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Frann Leach

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Organic Gardening:

What is seed stratification?


Stratification is a process which mimics the onset of Winter, followed by the Spring thaw. It is used to break the dormancy of some seeds which use the changing temperatures as a signal to "wake up" before they will germinate.

You may sometimes come across the instruction "stratify seed" when you are reading the back of a seed packet or a grower's manual. Although you may never have done this before, it's not that difficult; all you need is:

  1. the seeds,
  2. some sharp sand or peat,
  3. a freezer or a refrigerator with an ice compartment, and
  4. a plastic container with a lid (or you can use tinfoil if you do not have a lid).

Here is the basic method for stratifying seeds:

Different seeds may have slightly different requirements, but most will respond to this method with minor modifications as to timing.

Stratification may sound "techy" but really it's as easy as (frozen) pie!

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