roots are developing, more water is absorbed.
- The germination starts within 2 – 3 weeks. When small green leaves appear, the roots are normally already well developed ± 2cm+. Seedlings are now ready for transplanting into seedling trays.