does anyone know if there is any real benefit to stratifying longer than 4 weeks?
Will 6 or 8 weeks give a higher success rate if the seeds are a little older than fresh?
I've got some Othello x Othello and some Othello x red seeds stratifying in the crisper right now and would like to know if I can be impatient and pull them out after 4 weeks.
The reason I ask is I've bought the seeds about 4 -6 months ago and wanted to know if a longer stratification would be of benefit?
I've been keeping them sitting in their envelopes in the fridge the whole time waiting for winter.
I wanted to give them a winter strat so they would germinate naturally and bring them into sync with our southern hemisphere seasons, but this year our winter has been very mild.
Instead of temps varying from say 12 or 15 deg C during the day to just above freezing at night the days have been hovering round 19 or 20 during the day to 5 - 10 at night. This is effectively spring weather.
Hence the long wait between buying the seeds and geting them into the crisper to stratify.
The "secret" to stratification is a chemical which keeps the baby plants asleep after they have imbibed water. This chemical is broken down in temperatures below 40~F. and above 30~F. Most of the time a seed is dormant, the temperature is out of this range. Inside your refrigerator, though, it is always within the correct range, so the time length for stratification in the fridge will much shorter than the actually winter time a plant would be experiencing in a natural setting. Each generation of seeds are given variable amount on a seed by seed basis, so some seed will wake up earlier, while others will wake up later. This ensures the population is not decimated by odd weather.
Anyway, just because a plant is from a colder area, does not mean the stratification period has to be longer. Two to four weeks should be fine for most temperate species.
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wait what...oaky so it wont help them germinate if they are in the package dry in the frindge for 4 weeks....so they have to be moist....and its better to haev them in the crisper?...im sorry i had a long day of algebra2 and am really tired and this is very confusing to me.....
Yes they need to be moist, and I assume the crisper keeps them coolest as it is at the bottom of the fridge (cold air falls) plus the temp remains a little more constant.
I wrapped my seeds in a moist paper towel sprayed with fungicide. This is then placed in a plastic ziploc bag and placed in the crisper.
The first time I ever tried stratifying seed I placed my seed on peat moss in plastic containers with a lid. I sprayed the seed with fungicide but it didn't work very well as the majority of the seed became moldy.
I thought of using a little sphagnum in a plastic bag but thought it may be difficult separating all the seed when it came time to sow them out.
I think ICPS bob has a web page showing the paper towel method. I found it very useful, and now I stratify all my seed using this method.