Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

Seedy Subjects! => Grow From Seed => Topic started by: Maggi Young on July 23, 2014, 06:52:30 PM

Title: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on July 23, 2014, 06:52:30 PM
This post was made by Lesley Cox in another thread ( http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=12009.msg309486#msg309486 (http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=12009.msg309486#msg309486) ) and it was requested that it be repeated here. There are some other related posts in the other thread

From Lesley Cox:

The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds is one devised by I don't know who but has been used extensively over a number of years by Laurol, the Convenor of Otago Iris Group of NZIS. She had it from one Jack Scott, a well known nurseryman in Dunedin for many years, specializing in alpines and small bulbs and who introduced many lovely alpine plants to NZ, from older, famous UK nurseries such as Will Ingwersen's, Broadwell Alpines, Reginald Kaye and others. Almost all or maybe all the Porophyllum saxifragas in NZ were originally from Jack's importations. A trip to Dunedin, for me, always included a very expensive visit to Jack's nursery.

A couple of weeks ago Laurol and I were having a cup of coffee in town and talking about our respective seed sowings. She asked me had I known Jack. "Oh yes," I said. "A grumpy old b.....d." He was my uncle" she replied. Just as well we're good friends and anyway she couldn't argue about Jack's general disposition. He was a good grower and propagator though.

I was outraged that in all his time on earth, so far as I knew, Jack never let out the secret of his tea method to anyone except to Laurol, when she was about 10 years old. Here it is. It works. It really does.

For iris seeds which take a long time to germinate, including old or ultra dried-out seed, or many known to be precocious or difficult to germinate, place the seed in a small fabric pouch, sown along 3 sides. Add a label with whatever information is required. When you have a handful or however many you wish to sow in a single session, Place the little pouches upright in a small basin or margarine pot and pour onto them, a full strength cup of regular tea, well cooled. Let the seed soak for 24 hours then drain and add a fresh, cooled cup of tea. Do this twice more so that the seeds have a soaking from 4 cups of fresh tea, each soaking for 24 hours. Then drain the pouches (I place them on a wrung out dish cloth which absorbs the majority of the remaining tea and makes it easy to extract the seeds from the pouches), and then sow the seeds in regular seed pots or however you normally would, covering lightly with whatever medium you would normally use for this, such as a thin layer of seed mix, grit or whatever. Place the pots in a cool, secure place and water thoroughly, then as required.

OK, so what's different except for this extra amount of work? Laurol finds, and so am I now too, that seed which may take 2-6 months to germinate or even a year or more, is starting to germinate in a fortnight. The process if often completed - say 50 seedlings from 50 seeds - within 3 weeks. At the very least, it can knock a whole season off the time a species may take from germination to blooming. This has been particularly important for our local group this year as we've had a lot of seed given us to grow on as fund-raising plants for next year's national Convention. Seed has been sent of brand new cultivars raised in USA for us to raise and flower here, for our Convention goers. It's great for local breeders too who are no longer able to import new plants but we can still import seed as Iris germanica. And I must give a word of great appreciation here to the many USA breeders such as Schreiner, Aitken, Keppel, Ghio, Black and others who for years have supported NZ growers and the Iris Soc in general, by supplying their material; plants at very low costs and now seeds, freely gifted in most cases, knowing as they do, the difficulties we have with obtaining new material.

So, the method works a treat for bearded species and cultivars in general cultivation and I am particularly interested in trying those other recalcitrant beardeds, the oncos and regelias. But we know it also works for any species so far tried. We haven't tried junos or reticulatas yet due to a lack of seed material. I'd really like to get some of Alan McMurtrie's seed as a trial. It works with sibiricas, spurias, ensatas, unguiculares, PCs and so on. As a trial, some of our members sowed some of all of these from the NZIS list sent out in May, the seed in June. From the same packets Laurol and I did the tea thing and already have strong seedlings up to 10cms (bearded cultivars) or 4 cms (species) while the other members have no germination at all yet. Seed Laurol sowed in April has already produced seedlings of 30cms so far.

The problems start though when 500 assorted seeds are suddenly 500 assorted plants all needing potting on or planting out in a hurry. It's really hard to keep up with the demands of the process but given the people to do it and the material to work with as well as the space to store them, it can be hugely successful.

I'll also be sowing tomorrow, batches of some other hard seed species such as crocuses, erythroniums, Tecophilaea and other odds and ends, to see if it works for those too. I'm not bothering with dwarf Narcissus as they germinate quite quickly if sown fresh anyway. But I wonder about unfresh seed of, e.g. Ranunculaceae such as Helleborus, Adonis, R. calandrinioides and so on but especially including Trillium. If THAT works, what a bonus that would be! There is much experimenting yet to be done, and most of all, notes to be kept, never my strong point.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on July 23, 2014, 06:54:04 PM
Post from Tim Ingram repeated from the original thread :

That is really interesting Lesley! I wonder if the active principle might be the plant hormones gibberellins which can be so instrumental in stimulating germination of tricky seed like gentians, cacti and other plants? My scientific studies were on gibberellins and involved extracting them from young growing leaves (and following their metabolism) and so tea leaves are potentially an ideal source of the hormone, and much easier to use than the complexity of pure GA itself (which also leads to etiolation of seedlings and is extremely potent). This is definitely a technique to play with! What a great place this Forum is! :)

Tim Ingram

OTHER POSTS COPIED FROM ORIGINAL THREAD:
Quote from: Hillview croconut
Hi Lesley,

Very interesting. So this process has never been put out there until now? Probably worth a properly set up experiment with some conrols. Bit hard to get my head around the stratification problem and the warm, cold, warm/day length requirements that many plant groups have evolved to respond to. But hey its always great to hear good news on the seed raising front.

