plant experiments

Andrew D. conquest at
Mon Jan 18 22:04:56 EST 1999

In article <19990118163844.7780.qmail at>, kfranken2 at HOTMAIL.COM
("kevin franken") wrote:

+Does anyone have any interesting plant experiments involving the 
+following subjects:
+1. Germination
+2. Emergence
+3. Hydroponics
+4. Flower/Fruit Development
+Any good webpages out there that you would recommend?
+Thank you for your help.

One recent discovery has been the role of smoke in aiding germination of
some seeds. I believe the "discovery" was made in South Africa and the
technique has now been applied to a whole range of previously "ungrowable"
plants in Western Australia. Apparently it is the chemicals in the smoke -
not the fire itself - that triggers germination.

There are a number of methods used to expose the seeds to these chemicals:

For small numbers of seed you can simply build a small fire of sticks and
leaves on top of a plant pot (be careful no to melt it). When it's all
burnt, scrape off the ash - the smoke will have penetrated the top layer
of the seed mix which you can then put your seeds into. Then water and
treat normally.

For slightly bigger numbers you can use a product called "smoked water"
(now available retail) and either soak the seeds in it or water them in
with it. It is concentrated so you can dilute it first. Or if you just
want to reminisce about childhood camping trips you can dab a little
behind your ears - it smells just like a campfire!

For bigger applications you can build a "smoke tent". This utilises a
small incinerator filled with burning leaves and this is connected via a
tube to an enclosed "tent" in which the trays of seeds are housed. Air is
pumped into the incinerator forcing the smoke through the tube (which
should be long enough to allow some cooling to occur) and into the tent
where it surrounds the seeds before exiting.

It would be interesting to do a comparison between smoked and non-smoked
seeds. Some Australian species to try include: Anigozanthus humilis and
Thysanotus multiflorus both of which a readily available.

You can find more detailed info (with diagrams) at:

Andy D.
Western Natives
Perth, Western Australia.

conquest at
"I'm a great speller - but a hopless tpyist!"

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