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Old 11-10-2014, 01:51 PM
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Seed sowing - the lazy way

I tried to make a glove box from a clear plastic box because I wanted to sow my own seeds. It's just NOID seeds from phal and catta, nothing of value except that I think it would be really cool to manage to grow orchids from scratch and see the flowers of own hybrids.

The glove box fogged up and the gloves attached were a nuisance, and the flasks were contaminated, and I got frustrated, so I decided to try something else.

And this is what I did:

1) I've tried a few different home-made medium recipes without much success so in the end I've settled for Sigma P-6668 as my preferred medium.

2) I prepare the growth medium like normal. Put the flasks into the pressure cooker for 10 minutes, and put them aside for a week to make sure they were not contaminated.

3) I use a plastic ice cream tub and put a layer of paper kitchen towels in the bottom. Pour over enough household bleach to soak the towel.

4) Then I take a flask, put it into the tub and open the lid. I leave the lid with the bottom facing against the kitchen towels.

5) I use a stainless steel tool from a manicure set that looks like a tiny spade, but I'm sure the tip of a kitchen knife could also work, to dig up a bit of dry, unsterilized seeds and sprinkle it over the growth medium in the flask, still standing in the ice tub.

6) Then I take a small spray bottle with a fine mist spray, not a pointed, hard spray. I've filled it up 1/4 40% hydrogen peroxide and 3/4 distilled water, making a 10% hydrogen peroxide solution. I spray 2-3 spray of mist into the flask and try to make sure all the seeds are wet with the solution.

7) Put the lid back on the flask and let it stand in strong, but indirect, sunlight.

I've done three rounds with this and have successful, uncontaminated flasks from all the trials. The success rate is not high. From six flasks the first time, I have 2 that are still doing fine. From the second round I only made four flasks and one is doing well. The third round it's still too early to tell. It was only done a month ago, and the protocorms are only starting to turn green so I've got no idea how the final germination will be yet.

orchid-propagation-177.jpg

orchid-propagation-178.jpg

orchid-propagation-179.jpg

I've realized that contamination can happen very late and very suddenly, long after the protocorms have germinated, so none of my trial flasks are out of the danger zone yet. But so far, so good.

Like I said, these are not precious seeds. They've been pollinated for the purpose of fiddling and playing around with.

I thought I'd share the experience in case there are other 'fiddlers' out there who's also struggling to befriend their glove box, and want to try something really, really simple that doesn't require any preparation at all, except the growth medium and a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide.
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