Cheers,  Marcus


Quote from: Stephen Vella
Lesley interesting to hear of the cup of tea method...something I will try. I want to give it a go on dactyl orchids, I can get few to germinate but not high numbers.. Trilliums I have been sowing for years..any tips like this I will give it a go. Like Marcus said the stratification issue.. maybe speeded up?
Thanks for passing that info
Cheers


Quote from: Lesley Cox
That's very interesting Tim, your comments about tea foliage and the giberellins. The whole subject of giberellic acid has left me totally in the dark and is a place I'm never likely to go, though if I were 30 or more years younger, who knows. I hope you or someone can take this tea thing a bit further because it does seem to me to have some potential for exciting possibilities.

So far as I know Marcus, Jack Scott never mentioned such a thing to anyone except that apparently from the age of 5 he always encouraged Laurol in her gardening interests (Laurol at 5 I mean, not Jack. He always seemed to be about 70!) We in the Iris Group have for several years watched with envy the great success Laurol had with her Iris seeds but the method wasn't talked about much until we received so much American seed last year for the upcoming Convention and Laurol, anxious to encourage as many members as possible to try the seed, did a workshop on the subject at a meeting. She has been very happy to share the method so it's certainly no great secret now. Jack himself always did tend to keep things to himself, such as this method and word of any plant source he may have had.

Stephen, I don't know what would happen with seed the size of orchid seed which is just dust to all intents and purposes. It would require some different way to manage the soaking process I think. All the seeds I'm trying are relatively large; iris, trillium, crocus etc and hard. I'm not bothering with frits or lilium because they germinate so well anyway within a reasonable time frame, and it hasn't occurred to me to try it with say epigaea, ramonda or primulas all of which I've sown in the last few days, but just sowing direct onto clean grit as I normally would. If you could mange it, the results will be interesting. Maybe the soaking time would need to be adjusted down? I've never sown Dactylorhiza seed but do have them come up in quantity among pots, in paths or grass or anywhere really, naturalizing in effect which is very nice. Admittedly this has only been with the spotted D. maculata or its ssp fuchsii, not elata or foliosa though I get the occasional self sown seedling of the latter. I had a nice stand of spotties outside our gate, on the roadside for 3 or 4 years until the council men came along and sprayed them! Never another showed its face.

Lesley - gibberellins are involved in many different aspects of growth, much in the way animal hormones are. Their best known role is in stimulating elongation of the internodes of plants (viz: tall and dwarf peas), but they are also classically involved in seed germination, seen in barley by the stimulation of enzymes which break down starch into sugars as the embryo starts to grow and the seedling develops (i.e: malting). They work at incredibly low concentrations which is why using pure isolated or chemically manufactured GAs can be tricky, so the technique you describe is probably just as effective (if this is indeed what is happening in detail). Science is an unusual activity in that it shares information and works by collaboration, even if there is plenty of rivalry too and it builds on little nuggets of information like this.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: lily-anne on July 23, 2014, 07:22:12 PM
Fascinating to read, thanks Lesley.  Certainly good to try out !
 How much tea do you use,  and how long must it draw ?
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: ChrisB on July 23, 2014, 07:26:22 PM
How very interesting.  I've just started gathering a bumper crop of seed from I. setosa f. arctica so I'll save some to give it a try!  Thanks for sharing Lesley.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: WimB on July 23, 2014, 07:28:44 PM
Very interesting to read, indeed. Which kind of tea works for you? Black, Green or White?
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Hans J on July 23, 2014, 08:58:44 PM
I have before many year received the following receipt ( for watering seedlings ) - I believe it comes orginally from Amarillids growers

1 bag of tea ( black tea )
2 bags of chamomile tea
brew and make up to 2 liters quantity with Aquadest

I use this for watering seedlings ( Amarillids ) ...I dont know why but it works well - the seedlings growing fast and I had never problems with fungus .
I have no expierience with this methode for germination

Hans
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Brian Ellis on July 24, 2014, 09:18:55 AM
Thanks for sharing this Lesley and Hans.  I have not had as much success with my PCIs this year so will have to try it out on them.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Graeme on July 24, 2014, 06:00:02 PM
GA3 all the way - just get someone who works in a lab to get the suspension rate right for you
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on July 27, 2014, 07:21:32 AM
Years ago I used to do a lot of tissue culture for work and these hormones were part and parcel of media preparation. In some protocols we used to use a culture or nurse cells, which were undifferentiated (callus) of Nicotiana tabacum in suspension. These cells were spead on the surface of the agar media to hormonally support the formation of shoots.

I was wondering, if GA is present in tea in sufficient quantities to initiate germination then surely green tea, which is un-fermented should have more...? It would be really interesting to set up a controlled experiment to look into the effectiveness of tea. Perhaps seed of three recalcitrant species, each sample split into three treatment groups, black tea, green tea and water control, something like 20 seed in each group and then a replication of the whole experiment at a later date. Records kept of germination time post treatment should show up any useful effect, but of course would tell you nothing about the actual mechanism. Does anyone have time to do this? Not me...!

Jupiter, are you volunteering for this experiment and the paper work? I think it should happen but my own record keeping is just too casual for me to do it usefully. Besides, I'm too old!

What species would make the best candidates for such an experiment? Any seed left sitting in the SeedEx 13/14 could be ideal source material, as it will be at least a year from collection now. I'd be happy to keep a few pots and am fairly meticulous when it comes to records. What would be even better is for a few folk across the SRGC family worldwide to replicate the experiment using the same species, experimental method etc.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on July 27, 2014, 10:43:18 AM
I have copied other remarks on this subject into the second post of this thread "reply1" above
( in  The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds  Reply #1 )


Please continue this discussion  on THIS thread! Thank you.




Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on July 27, 2014, 02:02:06 PM
Very interesting, and another new use for tea bags! What is Aquadest? (See Hans J's post)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on July 27, 2014, 02:43:19 PM
Quote
What is Aquadest? (See Hans J's post)

I believe this is distilled water sold in Germany
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Hans J on July 27, 2014, 03:06:11 PM
Yes Maggi - Aqua destillata : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distilled_water (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distilled_water)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on July 27, 2014, 03:25:24 PM
Thank you Hans - I thought you might be too busy watching the end of Le Tour to answer  ;)
( we have good  track cycling on TV from the Commonwealth Games too  :D )
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Hans J on July 27, 2014, 03:34:12 PM
Maggi ,

I'm always glad in the time when comes advertising to do other things  :D

 ;D
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on July 27, 2014, 11:52:42 PM
Lily-anne, I use and Laurol does too, a normal sized mug or cup of black, i.e. milkless tea, (no sugar :)) for each batch of soaking. I leave it to draw for as long as it takes to cool to lukewarm then remove and squeeze out the teabag and pour the tea over the pouches. This makes tea much stronger than I would normally drink it (with milk) and I rarely drink tea anyway, having coffee in the morning so I make coffee in a mug, tea in another and use the tea for the seeds. I suppose it will be expensive in teabags over time but well worth that. If I were drinking the tea I'd make a small potful, pour mine then leave the bag or leaves to go on steeping until cool.

Really pleased to see such interest in this subject. It's not often a totally new (to me) technique is found that can produce some startlingly good results.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Susann on July 30, 2014, 06:39:18 AM
Lesley and others, very interesting. Me myself I am too lazy to care so much for my seeds and seedlings, I just sow the seeds and put the pots in the coldframes hoping for the best. The last three years I have refined my method by outsourching the watering to neighbors with differing results. Scientiffically it is not a method I would recommend.
But, I have copied the thread and will send it to a friend who is very keen on trying new methods. The last few years she has been into sowing in damp cotton tissues, the ones some women use to clean their face. She has the fridge full of them, checking them every now and then to see if there is any sprouts. If sprouts she puts them in a pot. The fridge tissues might have been the cause of her divorce, I am not sure. It could also have been all the pots in the cellar, the sowing media and tools in the kitchen and maybe, but just maybe, all the pots in the porch? Anyway, I am sure she will like to try this method, divorced or not. Actually she has more time now for her sowing experiments. Thank you for telling us about it, Lesley.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: arillady on July 30, 2014, 10:34:52 AM
I received some oncocyclus seeds today so they are getting the strong tea method.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on July 30, 2014, 12:32:25 PM
What have you started here, Lesley...

I've had a rummage through my collected seeds and have found a few candidates for a germination experiment - comments for the improvement of the experimental design are welcomed.

These are not what you'd call recalcitrant seeds, being those that I have in sufficient quantity and aren't too special to have a play around with. However, they should serve for a rough'n'ready experiment, and given the claims for the effectiveness of the "cup of tea" method we might see some difference in germination (and subsequent growth/flowering?) even in these species. The seeds have all been collected by me this year, except for 6. which is from the SeedEx and so a 2013 collection:

1. Muscari armenaicum
2. Muscari - un-named cv., pale blue
3. Narcissus pseudonarcissus - un-named cv., big trumpet
4. Scilla siberica
5. Scilla verna - wild-collected ex Berneray
6. Scilla verna - wild collected ex Orkney

I will test the following five treatments:

A. soaking as per Lesley's instructions using green tea
B. soaking as per Lesley's instructions using black tea
C. soaking as per Lesley's instructions using water
D. soaking for 24 hours only using water
E. no soaking

I've included treatments D and E as they will help to quantify the magnitude of any effect of the "cup of tea" method. Applied to each of the seed collections the five treatments will give 30 experimental pots in total.

We might expect to see a range of germination rates ranging from the highest/fastest (treatment A) through to the lowest/slowest (treatment E). So, the null hypothesis is that: soaking seeds prior to sowing has no effect on germination rates (speed and %age) and our alternative hypotheses are that:

- Soaking seeds in water results in faster/higher germination rates
- Longer soaking of seeds (>24 hours) results in faster/higher germination rates
- Soaking seeds in black tea as per Lesley's instructions results in faster/higher germination rates than using only water
- Soaking seeds in green tea as per Lesley's instructions results in faster/higher germination rates than using black tea

Other variables will be kept the same as far as is possible:

- seeds have all been exposed to the same storage conditions;
- 15 seeds will be sown for each treatment;
- seeds will be soaked in equal volumes of liquid from the same source/brew
- they will be soaked/sown on the same dates;
- the same size pots will be used (7x7x8cm);
- and the same medium (my usual gritty, loam-based bulb mix and top-dressed with grit);
- sown pots will be kept in the same location (in a frame covered with shade netting to keep the harshest winds off, but otherwise exposed to the elements);
- subject to the same watering regime; and
- anything else done to one pot, will be done to them all.

I will make regular* observations of the pots to record whether there are any signs of germination (cotyledons breaking the surface of the sowing medium) and if so how many seedlings there are. The results will be recorded in a table for later analysis. I'll let the experiment run until all germinated seedlings have gone dormant next summer.
*I'm unsure what the frequency of observation should be. Lesley's experiences with her Irises suggests rapid results, which would require daily observation. But I suspect that the seeds I'm using, that require a period of cold to germinate, may not react so quickly so less frequent (weekly?) observations might be adequate. However, there's rarely a day that goes by that I'm not checking on my pots, so I'll start with daily observations and see how it goes.

As regards observations of growth (leaf height? leaf number?) and time to first flowering... let's see how things go. It might be better to focus on germination rates at this stage, but making observations of growth probably would not be onerous (i.e. monthly).

