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Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 4/25/2016, 3:40 am

Hmmm, silver stuff...  thinking What seed company are they from? Is it on all the different kinds you have?

The temperature in your basement is just about right.  Maybe germination performance varies by the variety, but I would have expected to see more variation between the different kinds that you started.  I just started another 16 to get a dozen new plants, and I had 11 of my dozen with root tails in two days, and the 12th on day 3.  But I grow mostly Bloomsdale - it's what's most commonly available in the stores here.  I'll have to try another variety or two.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  yolos on 4/25/2016, 3:45 am

@jimmy cee wrote:I'm giving up on spinach, not because it didn't grow, they did nicely this season due to Kate's  program. I can sit and devour a ton of spinach. I love it, always have and always will...Having 5 beds, with just under 200 squares I want to devote my planting to a more robust crop. A large bowl of spinach cooks up into about 1/2 cup. I'll buy mine at the market...kohlrabi's are crunchier...
I agree.  When you just barely cook it it shrivels up to almost nothing.  But I also use it in a salad and then it is worth growing.  Especially since it survives the winter here fairly well.  The bed would be empty over winter if I did not plant the spinach so what the heck.  It is bolting now just in time to plant some cucs in that bed or maybe some sweet potatoes (haven't figured that out yet).  And will be a nice addition to my compost pile.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  jimmy cee on 4/25/2016, 11:28 am

@yolos wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:I'm giving up on spinach, not because it didn't grow, they did nicely this season due to Kate's  program. I can sit and devour a ton of spinach. I love it, always have and always will...Having 5 beds, with just under 200 squares I want to devote my planting to a more robust crop. A large bowl of spinach cooks up into about 1/2 cup. I'll buy mine at the market...kohlrabi's are crunchier...
I agree.  When you just barely cook it it shrivels up to almost nothing.  But I also use it in a salad and then it is worth growing.  Especially since it survives the winter here fairly well.  The bed would be empty over winter if I did not plant the spinach so what the heck.  It is bolting now just in time to plant some cucs in that bed or maybe some sweet potatoes (haven't figured that out yet).  And will be a nice addition to my compost pile.
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That's a great idea, I never considered, will try it as a cover crop when all is done in fall.  I'll never do another rye cover crop again.I flooded the beds with rye grain seeds and it grew beautifully, however in spring  there was so much growth in roots, I am just about finished getting it out..
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  yolos on 4/25/2016, 11:45 am

@jimmy cee wrote:
@yolos wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:I'm giving up on spinach, not because it didn't grow, they did nicely this season due to Kate's  program. I can sit and devour a ton of spinach. I love it, always have and always will...Having 5 beds, with just under 200 squares I want to devote my planting to a more robust crop. A large bowl of spinach cooks up into about 1/2 cup. I'll buy mine at the market...kohlrabi's are crunchier...
I agree.  When you just barely cook it it shrivels up to almost nothing.  But I also use it in a salad and then it is worth growing.  Especially since it survives the winter here fairly well.  The bed would be empty over winter if I did not plant the spinach so what the heck.  It is bolting now just in time to plant some cucs in that bed or maybe some sweet potatoes (haven't figured that out yet).  And will be a nice addition to my compost pile.
Yolos
That's a great idea, I never considered, will try it as a cover crop when all is done in fall.  I'll never do another rye cover crop again.I flooded the beds with rye grain seeds and it grew beautifully, however in spring  there was so much growth in roots, I am just about finished getting it out..
I had the same problem this year with the rye.  Way over seeded and have had to keep turning and hacking the roots.  But it now has a lot of worms and after a month of sitting it is finally ready to plant.  Last year I did not seed quite as heavily and was easy to turn under.  Lesson learned.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/25/2016, 12:47 pm

@CitizenKate wrote:Hmmm, silver stuff...  thinking  What seed company are they from?  Is it on all the different kinds you have?

