Sunday, April 29, 2018

Journal April 29, 2018 - Orchids from seeds day 10

It was not my imagination, just overnight I can now see green in the flasks.  Hopefully, all will continue without any contamination. 

To minimize the risk of contamination forming I have placed the flasks in my makeshift hood.  For lighting, I am using a CFL, 6500K about 13 watts with a photoperiod of 18 hours.  Additionally, I have a heat mat under the bottom of the hood to maintain a warm environment during the evening hours.

Above is the parent plant, a Phalaenopsis I purchased at Aldis on special for $7.99.  It is really a magnificent plant with beautifully colored flowers. The plant has not flowered since it was pollinated, however, since the pods have matured it has begun producing a flower spike.  

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Journal April 26, 2018 - Orchids from seeds day 9

Well, here it is day nine and, knock on wood, there is no contamination.  Something is going on, though I am not sure of what it is.

There are clumps forming and it may be my imagination but they seem to have a green cast to them.  Green is good!!

As I understand the process orchid seeds do not germinate like other seeds, but form protocorms.  That looks very much like what is going on, but only time will tell.

What is a procorm you ask?  The merriam-webster definition follows:

"Definition of protocorm. 1 : a tuber-shaped body with rhizoids that is produced by the young seedlings of various orchids and some other plants having associated mycorrhizal fungi. [prot- + -corm (from New Latin cormus)] : the part of an insect embryo posterior to the protocephalon."


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Journal April 21, 2018 - Orchids from seeds, day 4

Day 4 photo of the first batch of dry seeds and so far all is well.  There is no sign of any germination, but, there is no sign of contamination either.

The photo illustrates how many seeds are in a few drops of liquid and just how tiny orchid seeds really are.

Regardless of the outcome, this is going to be an interesting project.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Journal April 19, 2018 - Starting orchid seeds, part 2

There were still seeds left from my previous seed starting project, and considering that they are only viable for a few weeks I decided to brew up a batch of my own media to experiment with.

The media used in my previous post was purchased from a lab in Arizona.  It is specifically for orchids and contains, of all things, charcoal.

Using the dash spoon in the top photo, I carefully placed the seeds as far into the syringe as possible and slowly forced the plunger to the bottom to expel the air without blowing the seeds right out of the syringe.  The seeds were sterilized by drawing 3 ml. of hydrogen peroxide into the syringe and agitating and soaking the seeds for 15 minutes.

The recipe for my experimental media:

7.5 oz. distilled water
.5 oz. coconut water
.25 ml PPM (optional)
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cap Inositol  (all three vitamins are also optional)
1 tablet vitamin B
1 tablet vitamin D
1 drop Super Thrive (optional)
2 dash of agar  (dash measuring spoon)

Agar will not dissolve in cold water, so I heated the mixture in the microwave before stirring to dissolve the agar.

The media was then poured into baby food jars, capped and processed in a pressure cooker for 22 minutes at 15 psi.

 When the media had cooled and gelled the seeds, under sterile conditions, were dispensed onto the media, a few drops per jar.  

If you intend to try this I suggest you research home tissue culture techniques before starting. Although it is possible to do this at home, there is also a high probability of contamination and failure.

I should add that I have found that sealing the lids with 3M Microspore surgical tape is absolutely the best of the best when it comes to sealing the jars.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Journal April 17, 2018 - Starting orchid seeds.

While watering the orchids I noticed that one of the seed pods on the Phalaenopsis orchid had split open, which says they are ready to be started.  The remaining pod was still sort of green and intact, so I decided to try both dry seed flasking and green pod flasking.

Although there is a great probability of contamination with both methods, the green pod route is said to have a lesser chance of contamination, as the seeds in the unopened pod are assumed to be sterile.  Yeah, we'll see.

Above is what real orchid seeds look like, don't sneeze or your will blow them away.

These are scam orchid seeds sold by both Amazon and eBay, don't waste your money on these.

The dry seeds were placed in a syringe containing 3% hydrogen peroxide and soaked and agitated for 10 minutes.  I used 3 ml. of solution total for 4 flasks.

Before soaking the green pod I removed all loose material but left the pod intact.

The pod was soaked and agitated in 100% bleach for thirty minutes, then dipped in Isopropyl Alcohol for ten seconds.

In both instances the seeds are placed in flasks containing sterile media under sterile conditions.

The flasks have been sealed and will be kept warm with a 16 hour photoperiod under flourescent light.

If any of these seeds, and there are probably several thousand of them, germinate, no one will be more surprised than me.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Journal April 15, 2018 - Phalaenopsis pod finally ripens.

After a wait of almost nine months, the Phalaenopsis pod has ripened.  I noticed today when I was about to water the plant that the pod had split open indicating that it had finally ripened.
The seed has been separated from the fluff surrounding it and will be stored in a plastic bag until I mix the media to start it.
The seed is nothing like the rip-off seed that is sold on eBay.  The seed is more like flour than seed, as you can see from the photo.

After purchasing both Phalaenopsis and other orchid seed on both eBay and Amazon and being ripped off I thought I would post a photo of the real deal for comparison.

I did receive a refund for the times I received fake seeds and reported the sellers on both sites. In each instance I was told that the sellers would be removed, however, they are still to this day selling fake orchid seed, so caveat emptor.

Real Phalaenopsis seed shown above.

Scam seeds sold on Amazon.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Journal April 9, 2018 - A very cold spring so far.

The Times-Union said that this would be the first day since spring began that we did not get snow in one form or the other, but we will be getting some tomorrow.

I left the olives and cymbidium in the greenhouse through these last cold nights with the electric heater set for 45 degrees on a timer from 9 to 9 and everything is fine. The lowest temperature in the greenhouse was recorded last night when it hit 35,  while the outside temperature was only 20.

Today it is only in the low 40s with a slight wind, but the sun is out and the greenhouse is well above 70 so I am putting the seedlings in the greenhouse for an hour or so to begin acclimating them.  Just a few days under the LED grow light and dome has done wonders for them.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Journal April 5, 2018 - This year's seed starts.

It seems damn silly to be starting seeds with snow still in the forecast, but hope springs eternal.  The cold weather and major snow storms one after another are probably the main reason I got a real late start on seed starting this year.

For some reason, people tend to give me seeds to try, so I have unknown seeds from Italy from the postman, Italian tomatoes Redorta and Cour di Bur from a surveyor who was working near by, New Yorkers from a dog groomer, and Hungarian peppers from I don't remember who. The staple variety for my greenhouse is Tropic, so I have mostly planted those. 

If you have not already done so, check out the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide on your plants, you will be glad you reasearched it.

The photo above was taken while hiking at the Grafton Lakes State Park last week.  My walking stick is about 5 feet in length and as you can see I was standing on at least two feet of snow while taking the photo.