Assumptions (can't be verified/measured with the means available):
- any effect of the "cup of tea" method is due to the presence of giberellins (rather than any other factor)
- unfermented green tea contains higher levels of giberellins than fermented black tea
 
Limitations:
- I don't have access to the Iris seeds for which Lesley reported an anectodal effect (not meaning to disparage your observations Lesley, just being scientifically rigorous)
- the use of cold germinating species may hide/diminish any effect of the "cup of tea" method
- holidays in Sept (timed with the Late Bulb Display)  ;) and at Christmas will mean there are gaps in the data set.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: SJW on July 30, 2014, 02:25:33 PM
Very thorough, Matt, and I look forward to seeing how this experiment progresses. It does seem logical that it is the gibberellins in the tea leaves that are stimulating germination (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/41/8/1381.full.pdf (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/41/8/1381.full.pdf)). In which case I wonder if you'd get similar results using tea made with mashed up young leaves and growing points of any species? Perhaps worth soaking the seeds in such an infusion as well as the plain water and camellia teas? More work though...
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: lily-anne on July 30, 2014, 07:02:26 PM
 Thanks for the extra info Lesley  !
Matt , It seems to me a serious scientific experiment. That way we get clear evidence if it really works thanks for the effort ! I look forward to seeing how this experiment progresses.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: johnralphcarpenter on July 30, 2014, 10:52:33 PM
How about an infusion of fresh Camella sinensis leaves?
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on July 31, 2014, 06:14:01 AM
Good idea Ralph... but Camellia are a bit thin on the ground up here.  ;D

Will keep it in mind for a second iteration of this experiment perhaps.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Martinr on July 31, 2014, 07:34:23 AM
Nice to see Design of Experiments used properly :)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Susann on July 31, 2014, 09:18:54 AM
Matt, very impressing! it will be very interesting to follow your experiment. Even I might try it, if it gives a good result.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: johnralphcarpenter on July 31, 2014, 01:12:01 PM
Good idea Ralph... but Camellia are a bit thin on the ground up here.  ;D

Will keep it in mind for a second iteration of this experiment perhaps.
I have Camellia sinensis in the garden so may give that a try.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Tim Ingram on July 31, 2014, 02:09:56 PM
If the stimulation of germination is due to GAs in the tea leaves then the more concentrated dried leaves are likely to have the greatest concentrations of hormones compared with fresh leaves. The levels are higher in the young growing tips of the plant and also it is here that the active GA is produced and metabolised. This is true in all plants not just camellia so other dried plant material infused for drinks may well have the same result. Gibberellins are related to steroids and relatively insoluble in water (extraction of them makes use of organic solvents and differing pH under lab conditions), so tea leaves brewed with boiling water are probably about the best way of extracting them in a simpler way. It will be really fascinating to see the results of experiments like Matt's, and probably worth trying with more tricky seeds to germinate like cacti, some irises, maybe a number of the dry-land alpines like penstemons which are often slow and unreliable when sown.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 01, 2014, 05:12:22 AM
First signs this morning of germination in two pots of Iris ensata, sown on July 22nd!
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: lily-anne on August 01, 2014, 06:18:22 AM
Lesley,  How long is the normal time for the germination of Iris ensata  ?
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: fermi de Sousa on August 01, 2014, 08:16:23 AM
Hi Lesley,
thanks for this new method; I'll put it in the next AGS Vic group Newsletter and see if our members can join in the experiment!
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Susann on August 02, 2014, 07:40:59 AM
Tim, very interesting extra information. And, I understood everything you had written :)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 04, 2014, 12:25:17 PM
Lesley,  How long is the normal time for the germination of Iris ensata  ?

Lily-Anne, if the seed is fresh, they will come though here in about 3-4 months. Add a year to that if it has really dried out. Their seed is not hard like that of many irises but quite large and sort of leather-textured. It may be that they are relatively lightweight too, because of the species' predilection for water, the seed perhaps being distributed that way. Recently I sowed a few seeds of species from the American swamp habitats such as the Everglades, II. fulva, nelsonii and a couple of others. Their seeds are large and almost spongy and will float on water. Two seeds, all I had of Iris ? were very large, the size of a marble but almost weightless. (Sorry about the query mark.) I've forgotten which it was. It's past midnight now so I'll look in the morning and modify this post.)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 04, 2014, 12:32:27 PM
How about an infusion of fresh Camella sinensis leaves?

Well I have many camellias here so could try it I suppose. I wish this were the cup of coffee method. Save me making two potsful each morning. ;D
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: johnw on August 04, 2014, 02:52:53 PM
On the subject of tea the results of a recent CBC test on teas may raise a few eyebrows.  Here in Atlantic Canada we drink large quantities of tea so these results are deeply disturbing.  My brand is the local King Cole which I understand is even shipped out to the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC for their famous high tea.  I wonder if one can assume that Red Rose tea is not blended from many different tea strains.  One also has to wonder why the mosquitoes still bother me.  Looks like a change is in order.

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/full-tea-test-results (http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/full-tea-test-results)

johnw

Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: SJW on August 07, 2014, 12:04:56 AM
On the subject of tea the results of a recent CBC test on teas may raise a few eyebrows.  Here in Atlantic Canada we drink large quantities of tea so these results are deeply disturbing.  My brand is the local King Cole which I understand is even shipped out to the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC for their famous high tea.  I wonder if one can assume that Red Rose tea is not blended from many different tea strains.  One also has to wonder why the mosquitoes still bother me.  Looks like a change is in order.

