Friday, February 22, 2013

Journal February 22, 2013

Yesterday I received some olive seeds from Israel that I purchased on eBay.  The total cost of the seeds was $2.50, including delivery.  The postage on the envelope was about six dollars in Israeli currency, so I don't know how the kid made any money on the transaction.   They came in a padded envelope; and the seeds were in a small plastic bag with instructions; additionally,  the seller included a gift package of three manzanillo seeds.  Needless to say I was happy with that deal.

The variety is Barnea, a relatively new cultivar, Barnea was selected and developed by Professor Shimon Lavee in Israel. Barnea was named for the Kadesh Barnea region in which it was found, on the border between the Sinai Desert and Israel.  In addition to the Barnea, I had seeds from Turkey for Trilye olives, so I decided to spend some time today tinkering with the seeds to see if I could speed up the germination process.  I can't imagine what Mother Nature was thinking when she designed the olive seed, as they are practically indestructible.  Perhaps she intended them to be eaten and run through the digestive tract of a rhino. 

First I removed any trace of olive from the seeds and cleaned the oil from the seeds using hot water, detergent and a small brush.  Following the cleaning, I soaked the seeds in white vinegar for 10 minutes and than cleaned and dried them.  

The seeds were then rubbed on sandpaper to scarify the outer coat to weaken it.  At that point, I decided to further weaken the coat by exposing the embryo on at the radicle end of the seed.  To accomplish this I used a Dremel with a small sanding drum and carefully sanded the end until I could just see the coat surrounding the embryo.

After sanding, I soaked the seeds for a few minutes in hot water and then planted them in a tray containing perlite and coir.   Four seeds of each variety were planted on each side of the tray and I placed a small piece of plastic to mark their location so I could find them and check their progress from time to time.

This batch of seeds will be kept just slightly moist to prevent rotting, which is what happened with the first batch that I planted in November.  The tray will be placed in one of the tents, where the temperature is about 70 degrees at all times.

And, while on the subject of temperature; using LED lighting in the grow chamber in place of fluorescent lighting has an added benefit of reducing the temperature in the chamber to just slightly under 70 degrees, which is perfect for lettuce and chard.   Even though fluorescent lights run fairly cool, six tubes in an enclosed area will increase the temperature somewhat.

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