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Nan_PA_6b April 29, 2018 09:32 PM

Pre-soaking... how long?


KarenO April 29, 2018 09:35 PM

[QUOTE=Nan_PA_6b;697654]Pre-soaking... how long?
For old seed?
I had a long thread regarding my 15 year old Zena’s gift seeds and diluted peroxide.

Nan_PA_6b April 29, 2018 09:57 PM

Not necessarily old, just to prevent helmets.


KarenO April 29, 2018 10:24 PM

If the seed is fresh then should be no need. Try planting the seed a bit deeper in moist mix. The seed coat should come off on the way out of the soil. Too shallow, too dry = more than normal share of seeds emerging with their seed coats still on. I personally have a theory, untested, that heat mats can contribute to the problem by making the seedlings pop up so fast there is no time for the seed coat to soften thouroughly. Tomato seeds sprout very well without bottom heat.

SueCT April 29, 2018 10:53 PM

Well, I seem to be getting more of them as my seed gets older. I had more stubborn ones this year than I ever had before. I just transplanted 50 seedlings into solo cups today and found some with a set of true leaves and the cotyledons were still fused by a helmet head underneath the true leaves. So, even if they never come apart, they will still produce true leaves. I seperated them anyway, but I wasn't worried about damaging the cotyledons anymore since they also had true leaves. Makes it easier when you aren't as worried about it, lol.

Nan_PA_6b April 30, 2018 09:40 AM

Thanks for the hope of a good outcome, Sue!


JRinPA May 4, 2018 09:33 PM

Good thread. Cotton balls, spit, depth, and heat mats. It makes a lot of sense.

I call it stuck seed coat.

Nan_PA_6b May 4, 2018 09:47 PM

The Ramallet Ibiza Blanca I removed the helmet of, is still hanging in there. The cots don't look normal but have expanded a bit. Best of all, a second Ibiza Blanca sprouted --but with a helmet head, of course.


mobiledynamics May 30, 2018 12:22 PM

The helmet heads eventually found a will to grow. Planted one in container, and one in ground. I kept a 3rd one as a backup, in the container, planted on the very edge of the pot. It outgrew and dwarfed 2X the one in the ground. Seeing as it was so healthy, I found a planting spot for a 3rd one.

Nan_PA_6b May 30, 2018 01:21 PM

I had to do major surgery on 2 helmets this year, same species (Ramallet Ibiza Blanca). Both struggled for a long time. One lived and is finally becoming robust after months; the other died.


Tormato June 1, 2018 02:12 PM

6 year old seed is where I start seeing helmet heads.

GreenThumbGal_07 June 6, 2018 01:10 AM

I ended up with "beheaded" seedlings from Yellow Cookie and Brown Berry, both "packed for 2018." In each case the seed sprouted and came up as a stump -- the cotyledon and its coat buried in the planting mix. I used Jiffy peat pellets and maybe they weren't as friable a medium as they should have been.

Yellow Cookie planted in loose planting mix still came up as a "helmet head" and I will be patient with this little one. I've read here that spit will loosen the seed coat. I wonder if glycerine would work also?

The weirdest "helmet head" seedling was one from Cornue des Andes (planted in a Jiffy peat pellet). The seedling looked like a little green worm and was growing sideways rather than up. Upon closer inspection I noticed that in the effort to grow (I hadn't touched it) the seed head had split from the rooted portion, so the plant was now composed of a blind stump and a "helmet head" seedling broken off. HOWEVER the seedling, in its struggle, had managed to send forth a tiny root.

I took this "helmet head" half, gently liberated it from its seed coat, and planted it in loose mix with some dianthus starts. Now its little compacted cotyledons are beginning to unfurl and its stem is starting to straighten out. I hope it makes it.

Nan_PA_6b June 6, 2018 01:18 AM

Wow, that is one seedling with a powerful will to live!


Groundhog June 6, 2018 09:17 PM

This has been an interesting thread for me. I've always started my seeds in the 9 oz. size Solo cups and have never had a helmet head. I had plenty of seeds left from my Mule Teams so I tried a little experiment. I planted 6 cups of 3 seeds each in the little 2 oz. cups, 3/4 full and placed them on a heat mat. I got 18 helmet head plants. I don't know what it proves but I know I'll stick to my bigger cups from now on.

Nan_PA_6b June 6, 2018 09:40 PM

Groundhog, how deep do you plant your seed? And do you think you planted them the same depth in the 9 oz & 2 oz cups?

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