[url]http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/full-tea-test-results[/url] ([url]http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/full-tea-test-results[/url])

johnw


Black tea is the most popular over here, of course. Don't know about current levels of pesticide residues (although tea has been tested over here in the past) but this is my cup of choice: http://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/. (http://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/.) A lovely brew - the only known contaminant being just the merest trace of modesty. :)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: graham on August 22, 2014, 12:44:09 PM
A couple of things ocurred to me after reading the thread - prompting a web search or two:
1. extraction of gibberllins with boiling water (i.e. tea making) - how temperature-sensitive are the GAs and how water soluble are they ? I couldn't find much of an answer to the first - other than the general thought that large-ish origanic molecules tend to be less stable at higher temperatures, not exactly a major surprise there but I could find no indication of how sensitive (although the extraction methods that I did find tended to advise extraction for log periods). However I did note that while there are a few articles about aqeous extraction of GAs there are far more that use organic solvents. I did find one interesting (but uncorroborated in my search) comment that GAs are soluble is alkaline solution - and black tea is somewhat acid (pH5 ish so I found) see:
http://www.hydroponics.com.au/issue-11-gibberellins-plant-growth-hormones/ (http://www.hydroponics.com.au/issue-11-gibberellins-plant-growth-hormones/)
the quote is "According to Pinto, a key factor to extracting gibberellic acid is to raise the pH of the water to about pH8 (slightly alkaline) at this pH the gibberellins are soluble in water." look in the 'Extracting Gibberellic Acid' section; however the overall method is, while not a major undertaking, neither is it trivial (needs acetone, Iso-propanol, etc.etc.). Of course whatever solubility GAs have in cold water, it is likely to be greater in water at 100 deg. However my searching did make me wonder whether reducing the tea (or whatever plant material is used) to a powder or paste in a blender or mortar and pestle and then soaking in slightly alkaline water at room temperature for a few days may extract more GAs.
2. I noticed a reference to chamomile tea: I have had this advised to me a mild anti-fungal and a web search does find a number of articles stating that it is quite sulfur-rich. I also found a few references to the 'fact' that herbal teas tend to be alkaline. I must admit that despite trying the tea (and it tasted fine) as an anti-fungal on some seedlings I was not greatly impressed by its effects.

graham
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on August 22, 2014, 09:41:30 PM
Wondering whether to have a go with my narcissus seeds, which I will be sowing rather later than I usually do, I chickened out at the thought of 150 little bags of seeds soaking! However when reading the description of the original method, notably the repeated draining and resoaking, I wonder if it's nothing to do with GA or anything like that, but rather the leaching out of inhibitors to germination.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on August 22, 2014, 10:14:55 PM
Wondering whether to have a go with my narcissus seeds, which I will be sowing rather later than I usually do, I chickened out at the thought of 150 little bags of seeds soaking! However when reading the description of the original method, notably the repeated draining and resoaking, I wonder if it's nothing to do with GA or anything like that, but rather the leaching out of inhibitors to germination.

Perhaps Anne, that's a good point. The experiment I'll be running includes the "cup of tea" treatment using water only i.e. 4*24 hour soakings. If it is the leaching of inhibitors instead of GA then there should be similar result between the water and tea treatments. I'll start the soaking process next week and be sowing seeds a week on Sunday. Thereafter, it's wait and see what happens... Will post updates on any exciting developments here.

I do have to admit to pre-empting the experiment and having used tea for any seeds that needed soaking (24 hours only though) before sowing this year...well, it couldn't do any harm.  ;D
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on August 23, 2014, 12:12:26 PM
It may be that the slightly acidic nature of the tea increases the leaching effect. Maybe you should try weak vinegar as well.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on August 23, 2014, 01:03:19 PM
It may be that the slightly acidic nature of the tea increases the leaching effect. Maybe you should try weak vinegar as well.

Too may pots!! I'll not have room to sow any SeedEx seed this year if I do :-\
If we find no discernible difference between water and tea, a second iteration of the experiment could be run next year trying a range of different agents to remove/neutralise the inhibitors.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: graham on August 23, 2014, 10:23:36 PM
Assumptions (can't be verified/measured with the means available):
- any effect of the "cup of tea" method is due to the presence of giberellins (rather than any other factor)

I've been doing some more searching and find a number of source of GA itself, so perhaps another set could be run actually using the real thing, it would also show whether those seeds are susceptible to GA treatment although there does seem to be quite a degree in variation of the concentration in the treatment solution. But it does appear to be quite readily available, e.g.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gibberellic-acid-90-10-Gram-Kit-International-/321111505724 (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gibberellic-acid-90-10-Gram-Kit-International-/321111505724)
and bearing in mind the dosage required it would be far cheaper than tea. I am very tempted to order some now in fact...

graham
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on August 24, 2014, 10:43:34 AM
Kristl Walek of Gardens North Seed also sells
GA3 - Gibberelic Acid (100mg)      GA3
Contains one 100mg packet of 90% pure GA-3, each packet being sufficient to treat about 50-100 packets of seed.   $7.50
 on  http://www.gardensnorth.com/site/ (http://www.gardensnorth.com/site/)  under "other products"

Kristl contributed many great threads  under  "My piece of heaven" titles over the years. Kristl now posts more regularly on her gardens north facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gardens-North-Seed/130083313745756?hc_location=timeline (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gardens-North-Seed/130083313745756?hc_location=timeline)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: graham on August 24, 2014, 01:18:16 PM
Not, you must understand, that I am an obsessive, but I have found this subject somewhat interesting and have continued searching. Now I have found:
http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/GibberellicAcid.htm (http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/GibberellicAcid.htm)
and J.L.Hudson do claim "We are the original home of GA-3 and GA-3 Kits made available to the public for seed germination", well I cannot vouch for that but I have cetainly seen the wording that they use in a few other places on the web in the past couple of days searching so...
But I would strongly recommend anyone interested in the subject - and here I mean growing from seed - to read that page and to have a look at the downloadable book by Norman Deno linked to from the Hudson page - it does look very interesting and will be my reading for a good few hours - well, quite an amount of it is experimental results and being a PDF it is searchable so you don't have to read it all to get at the species in which you are interested but just a quick look reveals a good deal of information collected in one place.

graham
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Maggi Young on August 24, 2014, 02:01:49 PM
We have several discussions about GA3 and Deno's writings around the Forum.

