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Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

Posted by runswithscissors MT 4/5 (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 12:37

I posted this message on the Pumpkin and Gourd Forum but that message board doesn't seem to get much traffic....

I also did a search but couldn't find specific help.
I germinate all my melon, gourd seeds using the paper towel method...with nearly 100% success rate....

....except with these three gourds. Every year I have a tough time with Bushel, and this is the first year I'm trying dippers and snakes.

Here's what I do, as advised by a nurseryman: I soak the seed overnight, then nick the sides. Then put it in the papertowel on a heat mat at 84 degrees F. It has been 3 weeks and the seeds still have not broken dormancy, although they are still very firm.

Does anyone have a suggestion - perhaps GA3 or peroxide or some secret family trick?

They are this year's lot, and I'm trying 6 of each to ensure at least one or two are viable.

The plantsman at Baker Seed said to put them in peat moss....I guess that is their magic trick. (?)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 13:06

I soak the seed overnight, then nick the sides. Then put it in the papertowel on a heat mat at 84 degrees F.

I assume they were soaked in warm water and that the paper towel is kept wet and is in a plastic bag? If not it should be. But directly on the heat mat can cook them too. And how did you nick them?

3 weeks isn't all that long IME it often takes a month or more but I agree that doing them in peat cell packs works best. Keeps them uniformly moist.


RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

After soaking I would plant them like in a cup of potting soil.
Some people even score/file/sand the seeds for ease of germination. Some gourd seeds are VERY tough.

RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

This is weird...I answered....and now the follow-up message is here it is again. (now it might show up as a double post.)

Dave - yes, I do the paper-towel method the standard way. Wet towel with ph 6.5 water, placed in a baggy. Then the baggy placed on a hand towel, on top of a germination heat mat set at 84.

To nick the seeds I take a sharp knife and gently make a little cut on each side until I just barely see white underneath.

Really? 3 weeks is not very long? This surprises me because all of my other gourds (speckeld swan, daisy, crown of thorns, nigerian, fancy wing, egg, ect) take only 4 days to germinate. (Bottle gourds take a week).

I'll try shoving the seeds in a cell-pack and see if indeed the peat moss is the magic bullet.


RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

This is just a theory, so TIFWIW.

In the natural order of things, seeds get eaten by an animal, they pass through the digestive system, dry out, and wait for the next monsoon season. Some seeds (e.g., bird peppers and pyracantha) will not sprout until they have gone through a bird.

If you have extra seeds and you feel like experimenting, try soaking the seed in an acid solution for a couple days, let them dry out, and then plant as usual. (Muriatic acid is produced by the stomach.)

Or if you have a big dog...

Here is a link that might be useful: seeds and digestion

RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

Terry, What an interesting idea!

As a matter of fact I have a lab, that loves to chew on gourds and I see the seeds in his poop all the time.

I think I'm going to try out your theory. Not really looking forward to picking the seeds back out of the poop, but Bo would be more than happy to swallow them whole for me so long as I poke them in a treat.

If this might be genius!

RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

I planted snake gourd more than 3 weeks ago and they have not germinated. I was starting to wonder too. So, couple of days ago I planted some new seeds. This time I took nail clippers, to the unsoaked dry seed and chipped off the sides of the seeds almost down to the inner seed and planted them. I will know in a few days.

The bitter gourd germinated only 5 days ago (almost 3 weeks too).

On the other hand, the smaller seeds of Waltham butternut and Cusha germinated in less than a week.

RE: Bushel, Dipper and Snake gourds.

I'm bringing this thread back to the top because I wanted to give an update.

I think you guys are right. The trick is germinating them in peat moss. (Perhaps there is some sort of chemical reaction or microbial reaction that aids the process.) I took the seeds that had been in paper towels (not sprouting) and shoved them into cell packs with peat moss and put them back on the heat mat. Within a couple of weeks they were all sprouted.

Still have not tried the dog-do-do-method yet...but plan to.

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