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Old March 26, 2017   #1
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Zone 6
Posts: 62
Default Differences in sprouting time between varieties.

I started 3-6 seeds per variety of 10 different tomato, plus 4 each of 4 varieties of peppers. Also about 15 cauliflower. Paper towel in bag germination method. Of those:

Cauliflower sprouted immediately at nearly 100%.
Peppers have been sluggish - some varieties are ~90%, others closer to 60%. No supplemental heat and temp is in the 60's, so that makes some sense.
Three of the ten tomatoes have a near 100% germ rate. Including 4-5 year old seed.
Most of the others are up in the 85-90% range.

But two of my four cherry varieties are absolutely reluctant. Same method, same conditions, new seeds. 1 in 6 sprouted in about 14 days from one and 0 of 4 in 7 days of the other.

I'm jumping the gun and imagine a warmer situation would help. Putting my anecdote per variety below:

Ferry Morse (older) - ~90% - 3 days
Cherokee Purple - about 90% - 7 days
Green Zebra - 100%, 7-14 days
Early Girl - near 100%, 5-7 days
Lucid Gem - 2/2 - 7 days
Black Beauty - 1/2 - 7 days
Barry's Crazy - 0/4 - 7 days
Husky Cherry Red - 90% - 7 days
Fox Cherry - (1/4) - 14 days
Black Vernissage - 100% - 3 days

Will update as things progress. Any suggestions appreciated.
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Old March 26, 2017   #2
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MA/NH Border
Posts: 4,562

I start a lot of different varieties and see the same range of germination times -- if the conditions are right, they'll come up when they're ready.

The all time slowest germinator for me every year I grow it is Seek No Further Love Apple. Most others come up in five to seven days. SNFLA can take more than 14. I've learned to not give up until at least three weeks have passed.
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Old March 28, 2017   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: California
Posts: 262

I'm having some issues too. I started 27 varieties on March 13. Twenty three were up in less than a week.

Ten days later I have four varieties struggling:

Brandywine Yellow, platfoot strain - 1/4 up today
Sart Roloise - 1/4 up today, with the seed cap on
Red Viper Dwarf - 0
Lithium Sunset - 0

I'm not quite sure what to make of it, since the others came up so quickly.
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Old March 31, 2017   #4
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 360

I came on the site today looking for a thread like this. Last week I started 23 varieties, 6-40 seeds per, dense planting in a 50 cell johnny tray with lid and pretty well distributed bottom heat. Temp was set at 75 with a thermostat. I took the lid off when I started seeing multiple sprouts 2 days back and temp is down to about 72F, with light air flow from fan.

The 23 tomatoes are not on the outer ring of cups, so the inner 8x3 grid is tomatoes with 1 empty. I built a box that holds 3 10x20 trays, with two heat mats in the box. The box is actually two old dresser drawers screwed together. The heat is pretty uniform due to depth of box, and this tray is in the middle position.

19 of the 23 have greater than 50% germination after 1 week.

Sunsugar is still 0/12.
Stump of world seed I saved is 0/20. (only one I saved that has not jumped out of its seed coat)
Danceing with Smurfs from trade last year is 0/10.
Eva's purple Ball from trade last year is 1/8.
Black Cherry (2011) is 2/30.

I guess I should replant now, but I figure as soon as I do they will sprout.

BTW - Lithium Sunset from trade last year marked 2014 is 8/7 LOL. I miscounted there at least once. No lagging behind of that variety.

CORRECTION: 5 laggards, added black cherry.
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Old March 31, 2017   #5
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Zone 6
Posts: 62

Funny you mentioned it, I added stump of the world to my future to-grow list. My cherry tomatoes have been the worst germinators this year.
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Old March 31, 2017   #6
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 360

It is hard to tell the difference once they are off the plant between brandywine, mortgage lifter, stump, cuostralee. All big, red, good.

I must have misplaced a big bag of saved seeds. I think all the seeds I found from last year were marked 8/8/16. There must be a lot more around. Though admittedly my single stump of the world plant did not put out that many tomatoes last year. Iit is possible the bag I found is the only seed I have for stump.

Last edited by JRinPA; March 31, 2017 at 05:41 PM.
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Old April 1, 2017   #7
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 637

I had a similar experience with pre-sprouting on paper toweling this year. 3 seeds within 36 hours! Some didn't sprout for 2 weeks, thought I'd killed them with too much heat. My mat has no thermostat.