Here is one relevant forum  link  http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=5209.0 (http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=5209.0)

These links below to Dr Deno's "Seed Germination: Theory and Practice" and the two supplemental books are free downloads at the USDA National Agriculture Library online site. I know this book is out of print and nearly impossible to find. I hope this information is useful.
The books of Norman Deno are in the Public Domain so they are free for download.

National Agricultural Library Digital Collections
pdf s to download are linked to on each of these pages from the US site :

Seed germination, theory and practice
http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41278 (http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41278)

First supplement to the second edition of Seed germination theory and practice.
http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41279 (http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41279)


 Second supplement to Seed germination theory and practice.
  http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41277 (http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41277)


For those that haven't got Deno - much of the information in Deno is summarised in the seed germination section of the Ontario Rock Garden Society site
http://www.onrockgarden.com/page/germination-guide-overview (http://www.onrockgarden.com/page/germination-guide-overview)
http://www.onrockgarden.com/germination-guide/plants (http://www.onrockgarden.com/germination-guide/plants)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on August 25, 2014, 08:17:56 PM
There is an indirect way to, maybe, validate that the effect is due to GA3. If the seeds used are Podophyllum hexandrum, they should produce a leaf shortly after producing the radicle, instead of waiting a year. I had tried GA3 on podophyllum hexandrum this year and it worked like a charm. It resulted in faster germination compared to seeds without GA3, and the first leaf started forming 2-3 weeks after the radicle started.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on August 25, 2014, 10:26:27 PM
Robert, if what you say about the Podophyllum germination is correct, I wonder if it would also apply to hypothingy lilium seeds as distinct from epithingy. Sorry, the words escape me for the moment. Too early in the day. :-[
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on August 26, 2014, 01:39:55 PM
This original discussion started talking about Iris seeds. Based on advice from the ORGS Germination Guide, http://www.onrockgarden.com/germination-guide/plants (http://www.onrockgarden.com/germination-guide/plants) , I have always washed Iris seeds with a daily rinse for a week. I once read you could simply put the bag of seeds in the toilet tank and it would rinse them for you. I wonder how many of the Iris experts use such a rinsing technique? It sounds a lot like the tea procedure.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on August 26, 2014, 03:11:53 PM
That would confirm the leaching of inhibitors theory, perhaps. Hmm...150 bags of seeds in the toilet.. ::)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on August 26, 2014, 08:38:53 PM
I decided to do my own experiment. I have had some peony seeds sitting on my desk, in moist Promix since about April 1, 2014. I was waiting for the redicle to develop at room temperature before moving them to the cold. Except for the one species noted below, nothing has happened yet--maybe tea will speed things along.

As far as I know the seeds were picked in summer 2013. I received them from the ORGS SeedEx March 2014 as extra seeds.

I brewed some tea using a standard sized cup plus 2 regular tea bags (Red Rose) and one Lipton Yellow label. I know this tea is far too strong for you Brits who have to dilute yours with milk  ;D, but I wanted to make a strong tea to hopefully enhance the germination effect. I'll rinse with new tea every day for 4 days. For each species there is also a control that is being rinsed with water. I am using the baggy technique, which is what I normally use for seeds. I'll wash the seeds in baggies, and once the washing is complete, a moist paper towel will be added to the baggies and the seeds will be stored at room temperature. I like this technique because I can see what the seeds are doing. It also takes up so much less space than having pots around.

Ten seeds of each of the following are being rinsed in water, and another 10 in tea.

Paeonia officinalis ssp banatica
Paeonia veitchii v. woodwardii
Paeonia cambessedesii
Paeonia anomala

The Paeonia veitchii v. woodwardii started germinating about a month ago, but so far only 3 seeds have formed a radicle. About 1/2 of the remaining seeds show the tip of the radicle, but it is not growing. The seed sample for this test used a mixture of seeds containing some with and some without the radicle showing.

In each of the above cases I also have some remaining seed that is not part of this experiment, but that is continuing to be treated in my normal way which means they are in moist Promix at room temperature. This can be considered to be a second kind of control--seeds with no washing at all.

I also decided to try the test with P. hexandrum, knowing I had 1 ripe seed head left in the garden. When I went out to get it this morning- it was gone. It was there yesterday. Someone ate it overnight!
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Margaret on August 26, 2014, 11:09:23 PM

Has anyone tried Teapigs? The company make their teabags out of biodegradable mesh. Guess that these bags could be used to contain the soaking seed. They are a bit more expensive than normal but the seeds might appreciate  the better flavour. ::)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Rick R. on August 27, 2014, 01:37:51 PM
You didn't say when you started your experiment, Robert (Madtripper).......?
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on August 27, 2014, 02:33:27 PM
Ok. The 3 batches of seeds (6 different seed collections) that are subject to the "cup of tea" method using treatments A - green tea, B - black tea and C - water are currently soaking. I will add another batch of seeds for the last soaking on Saturday and a fifth batch is being kept in reserve to be sown without any soaking on Sunday along with these soaked seeds.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on August 27, 2014, 03:51:28 PM
I started it yesterday--2nd wash today.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: ChrisB on August 27, 2014, 04:33:48 PM
This is so interesting will be watching how it works out!
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on August 29, 2014, 08:47:02 AM
VERY impressed! awaiting results with anticipation.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on August 30, 2014, 03:56:00 PM
I added some Iris Colletii to the list of seeds.
Not sure they are viable--it looks like the Iris are all floaters--but will proceed with test.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on August 31, 2014, 01:44:17 PM
The seeds have been soaked (for treatments A-D)...
[attachimg=1]

...sown halfway down their pots...
[attachimg=2]

...securely double-labelled...
[attachimg=3]

...thoroughly watered and are in the propagation frame (avoiding having any experimental pots on an outside edge).
[attachimg=4]

Now we watch and wait...  ::)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: fermi de Sousa on September 01, 2014, 03:10:40 AM
The seeds have been soaked (for treatments A-D)...

