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By Intheswamp
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Posts:  363
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#411219
Ok, don't panic. We've got this. My granddaughter isn't here to calm me down...probably need to Facetime with her or something.... Ok, I'm ok. Yeah, ok. Breath...breath...breath.... I think I'm gonna be ok... :lol:

Today the lady on the mule dropped two envelopes into the tin can beside the road. One came from waaaayyyy up north in New York (that's close to the north pole, I think!) and another all the way from our northern neighbor state...the great state of Tennessee!!! Thank you evenwind, ChefDean, FTC, the seed-bank donors for your generosity! :D

Here comes my thesis so grab a sandwich and a drink (might want to make that three or four drinks) and settle in...

After re-reviewing much advice from *lots* of people, most coming from the forums here and a few individuals here is what (I think :roll: ) my game plan is...

Drosera Seeds:
D. capensis "Typical"
D. capillaris, Eatonville FL
D. spatulata Beenak Australia (two sources)
D. intermedia Roraima Brazil
So, four different Droseras with two of a kind from two different sources...a total of five pots to be planted.

Growing medium: I will use a peat/perlite 50:50 mix as the base. Looking in the bag of perlite that I have it looks like everything from powder up to about 1/4" diameter sized pieces. I think I might have some 1/8" hardware cloth that I could sift the largest pieces out with. There appears to be a good bit of powdered stuff...should I lose the powdered stuff or use it? For the top 1/4" surface layer I'm going to pick through the bag of peat and get the finer stuff. I'll pre-wash the peat and perlite using a 5-gallon paint strainer bag. The perlite will most likely lose most of the "dust" when I wash it, so I guess that answers the dust question above.

Pots: My pots are recycled 2.75" square by 4" deep flower seedling pots. These are probably deeper than needed, but its what I have. :) The pots have some 1/4" round holes in the bottom so I'm going to lay in a layer or two of stranded weed-block cloth to hold the peat mix in. I'll pack down the bottom inch of mix and the rest of the pot not quiet as firm, saving about a 1/2" of space at the top of the pot to fill with the 1/4" fine peat moss (no perlite).

Water: I've got rain water (5ppm TDS), distilled water (4ppm), and dehumidifier water (12ppm).
I'm thinking of using the distilled water for germinating the seeds so as not to add possible plant spores, pollen, alien seeds from outer space, etc., to the pots. The growing mix will have been previously washed so it will be good and moist. I'll mist the top, fine layer before sprinkling seeds on top, followed by another light misting.

Humidity chamber: I'm still debating on this. It appears that drosera seeds need to be in an environment much more moist than the one I usually germinate my vegetables seeds in.I have some Sterilite containers that I use to start my vegetable seedlings in, but they are too large in my opinion. I have read of people putting the pots in zip lock bags and I'm thinking of going this route, adding a small amount of water to the bag. I would set the bags in a shoebox sized plastic container.

Lighting and temperature: Our house has lots of very large windows...the living room has floor to ceiling and *wide* windows...other rooms are 6' tall and as wide or wider...but, they all have awnings over them. It's an older house built back around 1950 when glass was cheap and propane gas was cheaper. :shock: Anyhow, I've only got one window that gets much of any direct sunlight. The big windows under the awnings block direct sunlight but there is tons of indirect light that comes in through them. I'm thinking of germinating on one of these windowsills but once I see seedlings sprout I will need to change my lighting arrangement. And there lies a possible issue...it's getting HOT down here so setting the tiny seedlings outside for direct sunlight *might* be a tad too hot for them. I could put them under some oak trees for mottled lighting (but would need a miniature Squirrel Defense 5000 (I guess that would be the 500 model).

Alternately I could use artificial lighting but I have nowhere here in the house for that. I do have an area in an old trailer at the edge of the property where I start my vegetable seedlings in the spring. I've got one shelf with three regular T-12 shop lights over it and another shelf with some super bright three panel LED garage lights. The garage lights are by far the brightest (around 8000 lumens...I don't have a PAR meter). Those LED garage lights put off a lot of heat, though. I can easily (and actually cheaply) *heat* the small, bay window room, if needed, with a small electric heater. I start my vegetable seedlings in the cool of the early spring so too much heat isn't usually a problem...if the LED garage lights heat the room up too much I have three large bay windows that I can open. BUT, cooling is another matter. The trailer has a central unit but I'd hate to spend the $$$ for cooling five little pots of drosera. :roll: I can put a fan in a window in one end of the trailer and get pretty good flow-through ventilation going...but if the air outside is 95F it's gonna be hot regardless.

Anyhow, I guess I wrote this to get some things in my head a little more organized and to see what obstacles I have ahead of me. I hope I didn't bore ya'll too much with my rambling. Be sure to get someone to drive you if you need to go for more beer. :lol:
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By evenwind
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Joined:  Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:16 pm
#411245
I think it would be a good thing to know which of your possible growing conditions works best for you. I'd set up several identical pots - one for each set of sample growing conditions - and plant them with a mixture of all four seeds. Once you get germination, you'll be able to compare the results from the various pots and know what is best for you. (Since the four types of drosera that you have are easily identifiable once they get out of the seedling stage, you can freely mix them in a pot and not worry about naming them.)

