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Thread: The ultimate seed-growing thread

  1. #17

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    That's still too peat-heavy IMO. Neps don't really mind their soil mix as long as it's relatively inert, and not nutrient rich. You could grow them in broken glass if you wanted to...or styrofoam pieces, or brick chunks, etc.

    There's a bag of stuff you can get from Lowe's that comes pre-mixed in the proper ratios for $5 I think. It's a phaleonopsis mix that comes in a pinkish bag. You can also use the paph mix containing arcillite that comes in a purple bag. There is one with fertilizer already added....do NOT get that one. Here's an example of the first: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...000&lpage=none

    If you grow a lot of HLs, it wouldn't be economical to keep buying that mix, but you probably won't since you live in FL. I think for a collection which just contains a few HLs (like mine) that mix is perfect.
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  2. #18
    Tamer's Avatar
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    I used a plastic bag over the seedlings and set them under a light (about a foot and a half above the seeds as I can't get them any closer) and white fiber-like strands of mold started growing. The RH was ~93% inside of the bag and the temp was ~82. I just now noticed this. There wasn't any at the beginning of the day. Any suggestions? I removed the plastic bags and sprayed them with water. The humidity in the room is 30% right now, so I'm not sure what's worse, having them in a bag or not having them in a bag.

    Edit- The seeds in question are Burbidgeae.

  3. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamer View Post
    I used a plastic bag over the seedlings and set them under a light (about a foot and a half above the seeds as I can't get them any closer) and white fiber-like strands of mold started growing. The RH was ~93% inside of the bag and the temp was ~82. I just now noticed this. There wasn't any at the beginning of the day. Any suggestions? I removed the plastic bags and sprayed them with water. The humidity in the room is 30% right now, so I'm not sure what's worse, having them in a bag or not having them in a bag.
    Welcome to my world. For years my growing from seed was hit or miss (mostly miss) (except Sarr seeds which I planted & stuck outside for the winter). It seemed everything I did still enabled fungus. One of the worst was when I microwaved LFS. I think the microwaving killed resident fungi & allowed all the bad stuff to colonize ...

    While I still don't grow a lot from seed, in the past year I tried a new method which has worked with zero unwanted nasty things. I microwave some soggy LFS until it boils for at least 30 secs to a minute or so. Let it cool down. Add some fresh Trichoderma mix. Let the mix sit for a day or 2 (covered) and then plant your seeds.

    One comment on something mentioned in original post (bolding is mine):
    Quote Originally Posted by phissionkorps View Post
    Q: Should I sterilize the media (via microwave)?
    A: I have begun to do this now. I mix up the media (make sure it's moist) and just stick the pot in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. It will depend on your microwave power. Mine was made in 1885 and takes longer than every other microwave I've ever seen. Just make sure the media gets hot, but not hot enough to burn you. This is a great way to kill bacteria, fungus, etc that may pop up in the media. You're probably going to get algae or something no matter what, but you'll definitely get a lot less if you nuke the media.
    Huh?? While I'm no microbiologist, I can't see how this statement makes any sense.
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  4. #20
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    Do you have any success in getting seedlings from pots with mild amounts of fungus growing over the LFS? This is the first time I've tried this.

  5. #21

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    Hello everyone, this is my first post! Thanks for all the great info. This thread is especially good and the best seed sowing guide I could find on the internet. I have very good germination from my first batch of seed!

    I'm using a 1:1:1 mix, as above, and bagging them with a hole in the bag. While the seedlings are still young, I've gotten good results so far. I'm new to the Nepenthes hobby, and although I'm not formally a microbiologist, I know a thing or two about microbes.