...thoroughly watered and are in the propagation frame (avoiding having any experimental pots on an outside edge).

So that's what they mean when they say they don't want to "give someone the edge"!
 ;D
cheers
fermi
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on September 01, 2014, 08:24:59 AM
Perhaps it will be the gibberellins in the tea, or the repeated soaking will "give them the edge"?  ;)

There's a lot riding on this, but it's also fun to be doing some science again too ;D
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on September 01, 2014, 08:26:00 PM
Matt--you mentioned planting seeds half way down the pot. do you do this with all Scilla seeds?
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on September 01, 2014, 10:31:43 PM
Hi Robert,
Yes, I've found that the Scilla with larger seeds (i.e. S.siberica, S.peruviana etc.) do great when sown at depth. Those with slightly smaller seeds like S. verna would not be quite so deep.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 08, 2014, 12:08:08 AM
I wonder how many of the Iris experts use such a rinsing technique? It sounds a lot like the tea procedure.

Yes, I remember reading about this. too. I think it was applied to Daphne seed in particular and perhaps to Trillium seed, in the former case, to wash away possible germination inhibitors. I haven't tried the loo tank but there it is, and surely could be put to good use, well a second good use. ;D
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on September 08, 2014, 07:32:22 AM
...wash away possible germination inhibitors.

Having been reading around this subject, including Deno, I'm inclined to think that the washing is likely to be more important than gibberellins. However, it might be that tea is a better washing agent than plain water, i.e. the mild acidity of tea could help remove any inhibitors? Potential for so many experiments here...but too little space for more pots  ;D

UPDATE: there are not yet any signs of germination in my experimental pots one week after sowing.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on September 08, 2014, 10:13:25 PM
Re your update Matt, I think the sowing time may be a factor too as my soaked iris seeds were sown in winter and only a couple have germinated so far while Laurol's big batch that got me so excited were sown in the autumn. My more recent spring sowings are starting to germinate - well it's JUST spring here yet - while the winter lot are still sitting. Herbaceous things that weren't soaked are starting too, along with 4 pots of Corydalis solida sown within a couple of days of harvest, but starting 15/16 months after sowing. Iris cycloglossa sown last November is coming up like hairs on a dog's back. A hairy dog at that. It was seed given by Tony Hall to South Canterbury Iris group for the Convention last year and a couple who didn't want theirs (I had received a North Russian I. sibirica in my "goodie" bag) gave it to me. There was enough for 3, 100mm pots! The I sibirica started in May. There's always something interesting and exciting happening among one's seeds, no matter what the time of year. :)
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: vanozzi on September 09, 2014, 02:06:06 PM
On 11 Aug this year, I also have sown some Siberian iris seed using the tea method.The seed is one and two years old, was soaked for 4 days in tea and changed each day.No germination yet.I wrapped the seed using chux cloth, attached a label and not knowing if tea would erase the ID , I wrote it twice, using different pens haha.It was fine.
I should have some really choice fresh siberian hybrid seed arriving from the US shortly and will use the tea method on half, the other half just soak in rain water for the 4 days.
 
My Japanese iris seed was sown prior to reading Lesley's post, so I have just watered them a few times with tea.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Tim Ingram on September 09, 2014, 06:46:49 PM
The great thing about doing science is that you don't know the result until you have done it once, repeated it another few times, and then someone else has done the same and found the same result. And then you have some degree of confidence you are on to something! The problem here is possible confusion between several different potential explanations: hot 'tea' (water) simply softening a hard seed coat and allowing the seed to imbibe when it normally would take a long time for the seed coat to degrade and allow imbibition; washing out of inhibitors like Matt says; and actually a direct effect of a hormone like gibberellin. It would be possible to test with actual gibberellin as another experiment.

Practically if germination of tricky seed is stimulated it is quite a beneficial (and cheap) method regardless of the underlying reason(s) - it's great that several people are trying this out but since most scientific experiments don't give especially clear cut results I imagine there is likely to be quite a bit of variation. Will be really interesting to see what happens over the next weeks and months.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on November 09, 2014, 11:37:02 PM
UPDATE
Ten weeks into the experiment and there are not yet any signs of germination in any of the pots I have sown. I suspect that the cup of tea method may not be of benefit to species that have a requirement for a cold period to germinate (in this case Muscari, Scilla and Narcissus). I'm planning to add some recalcitrant species to my seed exchange order this year and will include any that I receive to this trial in the spring. Watch this space...
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on December 09, 2014, 07:18:16 PM
Preliminary Update:

Paeonia officinalis ssp banatica, Paeonia cambessedesii and Iris colletii are showing no germination with either water wash or tea wash.

Paeonia veitchii v. woodwardii showing 30% germination with water wash, and 0% (1 out of 10 seeds) with tea wash. Paeonia veitchii v. woodwardii that were not washed at all are far ahead of either washed set of seeds, and many seeds have long roots already.

Paeonia anomala showing 60% germination with water wash, and 10% (1 out of 10 seeds) with tea wash. The unwashed set of seeds is far ahead of the washed seeds as far as root growth goes.

Washing a seed that had a root showing seemed to halt the germination process and the root stopped growing. It might even have damaged the root tip to a point where it stopped growing.

So far I'd make 2 conclusions:

1) washing with tea is not better than washing with water
2) for peony seeds, washing (with water or tea) does not seem to add any advantage over not washing.

I have not counted the # of seeds that germinated in the unwashed package of seeds--it does contain many more than 10--maybe 50. The roots are quite tangled up right now and I don't want to disturb them. It is therefore possible that washing does increase the % of germination.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on January 12, 2015, 11:12:42 AM
WEEK 19

Some seeds are showing! Only the Narcissus pseudonarcissus seeds are germinating:

3A - soaked 4 x 24 hours in green tea
3B - soaked 4 x 24 hours in black tea
3C - soaked 4 x 24 hours in water
3D - soaked 24 hours only in water

There are 2 seedlings showing above the top dressing in each pot (no poking around with exploratory fingers), with treatment 3C having one seedling that was also showing last week.

