Mother nature is taking care of you, TNhunter. We can't catch a break here. There was a 60% chance of rain last night, and we didn't get a drop. I can't tell you the last time we had any significant rainfall. It's so bad here, there are farmers that are digging wells all over their farms in a effort to get their cattle a little water. We are desperate!
On that hardwoodginseng.com where TNhunter got his seeds ($60 for 3,000), if you click on his ebay auction you can get 3,000 seeds for $45 plus $4 shipping. That would save you $11. He also has 5,000 seeds for $60 plus $6 shipping.
Looks like hardwoodginsengs ebay auctions are a better deal.
Are you sure about that on not treating if the stratified seed is cracked open ?
I have heard it is normal for seed that has been stratified to be cracked open, can see the little ginseng embryo (looks somewhat like a sprouting acorn).
In Scotts book he recommends treating stratified seed that you purchase.
He does not say anyting about cracked or not, but again from what I have read it is completely normal for stratified seed to be cracked, actually that is what you want to see, proof that the seng embryo is growing, doing it's normal thing.
Ok - on my lunch hour now and read thru Scotts book some and on page 149 where he is talking about stratification of seeds it says this:
During their year in storage, the seeds will darken, increase in size slightly, and some of them will split - that is the husk will open slightly along the seam on one edge of the seed so that the white kernel is visable. The seed is then said to be \"smile\". Smiling or split seeds are a good sign that storage conditions were suitable and that the seeds are developing normally.
He went on to say that it is common, however for only a few seeds to be to be splitting when the stratification container is emptied in the fall and many viable seeds often remain closed until early spring.
Later on he said that if no seeds are smiling by Thanksgiving that he would begin to be concerned.
Later on he mentioned that if you purchase your stratified seed from mailorder that he recommended that you treat them and there again he mentioned the 10% clorox solution.
He did not say anything there about cracked seeds, no warning, nothing. Just recommended treating the seeds.
I actually used 5 cups water, 1/2 cup clorox - just a bit less than 10%, and I left them in there for 5 minutes, instead of the 10-12 minutes he recommended.
I only recall seeing this mentioned in the literature that comes each year with the seeds I order from Hsu's ginseng.
It says: Dip seeds/rootlets in Captan water (1oz. captan to 1 gallon of water) or household bleach (1oz. bleach to 1 gallon of water) for five minutes. If seeds are cracked or sprouted then do not dip seeds. Just plant ASAP.
This was said in Kim Pritts Ginseng book:
\"To tell if seeds are good, look them over carefully when you receive them. They should range from off white to dark brown in color and be firm. Some of the seeds will have started to crack open by fall, and a tiny white tendril may show along the side. This is normal and indicates a healthy seed. Seeds that are mushy or pulpy are not viable, and the condition of the shipment should be reported immediately to the seller.\"
\"...Captan stops hitchhiking fungal spores from attacking seedlings when they sprout. Bleach kills any spores attached to the seeds. Maneb tends to both kill spores and inhibit their ability to attack seedlings. While some growers believe treatment lowers the germination rate, weak solutions are probably a safe bet.\"
\"....soak seeds for three to five minutes in a solution of one or two tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water.\"
I know in the majorty of the articles I've read about the bleach treatment, they never mention rinsing the seeds off with water afterwards, except in Scott's book. All the times I have used bleach, I have rinsed them well in fresh water. I also have seen some articles saying to use 10% bleach and other ones saying to use 1oz.. It seems that there is a big diffrence between the two. I have used the 1oz. bleach per gallon of water and I have not tried the 10% bleach method. But after seeing the 10% method listed in Scott's book, I would feel comfortable using the 10% bleach solution now.
In all the seeds I have bought, there is usually only about 100-200 seeds 1 lb. that are split open. So it would of been hard to know if those split opened germinated out of the approx. 7500 seeds.
I hope everything is ok with what youve treated. If it was important not to treat seeds that are cracked open, I think you would see it in more of the literature thats out there.
Do you have any idea of aprox. how many were split open out of the 3,000 you recieved?
I think out of the two extremes of treatment (10% or 1oz.) With the 10% bleach you may lose some viable seeds but less by spores attacking. And with the 1oz. bleach you may lose less viable seeds but lose more to spores attacking. I wish we knew more about these things. It's probably a toss up with the results in the end between the two. I do know that Scott and Hsu have over 30 years of successfully growing Ginseng. I highly respect what both of them have to say about ginseng.
I do know back when I was using the 1oz. bleach, I was getting atleast 85% germination rate. And I'm happy with that.
About your dry soil conditions. You are best to wait for some moisture.
Here's someting I found in John Eplers book called: All about Ginseng.
\"Whenever possible, wait until your garden has moisture in it before planting. Moisture must be present to keep the seeds and rootlets from drying out. If ginseng seed dries out, it will lose it's germination power. Because of the nature of the seed, it is kept moist from harvest to planting. Ginseng seed has a very hard exterior shell. By keeping the shell moist, it will crack open more readily. when the shell is allowed to dry out, it becomes too hard to crack open and germinate. If time is running short, forcing you to plant in dry soil, water the rows before planting. Cover the rows with soil as soon as possible to trap the moisture in. After covering the rows, gently water them with a fine spray or sprinkling can. Do not force the water on the soil as this will cause it to pack down tight. After thoroughly watering the bed, a mulch should be added to further trap the moisture and protect the bed.\"
I took a close look just now at the seeds I have left - probably around 1200 and I would say that about 1/3 of them are \"smiling\" some just slightly but others more so and you can see the little white embryo inside.
If it were real important not to treat smiling seeds then you would think that Scott would mention it in that section where he recommended treating seeds you purchase by mail order.
Yesterday I had emailed the seed supplier and asked a few questions including asking if they were treated already and mentioned how I treated them. I got a reply today (below):
\"As far as treating the seed, I do that. But I only place a small amount of bleach to water, much less than what you just mixed, and soak for about 5 minutes. It may or may not be enough to make a difference. That way if the customer does it again, I only did a very light bleach treatment and it would not hurt anything if they did it again. My goal is to have customers have good germination rate, and I do this just in case they don't do the bleach treatment. Seems to be working very well on my seed, I get repeat customers and customers who are thrilled with the germination.\"
I also asked about the seed source and got this:
\"The seed is actually artificial shade grown seed from Minnesota. I have a parnter who does this, who lives a little distance from me, but I have gotten to know him quite well and he does not want to sell the seed on the internet. He prefers to sell to me in bulk and let me mark the seed up at whatever price I want to sell it at. And I have tested this seed and watched it very closely over the past years, and it always seems to be excellent seed. He is a small grower for artificial shade and only lets his plants grow three years before harvest. I think this explains why his seed has little disease and high germination.\"