This year I am trying a new method for germinating seedlings. Last year I tried a multiplicity of ways to compare and contrast. Dead last was using the winter to give them a cold period in their large pots. This did not work because the Scrub Jays are tricky and got into every single seed as a winter snack. One Cherry Meililand x (Dortmund x Circus) made it through, though.
The best method seemed to be raising them indoors in the garage after their 3 month fridge period. What I did different was raise them in rows in large tubberware bins that I drilled drainage for. The depth of these containers made for nice drainage yet enough mass for optimal moisture retention and root space. The plus of this is that I never had to transplant. I kept them in their massive yet mobile beds til just now (9 months!). 200 seedlings soon becomes 3 or 4 with culling.
The downfall of this is that it would not work for someone hybriding en masse. I obviously cannot do that. I do not have a green house or acreage. But this works well for the hobbyist.
Anyways, I am going to repeat this storage bin process again this winter but I will be doing it on all my seeds. What I am going to change is the staging. I am harvesting large batches of seeds 2 weeks apart so that I can do everything in 1/5ths as to not feel overloaded in hobby work. Also, this gives me the advantage of staging seedling blooms over the rainy season when it is very dark in Oregon. One of the nice things about hybridizing is the ability to see new color before spring arives. This makes the long winters a little less difficult. Another advantage of staging is that is spreads out the task of culling more.
Do any of you try different ways? I like to do things like this to see “What works best for me” rather than “What works best for another and I mimic it.” The latter is not always optimal for everyone.