As far as humidity, I have far less in my seedling microclimates than you have in your regular living space. Personally, I wouldn't try to get it any higher with bagging, but that's just what works for me in my growing area.
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By Intheswamp
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Posts:  363
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#411251
evenwind wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 12:59 pm I think it would be a good thing to know which of your possible growing conditions works best for you. I'd set up several identical pots - one for each set of sample growing conditions - and plant them with a mixture of all four seeds. Once you get germination, you'll be able to compare the results from the various pots and know what is best for you. (Since the four types of drosera that you have are easily identifiable once they get out of the seedling stage, you can freely mix them in a pot and not worry about naming them.)

As far as humidity, I have far less in my seedling microclimates than you have in your regular living space. Personally, I wouldn't try to get it any higher with bagging, but that's just what works for me in my growing area.
Separate growing conditions to determine what works best for my location makes perfectly good sense! Thanks for the idea! I do want to hold some seeds back for "insurance", but I should be able to spread the same seed among at least two separate pots and have a few left over. Combining different types of drosera would make it more simple, too...though "OCD Me" wants to resist the thought! :lol: But, combining makes sense. Since I have splats from you and Chef I could make sure to put them in separate pots so it'll be easier to tell if there are slight differences in the seedlings/plants later on. Maybe I can compromise with "OCD Me" and only plant two types per pot...still would reduce the number of pots.

So, the really moist growing conditions of the zip lock bags might not be the best route to go? How do you set up your germination stations? Our humidity is all over the place...currently it is 64% outside and 53% indoors (http://www.beeweather.com/ss-gauges.php). Forecast today is a high of 94F and tomorrow...97F!!! :shock: ...and here we are in the middle of May! Needless to say we run the air-conditioner a good bit when it gets like this which dries the indoor air out a bit.
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By Panman
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Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#411253
I always bag or dome my seeds to sprout them and sprout them indoors at around 75 degrees. Some of the more tropical seeds I will put on a heat mat to bring them up to 85.
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By evenwind
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Joined:  Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:16 pm
#411254
As for me, my current humidity is 45, temp is 75. But that's today. My household humidity dips to the 30s in the winter. I've got no idea what the microclimate humidity is at the soil surface but I've learned not to worry too much about it. Every time I've gotten it into my head to increase the humidity to increase the germination percentage, I've wound up with a lot of slimy algae and mosses and not anything noticable in increased germination. In fact, even if there is more germination, the green crud overwhelmes a lot of the seedlings.
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By Intheswamp
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Posts:  363
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#411313
I'm going crazy (my wife has been tellin' me...). I swear I thought I had replied to this previously! :?

I think I'll go with two plantings of all the seeds...one uncovered and one covered. Possibly in different windows. I figure one bagged and one uncovered and see how they do.

I picked up a 3-pack of some small, long and narrow "organizer" trays today. They will fit easily on the windowsills. They're something like 9"x3" and I can fit three of my 2.75" square pots in each one so that should work good for setting up two grow stations...and have a spare if I get to feeling froggy! :lol: I'm hoping to plant the seeds tomorrow! Gotta go to an honors award tonight for the oldest granddaughter...I missed my fly trap growing granddaughter's track event today (my wife said it was incredibly hot, sure hate I missed it! 8-) ).

It sounds like it's a trade-off between higher germination rates with algae growth and lower germination rates without algae growth...and the benefits of with and without algae. We'll see... :D
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By Intheswamp
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Posts:  363
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#411449
Ok, I'm close to planting seeds... I mixed up the perlite and peat moss in a paint bag and used some rain water to rinse it with. I don't think there's enough rain water in Alabama to get water running through this stuff running even close to clear. I'd wet it and squeeze, wet it and squeeze, ad nauseum... :shock: Seems I've read that you can rinse it with tap water and then do a final rinse with distilled or rainwater...problem is my tap water runs 330ppm TDS. :( Anyhow, I've got six pots with a ~50:50 peat moss and perlite mix. The top 1/4" or so is pure sphagnum peat moss.

Looks like it will be indoor germination, that's for sure. We peak out tomorrow at 94F and then a slight cool down into the mid-80's for first of the week...not sure where it's heading after that though the trend looks like back up. :|

I've got the pots more or less ready to scatter seeds. How wet should the top be? Saturate it good so that water drains through and then scatter the seeds on top? Any misting after scattering the seeds?

I've got six pots ready (I think they're ready...I know there's six of 'em :lol: ).
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By evenwind
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Joined:  Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:16 pm
#411451
I just make sure the top layer is damp and scatter the seeds. I don't mist, just keep the mix damp with bottom watering. So between Panguy and me, maybe you should mist every other seed?

