Growing Season 2004
Germination results
08/09/05 @ 1300

Here in Delaware we have had strange weather this summer. After a wet spring, it has  been hot and dry. Today we had a light rain, the first in several weeks, and the temperature was finally down into the 8os. The ground here is baked like adobe.

  • Wisteria - all 72 of my seeds germinated; I have been trying to give the away, and have plans to plant some of them at my house this fall.

  • Ginkgo - finally, good success rate at germinating. I gathered last fall from  my usual site, and did nothing different this year, except that I got the seeds into pots a little earlier than usual. Maybe that was all it took. I have about 70 little guys here. 

  • Pawpaw - I was worried about these gift seeds, but of 9 seeds I have 4 little seedlings, 2 on the way, and 2 seeds still in the pots. 

  • Kentucky coffeetree - good success, as usual.

  • Osage orange - as usual, all the seeds germinated. 

  • Goldenrain tree - what a year for these trees here in Wilmington. The green seed pods are visible everywhere in the city, mostly on trees that I never noticed before. We had a very harsh winter the year before last, with lots of salt on the streets, and I think that stunted a lot of the street trees. Many of them have recovered this year. My seedlings are doing very well, and I have several good-sized trees growing that I planted growing here. 

  • "Mystery" oaks - nothing.

  • Mountain ash - nothing.

  • Persimmon - nothing. 

  • Poncirus - Hardy Orange - good success with these guys this year. 

  • Sawtooth oaks - what a great year for these guys. After 2 years of no luck, I collected from a different tree, one just up the road from my plant, and what a difference. I put about 20 seeds in a planter box and left them out over the winter. All of these rotted away. I put a second batch in a ziploc bag with moist perlite, and by April had about 30 little sprouts. A third batch was just in a plastic bag, and most of them sprouted also.

Planting Day 4
05/01/2005 @ 0900

The fourth day of seeds included:

  1. Osage Orange - I planted a whole tray of these bad boys, mainly because I still have ideas of planting a living fence around our property here at Trees from Seeds. As I have mentioned several times, the soil around here is very poor, so I am looking for something that can thrive in hard-packed clay. I had pretty good success with the osage oranges I planted last year.

Here is the diagram of the Day 4 planting trays. Be sure to see the page for each individual seed type to learn more.

Planting Day 3
04/29/2005 @ 0900

The third day of seeds included:

  1. Hardy Orange - see Planting Day 1.  

  2. Catalpa - I found these seeds while walking to the NCC library, on Foulk Rd. I like these trees because they are somewhat hardy here at the plant, even with the clay soil we have. 

  3. Mystery cherry - I do not know what these seeds are, but they looked like rotten cherry seeds when I pulled them out of my holding area to plant. The label on the bag was lost, so these really are a mystery, since I can't remember where I got them. 

  4. Honey Locust - these are from a large thorned tree at the foot of Augustine Cut-off. I collected these last fall; the previous year there were no pods. Who needs those civilized thornless hybrids? These are pretty hardy trees here at my plant, even planted in the clay/brick mixture that passes for soil.

  5. Mystery Oak - these were collected in West Virginia by my buddy Ken. I couldn't ID them from the acorns alone, and they are pretty dry. I don't know if they will germinate.

  6. Mountain Ash - these I collected from a rest stop while hiking in Washington State last year. Unfortunately, they are pretty moldy. I grew several mountain ashes while I lived in Seattle; they do very well in that moist climate. I don't know if these will germinate.

Here is the diagram of the Day 3 planting trays. Be sure to see the page for each individual seed type to learn more.

Planting Day 2
04/24/2005 @ 0900

The second day of seeds included:

  1. Goldenrain tree - these seeds I collected on Guyencourt Rd, in Brandywine Valley. I was on scenic drive last fall when I spotted these at the end of a driveway next to the street. Very large tree. 

