January 5, 2003, we started Victoria seeds "on purpose". We have had some sprout on their own, not included in these numbers but they will be part of our germination summary at the end of the sprouting season.
We started 480 seeds, 20 of each lot that we have been sending out, 10 of each nicked and 10 not nicked. If you want to follow our progress, we will post it below. We check the seeds every second day for sprouts. January 24 we "renicked" seeds remaining from the first nicking, running the scalpel tip gently around the opening. We decided not to nick those not nicked at the start to see further comparisons.
Though this is a small sample, it generally reflects previous years' experience. Nicking greatly improves sprouting with the largest numbers in 3-10 days after nicking and renicking. 'Atlantis' and 'Challenger' germination is lower than in previous years and 'Columbia' is higher.
The percentage of spontaneous sprouts for 'Longwood Hybrid', 'Atlantis' and 'Discovery' is affected by the fact that, once they begin to sprout at 76F, we move them to 60F storage. The same can be said for crzuziana except that one small lot included in the numbers above escaped our attention at 76F and 67% of it sprouted before we could get it to 60F storage. We have no idea what stimulates this "flurry" sprouting of cruziana or the lots in which it will occur.
Another factor that may affect germination rates in a dated study such as this one is when the seeds were collected. Seeds from previous years don't sprout as well as those from the current year (2003 lot numbers are seeds collected in 2002). There is some indication above that lots collected in the summer have germinated somewhat better than lots collected in the fall. This could indicate that there is an optimum number of months of storage for good sprouting or that summer seeds, though smaller than fall seeds, are stronger.
Sprouted seeds are transferred to other labeled, dated bags and moved to the 85F outdoor tank. When they have two hastate leaves and roots, they will be planted in 3 ounce plastic cups of sand. Not all sprouts develop properly from the initial nubs and those will be reported in our germination summary.