Zoomin' Blooms - My New Seedy Neighborhood

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For Christmas, Santa visited this link and brought me the following AMAZING gift for a new daylily adventure in 2010.  This system is just what I need to make a real go at starting my own daylily seeds.  In years past, my friend Bette Alden from Frog's Leap Daylily Gardens fostered my seeds in the winter months, germinating them and caring for them along with her own until April, when she delivered them to me in exchange for an undisclosed amount of chocolate and thanks. 

This year, I wanted to do it on my own.  So after much research (too much, probably) I decided the best deal for my tiny new experiement was the following toy:
Everything pictured above showed up lightening fast and as ordered, packed very carefully.  On January 1 (what better day to start something new) I opened up the boxes and put the thing together.  It was easy to assemble and set up.  The heat mat is included, as well as labels, marking pen, pellets, trays, lid, hood and bulbs for the overhead light.
I have read for years about people's daylily seed experiences with the "Jiffy Peat Pellets" and was skeptical, but went with it anyway.  The worst thing I imagine happening is that the root systems on my tiny seedlings will be so healthy that I will have to transplant them a couple of times before spring gets here.  I can only hope that is the case!
So I popped out the pellets, and arranged the three trays (72 peat pellets per tray) and read the instructions.  They were thin, hard, hockey puck-like things, with a tiny indentation for a seed.  Man, I was starting to doubt this is going to work....
But, following the instructions, I added about 12 cups of water to the tray, or 1/4 cup to each pellet.  Those things expanded like my waistline at Thanksgiving dinner!  They each puffed up about 4 times their original size.  I was hopeful now.  The instructions said I was to "remove the protective netting" around each pellet.  See the netting in the pic below?  It is the white sheen that is on each pellet.  It tears very easily, but destroys the pellets shape in the meantime.  After ruining about 5 pellets trying to remove the netting, I used some independent thinking and tore it away from the top of the pellet only, fluffed the pellets insides and left the outside net intact.
The little indentation in the center made for a perfectly placed single daylily seed in each pellet.  Although the directions said I could plant more than one seed in each pellet, I wanted to keep my seeds organized in a more detailed way, so I kept it one to a pellet.  I planted them all in about 20 minutes (not too deep and lightly covered with jiffy mix from the pellets I tore up trying to remove the netting.) 
Here they are cooking...I negotiated a spot in the study with my husband for the apparatus to reside. I plugged in the heat mat, plugged in the light and placed my tray of seeds!

 

I keep the light on 12 hours a day, and the heat mat on all the time. After 8 days, I have germination! About 74% of the seeds have sprouted!
Here they are sprouting!

 

Some of these seeds are seeds I made myself last summer and some I have purchased here.  I'll post some notes on what seeds I've planted and what I hope to get out of it in a later post. 
Mine is by far the tiniest seed growing operation in all of daylilydom, some hybridizers plant upwards of 20,000 seeds or more per year.  I will plant about 250, and will transplant the healthiest looking ones into the ground as soon as it thaws out this spring.  In the summer of 2011, some of them may bloom, but in Michigan it may take until summer 2012 to see flowers on these babies.
People do this in plastic shoe boxes, in old plant flats, in beer cups, in professional nursery pots and with jiffy pellets, as I have.  Some plant seeds in 3 gallon pots with 20 seeds in each pot.  Some plant seeds directly in the ground in the fall or spring.  There are a thousand ways from Sunday to do this.  Just do a Google Image Search for "daylily seed" and you will see some amazing stuff.
Here are the daylily seeds...they are beautiful "black pearls" aren't they?  I found this pic at the American Hemerocallis Society website...visit them here!
                                       
What a great adventure this will be! 
Stay tuned for updates on my seed growing in 2010...

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