So I started with more seeds. Left them in the baggies without the heat mat. Didn't throw the original ones out. Of course many the original seeds that I started on March 6 sprouted as well as the new ones! Some took 3 weeks, but the same seeds started at room temperatures took only 7. Go figure.

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Old April 1, 2017   #8
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NewYork 5a
Posts: 1,906

I don't use bottom heat for tomatoes unless it is very cold in the sprouting room. Like 50-55.
My room is 62-65 and good temp i think. Heat causes them to bolt. I don't think it does much for germination. I follow Craig and Brad Gates method. Brad does not like bottom heat and mentions very shallow planting, half a pencil eraser depth. Any more will slow
things down by a few days.

I have one tray where GreenTiger, three cells, dense planting, shot up in 24hours. A few more varieties in 36hous but most are way behind. Keeping the tray damp and cool, lid off, will let the rest catch up. (hopefully)
A try started a few days earlier has worked out so far. All but three cells are up. I spot
water them with a fine mister of water. (the blank cells to keep them moist). If i get zero germination from those i will p-towel if they are a really wanted variety....
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Old April 1, 2017   #9
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Upstate NY, zone 4b/5a
Posts: 20,583

(Eva's purple Ball from trade last year is 1/8.)

I don't want to be accused of being picky here BUT if I could find the person who first added the apostrophe to the first word, we could have,well,an intersting talk, I'm sure.

Here is the real name that Joe Bratka gave it.

There were three family heirlooms that Joe's parents brought to the US when they came to the US.

Marizol Gold
Marizol Purple
Eva Purple Ball.

The word Marizol is a contraction of what the variety was known as in Germany, as in Maria's Zell, meaning Maria's village which was and is in the Black Forest in Germany. I found out that from a German lady I was teaching at the time.

It was Joe's father who bred the very popular ones

Mule Team
Box Car Willie
Red Barn
Great Divide
Lady Luck

After his parents died Joe had the house and when he looked in the tool shed he saw glass bottles with seeds and a note saying what his father had named them. He couldn't germinate them so sent the seeds to me.I was able to germinate the ones listed but there were 4 others I could not germinate at all,I always wondered what they would have been like, and all I can remember is that one had the word meadow.

Yes,I knew Joe very well, he died a few years ago.

But before that he decided that if folks really wanted heirloom varieties he would breed them,he did,and gave them fictious backgrounds.I was really mad when he was offering something called Purple Brandywine, there is no such variety,he knew it as well. And I convinced him to call it Marizol Bratka,since Marizol Purple was one of the parents.

The problem was that Joe had already distributed seeds he named Purple Brandywine which has caused much confusion..

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to go back quite a few years to events of the past.

Carolyn, who almost forgot to say that Joe had many other varieties on his list that had nothing to do with his family, I can only remember one right now

He participated in seed offerings and trades with two magazines,who had those sections back then,they were National Gardening and Organic Gardening.
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Old April 1, 2017   #10
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: SC & NC
Posts: 257

Hi Carolyn,
Great story. Really enjoy reading your reminisces. You have probably forgotten more than I know about tomatoes. Could spend valuable time with you just listening to your stories! Thank You!
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Old April 1, 2017   #11
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 360

Originally Posted by oakley View Post
I don't use bottom heat for tomatoes unless it is very cold in the sprouting room. Like 50-55.
It is 55 or so in the basement, so I really like this setup with the bottom heat. It keeps the uncovered trays about 63 with thermostat probe under the plastic dome at 75. They are up now so I rotated the tomato tray off the heat and put pepers and eggplants back in that spot. Without heat the tomato starts should settle to about 55, maybe 58 daytime with lights.

My stump seed showed themselves today, about 15 of 20 popped up and bench-pressed off a clump of mix. Eva purple ball is now up to 6/8. That older black cherry seed now has 7/30.

Still no sunsugar or smurfs. Maybe some cherries do take longer. Of the seven cherry varieties I started, four jumped right up, the old black cherry seed took a while to get going, and nothing yet from the above two. I can't really risk waiting any longer, so I replanted sunsugar today from a different seed source. Hopefully both plantings come in - every one of those would get put in the ground somewhere.
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Old April 5, 2017   #12
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Zone 6
Posts: 62

Germination rate on all my cherries now converged with the rest of the pack. What a difference a week makes.
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Old April 6, 2017   #13
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 360

My second batch of sunsugars are starting to sprout - 5/16 emerging loops this morning. Still nothing from that first source of sunsugar seed, or the smurferific ones. I have to guess bad seeds.
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