  2. Scholar tree - these I found on Baynard Boulevard, in front of a house where a friend used to live. I have never tried seeds from this particular tree before, so I am not assured of success. Some of the trees where I usually collect on Broom St were cut down last year.

  3. Wisteria -  not really a tree (at least this variety), but I have plans for an arbor in my backyard. These seeds I collected from a pergola at Bellevue  State Park, where I also have found a good supply of Kentucky coffeetree. Wisteria is a good "starter" seed - they are ridiculously easy to germinate: just hold them over the winter, and stuff them in the ground. No scarification needed. 

Here is the diagram of the Day 2 planting trays. Be sure to see the page for each individual seed type to learn more.

I also built a little greenhouse here to germinate my hot pepper seeds. I build a 4-foot by 18-inch wooden frame, about 18 inches high, and hung a fluorescent fixture from it. I also wired in a standard incandescent bulb for heating. I just stuck the planting trays underneath, covered the whole rig in plastic, and checked and watered daily. I bought most of my seeds from Pepper Joe's on the internet (this is not an endorsement, just FYI). Here is the 2005 Hot Pepper Planting guide.

Planting Day 1
04/23/2005 @ 1400
As usual, I plant in the standard seed trays, 6 by 12, that you can buy at any home store. These have a plastic lid to make a "greenhouse" to keep the trays from drying out until the sprouts get more than about 2" high. I held the trays inside for a week or so, until the weather improved a little, and I could get my planters set up (they were flooded out after the wet spring.)

The first tray of seeds included:

  1. Paw-Paw -  these seeds were sent to me by a fan in the midwest, who collected these last fall. (I later moved these to 6" pots, when I read more about them and realized that they want to send down a long tap root.)

  2. Persimmon - I collected these fruits last fall while walking to the library. Unfortunately, I thought the seeds would survive the winter if I just held the fruits in a plastic ziplock as I do the osage orange. When I came to plant, everything was mush. I salvaged a few seeds (I think) and planted them, but I do not think they will germinate. As the athletes always say, " year..."

  3. Sawtooth oak - I have been trying for 3 years to grow some of these, and this year was successful. I collected from a large tree near my plant, and treated the seeds three ways. Some I just put into a plastic bag (these germinated over the winter); some I put in moist perlite (these germinated), and some I planted in a planter and held outside the entire winter. These all rotted away. 

  4. Poncirus trifoliata - last year's mystery seed. The plants I kept in pots from last year did not survive the winter; this year I will try again, and get them into larger pots before the freeze. The plants in the ground are not visibly dead yet, but they are in poor soil and might not make it.

  5. Kentucky coffeetree - these are so easy to grow, and so much fun, that I have to plant some every year. I held them in the pods over the winter, then cut into the seeds with a hacksaw (about a  millimeter or so)  before planting. 

  6. Ginkgo - a whole tray of these. My luck with germinating them is still very poor.  

Here is the diagram of the Day 1 planting trays. Be sure to see the page for each individual seed type to learn more.

Seed Collecting for 2005
02/26/2005 @ 1400

My seed collecting started a few months ago, with help from friends and readers who either sent me seeds, or directed me to a new tree.  So far I have collected:

Kentucky coffeetree
sawtooth oak
Eastern redbud
osage orange
poncirus trifoliata (hardy orange)
Northern catalpa
Chinese scholartree

Welcome to 2005!
02/25/2005 @ 1000

We had about 6" of snow here at Trees From Seeds last night, but the sun is out and the snow is melting off pretty quickly.  This year looks to be interesting, with some new seeds and another try at some old favorites. There might be a physical move of my operation, as our plant and property might be up for sale, but I will be growing anyway. I'm not looking forward to transplanting all the trees I have planted around the plant, but if the move goes through they will be bulldozed. 

Here is the official state of the planting beds today:



Welcome to "The 2005 Growing Season," the story of the 2005 Trees from Seeds growing season. This column will provide you with a regular update on the status of this year's crop of tree seedlings.

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Last updated: 01/08/2008 03:32:00 PM