I know what April Fool’s day is… which is why I questioned it… I’m not trying to fool anyone and don’t see any of my claims as being outrageous…
This is what I did:
I scraped the pulp out of one tomato and mixed it with a little water. I knew it would ferment because, as was mentioned above, anyone who saves tomato seeds knows this is how you prepare them for storage and germination. I also knew from reading other sources that the fermentation of tomato seed pulp by various microorganisms results in the production of various enzymes such as pectinases, lipases and cellulases. There was some discussion on here a while back about the nature and composition of the matrix holding the two halves of the achene together and some were saying cellulose and others pectin etc. Henry has done experiments with various ‘digesters’ with positive results. So I thought why not try a fermenting process to model chemcial scarification as would occur if the seeds were ingetsed or if microbial action in the soil ‘digested’ the outer coating of the seed.
In the first experiment 50 seeds were treated and 50 were not. Both lots were stratified for 6 weeks exactly in the fridge in two bags of moist peat. These seeds were OP ‘Westerland’ seeds. Of the 50 in the control group only 2 have germinated. In the pulp-treated seeds 22 have germinated so far and they are still germinating. That’s 4%:44%. These small smaple sizes do not represent statistically significant numbers. In the next experiment I left the Don Juan seeds in an extra week to see what would happen. You can see the results above. The have been put into stratification now and I will let you know how well they germinate. I will do more research on this to understand better why I am seeing what I am seeing but to be honest the last thing I expected from people on here is the suggestion of trying to make a fool out of anyone.
Adam, to answer you questions:
How was overall germination rates affected? 2/50:22/50; control:treated
Did any of the Don Juan seeds germinate? Just stratified… TBA
If you did this with easy to sprout seeds what would be the affect? (not that you would need too just curious) … been thinking about this myself which is why I’ve only been using those big hard woody seeds so far that I seem to have so much trouble with.
How did you get all the tomato seeds out of the pulp? I didn’t. The tomato seed’s gelatinous coating may be important because it contains substances that inhibit the germination of the tomato seed… so it may be an important subtrate in the fermentation or enzyme mediated processes.
If you used a less acidic tomato say the crappy ones from the store would this still work? I don’t believe it is the acidity of the pulp but the fermentation process that causes the outer coating of the seed to be digetsed. The pH may be important in creating the required conditions and/or preventing contamination but I don’t think it is the acidic nature of the pulp that causes the scarification.
Does seed treated this way even need to be stratified? Good question and one I want to test myself. My feeling is that they probaly won’t need stratification (or that this is dependent on how long they are fermented for… maybe there is an optimum fermentation time), though I haven’t tested this. I’m thinking that as more of the coating is digested the more rapid leaching occurs and because the seeds are in an aqueous environment leaching will be even more efficient. I have one batch of seeds left that haven’t been stratified from last season so will set them up this evening to test this. Only trouble is the seeds are from an unknown variety (so they might be easily germinated seeds etc).
On some of the older varieties of yellows (do not know about the newer ones)and other roses such as some of the species; that the bulk of the germination occur in year two or three does this provide a method for getting the bulk of seeds to germinate the first year? Gigantea seeds would be good to try this way as these seeds are like rocks and take forever to germinate on their own. WOn’t have any gigantea seeds till later in the season to try myself.