The temperature in your basement is just about right.  Maybe germination performance varies by the variety, but I would have expected to see more variation between the different kinds that you started.  I just started another 16 to get a dozen new plants, and I had 11 of my dozen with root tails in two days, and the 12th on day 3.  But I grow mostly Bloomsdale - it's what's most commonly available in the stores here.  I'll have to try another variety or two.
It looks like the silver stuff is on the two hybrid varieties from High Mowing organic seeds, but not on the open-pollinated variety I have, and not on the two varieties from Pinetree seeds. The Space seeds have some nubbins this morning Smile , but I'm still not seeing anything on the others.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/29/2016, 2:32 am

I'm still trying to figure this out.  I know it should work -- I've had both cold stratification and scarification work before on other seed types. I want to it to work for me -- and others who might attempt it and have it not work well on the first try. At this  point I've had germination on and sown: 90% of the Regiment, 2/3rds of the Space and Renegade, 1/3rd of the Dash, and none of the Butterflay. The basement has been nearly steady at 59oF - briefly went down to 57 when we had a low of 40.

My fridge is at 36 according to my best reading of the non-digital thermometer.
So could it be my hydrogen peroxide? It still fizzes, but apparently has an expiration date of 06/15.

Relative to the silvery stuff, the High Mowing site says "Some of the varieties we carry receive an organic film coating applied to the seed, which make the seed easier to see during planting." So I don't know what it is, beyond organic.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 4/29/2016, 3:38 am

Do you see any discoloration while they're in the paper towels? If so, that would probably indicate some kind of fungus. That also usually comes with an off odor. The H2O2 is supposed to suppress fungi, but I've still had it appear on some occasions, and once I see it, I chuck the entire batch and start over.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/29/2016, 3:55 am

No odd smells, or fuzziness, or discoloration of the seeds (yet), but there's a little pink/red discoloration of the paper towels in the corners where I've handled them - probably either Serratia marcescens bacteria or a yeast.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 4/29/2016, 4:58 am

I've seen that before, too, and I don't worry about it if it isn't really close to where the seeds are. At any rate, I think we can rule out a problem with the H2O2. It sounds like everything is just about right.

So you got 90% germination with the Regiment, but not as good germination with the others? That would rule out most factors in your environment and procedure you're following, so I wonder if the other varieties just require different temperatures... I took a look at the producers' growing info on the Renegade and Dash varieties, and found the Renegade likes slightly warmer temperatures than the Regiment. Dash likes it cooler.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/15/2017, 4:26 pm

I'm going to try Kate's method using some 33 cent seeds I got at the dollar store. I'm interested to see if these seeds are viable or old stock. So this is just an experiment to see if they sprout but I may take them to the microgreens stage if possible.

I am using 40 seeds in the experiment. I've scarified (terrified affraid ) them and they are now soaking and cooling in a small container of water in the refrigerator. Tomorrow (If I remember Very Happy ) I'll transfer them onto a wet paper towel, in a larger covered container which will be placed in cool dark location.

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/16/2017, 11:16 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:I'm going to try Kate's method using some 33 cent seeds I got at the dollar store. I'm interested to see if these seeds are viable or old stock. So this is just an experiment to see if they sprout but I may take them to the microgreens stage if possible.

I am using 40 seeds in the experiment. I've scarified (terrified affraid ) them and they are now soaking and cooling in a small container of water in the refrigerator. Tomorrow (If I remember Very Happy ) I'll transfer them onto a wet paper towel, in a larger covered container which will be placed in cool dark location.

I have now moved the seeds onto wet paper towel which was then folded over and placed into a covered plastic container. The container is in a dark cool place in the basement.

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 2/17/2017, 4:00 am

@trolleydriver wrote:I am using 40 seeds in the experiment. I've scarified (terrified affraid ) them...
Razz
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 2/17/2017, 4:06 am

Got anything sprouting, yet, TD?
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/17/2017, 4:25 am

@CitizenKate wrote:Got anything sprouting, yet, TD?
It looked like some of them are starting to sprout. I'll check again after they have been on the paper towel for 24 hours.


Last edited by trolleydriver on 2/17/2017, 9:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/17/2017, 9:53 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:
@CitizenKate wrote:Got anything sprouting, yet, TD?
It looked like some of them are starting to sprout. I'll check again after they have been on the paper towel for 24 hours.

After one day in the refrigerator and another day in wet paper towel, the germination rate is just over 50% with 21 of 40 seeds showing signs of life.

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 2/19/2017, 1:25 am

Sounds like your micro-greens are on the way!

Do you actually raise spinach for consumption as micro-greens, or is this exercise more of an experiment?  If they make good microgreens, maybe that's what I should do with all the rest of the seed I have left.  I don't plan to raise spinach in my garden this year - decided to use the space for something else, but this sounds like a good way to use up whatever I have left.
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/19/2017, 2:22 am

@CitizenKate wrote:Sounds like your micro-greens are on the way!