Or, you could make the mist or no mist part of your experiment?
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By Intheswamp
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Posts:  363
Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#411493
The deed...is done. 8-) Man, I could make a major production out of a toenail trimming session!!! :lol:

First thing, Chef and Bruce both did an exemplary job of packing the seeds...tight and tiny origami seed envelopes and frames (heck, I didn't know what a frame was until now!!! :D ). Thanks guys!!!

Next thing, until you see one you really don't know how little those seeds are!!! Tiny!!!!
Image
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The pots I used had round 1/4" holes in the bottoms. Great for drainage but terrible for holding in potting mix. I had some old "weed block" material so I cut some squares just slightly larger than the bottom of the pots. I put these in the pots and they work great! Easy-draining and holds the peat and perlite in just fine.
Image

Anyhow, it was my first stint at mixing perlite and peat in a 50:50 mix. I'm hoping it worked out ok. I simply added equal amount so peat and perlite to a bucket and and got it good and wet. Rinsing it was a problem. I wasn't sure whether I could use tap water and I didn't want to use all my CP-safe water. I put the mix in a paint strainer bag and squeezed and squeezed and got lots of dark water out, added more water and squeezed more. I got a lot of brown ??? out of the mix but I'm sure I could've have kept getting more if I'd continued rinsing and squeezing. It seemed like there was a lot of perlite in the mix...but I actually added a little extra peat to the mix. :|
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I filled the pots on up with the 50:50 mix and topped it with a 1/4" to 3/8" thick layer of only peat moss (no perlite mixed in). I wet it all down again, firmed it down a bit and moved inside the house for the actually seed planting (where it was cooler ;) ).

I took the advice I received seriously in regards to the size of the seeds and their desire to be jumping jacks, flying squirrels, acrobats, and fleas. I *carefully* opened the frames up and found some small origami seed packets...small ones! As I said, I took the previous advice and had a piece of white paper to open the packets over. I moved slowly so as to disturb things the least. I had decided to use a small square piece of paper to shake a few seeds onto and then use the small sheet of paper to scatter the seeds over the potting mix. It worked well. I would slowly shake a few seeds onto the small piece of paper until I had roughly 20 seeds on it. I would then slowly move the small piece of paper over the pot while slowly shaking seeds off the edge. I *think* I got pretty good coverage doing it like this. And, by having only a limited number of seeds on the small sheet of paper I knew I wouldn't inadvertently dump the entire packet by accident! :)
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In the picture above the small sheet of paper has two sides of it bent upward. I figured this would help keep seeds from going off the sides and give me more control as I gently shook the seeds off. Next time I do this I may fold it in more of a blunt-tipped triangle to give me even more control...but, the broad edge of the paper did let the seeds scatter out pretty good.

The two rows of pots in the clear plastic shoebox are sitting in smaller trays within it. The pots on the left (front and back) have two types of drosera in each one....Capes and Spats from Chef and the FTC seed bank. The middle two have Spats and Intermedia from Bruce/evenwind in them. The pots on the right side have Capillaris in them, from Bruce.

The front row of pots (with the white foot-markers) were well misted after planting, the back row was not. And, as you can see the front row is inside a plastic bag. Tomorrow I will cut a few holes in the bag for a small amount of ventilation. With my vegetable seedlings I remove any humidity covering at the first sign of a sprout...I'm not sure what I'll do with these...play it by ear when the time comes, I guess. ;)
Image

Anyhow, thanks everybody for your help and generosity! The seeds are planted (with some held in reserve ;) ). Now, it's "wait and see" time. :D
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By Sundews69
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Posts:  1007
Joined:  Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:57 pm
#411497
Awesome! FYI, I haven't forgotten about D. burmannii 'humpty doo' yet! The first flower is just starting to crack open (I think). I don't really know what to do as that will drop dozens if not hundreds of seeds and there are still some flowers that haven't opened yet!
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By jetfire245
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Posts:  52
Joined:  Thu Apr 28, 2022 3:03 pm
#411500
You did basically everything the right way.

The rinsing of your media: Ideally, unsafe water never touches your media. In all honesty I don't rinse my media at all other than initial soaking. They all only receive distilled water. We do not want our media to absorb nutrients or minerals at any point.

When growers rinse their media, it's specifically done with water that has low TDS (reverse osmosis, distilled, etc.) to rinse out anything that might be in there.

You'll probably be okay though. Just something to keep in mind going forward.
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By Intheswamp
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Joined:  Wed May 04, 2022 2:28 pm
#411598
Thanks jetfire. Right or wrong, it's a done deal now. Something's gonna happen...hopefully some tiny, hungry specks of seedlings will appear in a couple of weeks! ;) I'm still working on my water situation...we're getting more rain this weekend so will catch some more. I've got a couple of old plastic 5-gallon water bottles I may use to store some water in...bulk. Now if I could figure out a way to plumb a tap into the thin plastic...
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