Different ways of germinating seedlings

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.

I have my seed split again between chilled and non-chilled. I don’t have a greenhouse either and I have had big losses from birds and rodents.

One of the protection methods I use now is wrapping the whole flat in fine fabric mesh like the type used in bridal veils. Water, air and light penetrate just fine and I can view through it to see how seedlings are developing. You can find it at any fabric store. It’s inexpensive. So far it’s lasted over one season.

It just came to me one day. It works and protects from most insect attack as well.

Ah nice! I have been using the animal-safe slug pellets (spendy but conscious effective…Id die if my doggy was poisoned) for slugs/snails. I wonder if your veil idea works for scrub jays, though. Theyre aggressive. The chase all of my finches away :confused: and dig everywhere they possibly can. In every container I will find a filbert nut at the bottom because the scrub jays will dig in the pots and store seeds/nuts in them.

I let the tops of the stick labels form a tent over the flat then tuck all the edges in beneath to form an envelope.

Fine mesh also acts as a physical barrier to slugs and snails. I too have dogs with access to my propagaton area.

I think a bird, albeit a large one, would soon be discouraged.

I have found the birds seem to ignore the seed pots/flats once the mesh is in place.