Do you actually raise spinach for consumption as micro-greens, or is this exercise more of an experiment?  If they make good microgreens, maybe that's what I should do with all the rest of the seed I have left.  I don't plan to raise spinach in my garden this year - decided to use the space for something else, but this sounds like a good way to use up whatever I have left.

I've never tried spinach as microgreens so it's just an experiment.

Germination rate is now 75%.  I've moved the sprouted seeds to another container with potting soil and placed the container in a south-west facing window.

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/20/2017, 8:52 pm

Six more seeds have sprouted which gives a 90% germination rate. That is consistent with what Kate achieved. Here is what is happening to the sprouted seeds that were transferred to the self-watering container.


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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  trolleydriver on 2/28/2017, 8:32 pm

This what my "Kate Method" spinach seedlings look like now (8 days later).


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Problems gatting spinach seed to sprout?

Post  GloriaG on 3/1/2017, 2:26 am

Hummm.....  thinking   I'm curious about this post because my spinach reliably sprouts outside in the garden. 

In the fall, I simply broadcast it directly into the squares like a cover crop then cover with a few un-composted leaves.  For me, it takes way too long to plant exactly the "right" amount per square so my plants are generally a little too close together.  It sits all winter and I usually have a great spring crop. 

Two weeks ago we harvested 10 lbs from from a 4 x 12 bed and tomorrow I'll pick the same bed.  Based on the growth I see, I anticipate I'll harvest at least another 10 lbs.  I'll probably have one more good picking after that.  So a total of about 30 lbs from that bed in addition to the leaves we've picked for salad.

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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  CitizenKate on 3/2/2017, 2:13 am

@GloriaG wrote:Hummm.....  thinking   I'm curious about this post because my spinach reliably sprouts outside in the garden. 

In the fall, I simply broadcast it directly into the squares like a cover crop then cover with a few un-composted leaves.  For me, it takes way too long to plant exactly the "right" amount per square so my plants are generally a little too close together.  It sits all winter and I usually have a great spring crop. 

Two weeks ago we harvested 10 lbs from from a 4 x 12 bed and tomorrow I'll pick the same bed.  Based on the growth I see, I anticipate I'll harvest at least another 10 lbs.  I'll probably have one more good picking after that.  So a total of about 30 lbs from that bed in addition to the leaves we've picked for salad.
That sounds fantastic, Gloria. I asked the folks at the local garden center how they grow theirs, and they direct sow theirs, also, but in the spring. Every attempt I've made at direct sowing spinach has failed miserably. It really is frustrating to wait so long, 2-3 weeks with direct sowing in the spring, just to find out it's not going to happen. I like the method I explained here because you get to find out, fast, whether your plants are on their way or not. And if not, there's still time to make another try before it gets too hot to grow spinach.

However, they were talking about spring sowing, not fall. I'm willing to risk one square in the fall to give your fall sowing method a try. It can get quite cold here in the winter, compared to Texas, so I wonder how well this will work if the nighttime temps get down to -10F? I'll resurrect this thread when I see the results and report back.

Either way, thanks for sharing your method. I don't think there has to be one "right" way to do anything, and someone reading this may also have great success doing it your way.
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Problems gatting spinach seed to sprout?

Post  GloriaG on 3/2/2017, 5:38 am

Hi Kate,

Yes - You're exactly right.  My location probably has a lot to do with how well the spinach starts. 

We have a fairly large SFG and grow all our own vegetables except corn and lettuce (because of the summer heat). That also affects how I feel about planting.  I MUST keep the garden producing all year round.  So - I'm willing to risk a few seeds to get an extra-early or late crop. 

Just as a side note, I have found that top-dressing with straw prevented the spinach from sprouting.  So, I've switched to un-composted leaves.  An added benefit is that at the end of the season the leaves can just be turned under as part of the next season's compost.

Good luck with your experiment.
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Bump

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2017, 4:53 pm

Time to start some spinach!  Kate's Method bump!
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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  jimmy cee on 3/4/2017, 5:05 pm

Last season I used Kate's method and was very pleased with results.
This season, nothing going on for me related to gardening.


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Re: Problems getting spinach seeds to sprout? Try this...

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2017, 11:06 pm

Me too, just put mine in the fridge....going in tomorrow!  Or onto towels!
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