    Microbiologists know that sterilization and pasteurization are totally different things. Actual sterilization requires temps above 250F. NOBODY is sterilizing their media - this requires an autoclave or a pressure cooker or something. Pasteurization, with temps ranging from 140F to 170F (100 degrees F cooler than sterilizing!) is a maneuver which yields a microbiologically stable environment by killing most active organisms, and sparing the dormant ones. While killing multicellular organisms like nematodes and insect eggs and also colonies of active fungi and bacteria, it leaves most endospores and some favorable bacteria intact (actinomycetes actually thrives in low pasteurization temperatures). This levels the playing field in the competition for nutrients, but still allows plenty of biodiversity. This way, they all keep each other from growing unchecked across a nutrient source (the soil). Believe it or not, trichoderma, rightly mentioned above as a great soil stabilizer, is also the same green mold you see in failed pots (or possibly penicillin). The difference is that the overcooked media favors the mold so much that it gains enough nutrition to grow "vegetatively" and sporify. - potentially deadly for a seed caught in the cross-fire. We want a slow, lazy war among these microorganisms, and not a massive, single-front offensive.

    The only effective way I'm aware of really pasteurizing soil correctly at home is in an analog turkey roaster set to low and monitored with a meat thermometer (I go for 145F). The media is then hydrated to field capacity, so approximately that's when no water comes out when squeezed, and only 1 - 3 drops come when squeezed "hard." The moistened media is put in a moist pillowcase along with a little water for an hour or two. I haven't tried this on Nepenthes seeds, but on rather more sensitive applications here on my mushroom farm. Its the industry standard for microbial stability.

    In my opinion, the preference would be as follows:
    1. pasteurized (the best by far)
    2. sterilized
    3. untreated
    4. "boiled"

    Microwaving until "the media gets hot, but not hot enough to burn you" works quite well. In my new micro thats 44 seconds on high for a single 4 - inch round pot of moist media. I've gotten great germination and nearly zero mold. In fact, I did an accidental side by side comparison with some media heated to boiling, and some to "just hot" as above. The microed pots have healthy seedlings of about 40% germination which I think is great. The three I overcooked just turned green and I have maybe three seedlings per pot (quite poor).

    Thanks yall,
    Tyson

    Here's a link to an article I'm finding useful regarding raising out the young seedlings:
    http://www.carnivorousplants.org/cpn...pSeedlings.htm
    Last edited by inserthumor; 09-11-2013 at 10:35 AM.

  6. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by inserthumor View Post
    NOBODY is sterilizing their media - this requires an autoclave or a pressure cooker or something.
    You're quite wrong. I can, have and do. Also, autoclaving at increased atmospheric pressure, say 1 atm, at 121˚C, aids in killing cysts and whatnot, which can survive in boiling water for extended periods of time -- even in a microwave.

    Congrats on your first posting . . .
    Last edited by BigBella; 09-11-2013 at 11:09 AM.
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  7. #23

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    OK BigBella, care to share how you've been sowing your nep seeds then? Have you tried pasteurizing your media? I'll bet it would work beautifully for you when deflasking your TC Cephs.
    Last edited by inserthumor; 09-11-2013 at 10:45 AM.

  8. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by inserthumor View Post
    OK, care to share how you've been sowing your nep seeds then? Have you tried pasteurizing your media? I'll bet it would work beautifully for explanting your TC Cephs.
    My preferred compost for seed is a 2:1 mix of milled sphagnum to rinsed horticultural sand. It is saturated with distilled or RO water; autoclaved at 1 atm at 121˚ C, dependent upon its volume, for forty-five minutes or more, in canning or laboratory vessels; and is allowed to remain at 70˚ C for several hours.

    The seed, if rare or its age uncertain, is treated with 250 ppm GA3 for twelve to twenty-four hours. Those that aren't placed in vitro, are planted in the room temperature compost and bagged, until germination occurs. Occasionally, the pots are treated with a Trichoderma solution, in the case of Heliamphora and even some Nepenthes seed.

    My preference for rooting ex vitro Cephalotus, has always been the use of live sphagnum moss -- something that probably shouldn't see the inside of an autoclave . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

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