No other signs of germination to date, including pot 3E, the Narcissus seeds that were sown dry without being subject to any soaking treatment.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on January 18, 2015, 10:23:13 PM
WEEK 20

3A - 2 seedlings
3B - 2 seedlings
3C - 2 seedlings
3D - 3 seedlings (+ 1 since last week)
3E - 1 seedling (new since last week)



Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on February 09, 2015, 11:47:26 AM
Week 23

A lot of Narcissus seedlings are coming up. For Narcissus pseudonarcissus at least and to date, it appears that there is no significant difference in germination across all treatments.  The use of species with a cold-requirement for germination was identified as a potential limitation of the experiment.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on February 22, 2015, 03:30:30 PM
Week 25

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on February 22, 2015, 07:11:48 PM
YAY! The no-soakers caught up!
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on March 31, 2015, 01:03:21 PM
Week 30

Germination on the Narcissus seeds has plateaued, with few new seedlings pushing up now.

[attachimg=1]

Muscari and Scilla have also started to germinate, here's the chart for M. armenaicum to date (no-soakers leading the way, Anne!)

[attachimg=2]
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Tim Ingram on March 31, 2015, 04:08:34 PM
No obvious differences in the use of 'tea' in these examples. We should return to Lesley's original post which referred specifically to recalcitrant seed (i.e. some irises) and look more closely at these, because here there is good evidence of an effect.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on April 01, 2015, 05:23:09 PM
I'm getting the impression that the hassle of pre-soaking is rather pointless!
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 01, 2015, 06:07:46 PM
Anne, the results do suggest that pre-soaking in any kind of liquid has had no effect on germination rates for the species tested. I would note that the storage conditions in my house (glassine packets in a tin kept cool and not overly dry) might mean that seeds did not desiccate to the extent that they might under different storage conditions (i.e. central heating, warmer modern homes etc). I've learnt a lot from observing these seeds and hope I will find time at some point to distill a few thoughts from my findings.

One of the limitations of the experiment identified at the outset was that the only seeds available at that time were of bulbous species that typically require a period of cold prior to germination. This biological mechanism appears to override any effect of soaking in tea etc. As Tim notes, it will be interesting to repeat this experiment with seed of species conventionally regarded as recalcitrant. I think those species listed by Deno for which GA-3 would be beneficial would be ideal subjects...I only need procure them. I also have GA-3, which would provide a useful comparator. With an impending move it's unlikely that I can do so this year, but I would like to experiment some more with seed germination of many species when I have the opportunity.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 01, 2015, 06:23:26 PM
It's also worth pointing out that the Narcissus seeds were of a large Div.1 cultivar, which might not dry out as fast or to the same extent as smaller seeds of our favourite miniatures.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Lesley Cox on April 06, 2015, 11:02:46 AM
As I remember, this thread started way back in the day and I remember being wildly enthusiastic because I had had some early success. Recently there has been much less, but the other day I was talking to my chum Laurol who remarked casually that "of course you need to have the pots in a really warm place." At the time while my pots have been in shade and about 14-18 C during the spring and early summer, hers were on a sunny deck in 23C. Go figure!

So maybe worth continuing with some modifications.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 06, 2015, 01:48:53 PM
Wish we could achieve 14-18oC, we rarely make that in the sun, let alone the shade! :)

Lots of potential for variations on the basic experiment. Would be nice if I didn't have to work and could play around with plants all day every day... One day, maybe.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: johnstephen29 on April 06, 2015, 04:40:49 PM
Keep buying the euromillions tickets matt and it could happen
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 06, 2015, 08:37:29 PM
Thanks John, but I'm planning on aligning things so that work involves playing with plants...I think there's more chance of success with that than randomly generated numbers.  ;)

Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 06, 2015, 08:39:07 PM
Out of interest, here's Scilla siberica in week 31.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 06, 2015, 08:46:33 PM
Week 30
...here's the chart for M. armenaicum to date (no-soakers leading the way, Anne!)

(Attachment Link)

Muscari armenaicum '1D' (24 hour soak in water) have caught up.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: annew on April 12, 2015, 08:27:45 AM
Wish we could achieve 14-18oC, we rarely make that in the sun, let alone the shade! :)

Lots of potential for variations on the basic experiment. Would be nice if I didn't have to work and could play around with plants all day every day... One day, maybe.
You'll need minions as well.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on April 12, 2015, 08:38:21 AM
I have one of those but he's not very good!  :o
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on May 07, 2015, 11:29:10 AM
The iris seeds I tested still have not germinated. Soaking in tea had no effect on the germination of peony seeds - if anything it reduced the % germination a bit.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Robert Pavlis on August 14, 2015, 02:53:39 PM
The seeds of Iris colletii germinated around August 10. Got almost 100% germination both with and without tea. The seeds had been washed in either water or tea. Adding tea to the wash water had no effect.
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: ChrisB on August 17, 2015, 08:33:27 PM
Followed the instructions to the letter and had no success at all, but didn't sow a control set either. Will try again using a control
Title: Re: The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds
Post by: Matt T on August 17, 2015, 08:48:21 PM
Me neither, Chris. I had to cut my experiment short due to moving house and since then have not had time to synthesise the results I did get. However, it was pretty clear that for the range of species I was using (bulbous species that typically require a period of winter cold to germinate) the cup of tea treatment made little (no) difference to germination times or rates. This was identified as a possible limitation at the outset of my experiment and repeating it with seeds of species more conventionally considered to be "recalcitrant" may give different results.