A Little Competition...

This is just a little demonstration. I make no claim that this would pass laboratory muster, but I thought you'd all be interested in these results. Enjoy!

This germination test was conducted using Delicata squash seeds from a fruit too far gone to eat, but not yet molded on the inside. Delicata is a special kind of squash that you can eat with the skin on; and that sautes up nicely in short order. The flavor is not very different from butternut - and it is one of my favorites!

While I had been warned that produce you get from the store usually offers poor results in terms of germination, I was determined to get some of these little beauties from our yard this year.

Some were placed in individual egg crate cups and given access to earth, water, and sunlight with no competition with one another. As you can see, none of these sprouted.

Some were placed in individual egg crate cups and given access to earth, water, and sunlight with no competition with one another. As you can see, none of these sprouted.

The rest were wrapped in wet toilet tissue, sealed in a plastic ziplock, and placed in a window sill. This was to simulate the natural environment of the seeds without human intervention: surrounded by wet cellulose and competing with one another for resources. 

The rest were wrapped in wet toilet tissue, sealed in a plastic ziplock, and placed in a window sill. This was to simulate the natural environment of the seeds without human intervention: surrounded by wet cellulose and competing with one another for resources. 

Quite a few of these seeds sprouted; and began to grow roots into the surrounding cellulose. The sprouting seeds grew over and around their fellows, some of which had begun to decompose and were being used to nourish the sprouts. Germination took nine days.

Quite a few of these seeds sprouted; and began to grow roots into the surrounding cellulose. The sprouting seeds grew over and around their fellows, some of which had begun to decompose and were being used to nourish the sprouts. Germination took nine days.

This bed was turned and prepared by one of our recent traveling guests. Thank you, friend; and safe journeys!

This bed was turned and prepared by one of our recent traveling guests. Thank you, friend; and safe journeys!

Worm castings were added to the top soil for nutrients. In this style of worm bin, The principle of competition as a driver of natural processes is also apparent: the worms seek upward for the more nutritious food, moving between the middle and top boxes as newer, tastier scraps are added.

Worm castings were added to the top soil for nutrients. In this style of worm bin, The principle of competition as a driver of natural processes is also apparent: the worms seek upward for the more nutritious food, moving between the middle and top boxes as newer, tastier scraps are added.

The sprouts sent roots into the cellulose, and separating these little guys without causing damage was tricky work. Our Garden Guru, Sigma, suggested paper towel as an alternative - in case any of you want to try it at home.

The sprouts sent roots into the cellulose, and separating these little guys without causing damage was tricky work. Our Garden Guru, Sigma, suggested paper towel as an alternative - in case any of you want to try it at home.

And here they are, all planted out. The middle row got the tallest, most developed seedlings and more worm castings. The front got the less developed and fewer castings. The back got the seeds that had popped their cases but had not yet developed much - and no castings. They were planted deliberately crowded with intention of culling the weakest starters. With any luck the sunny weather will hold, and these little guys will be on their way!

And here they are, all planted out. The middle row got the tallest, most developed seedlings and more worm castings. The front got the less developed and fewer castings. The back got the seeds that had popped their cases but had not yet developed much - and no castings. They were planted deliberately crowded with intention of culling the weakest starters. With any luck the sunny weather will hold, and these little guys will be on their way!

That's it for now! I'll give you an update as the season progresses to let you know how it turns out.

"Want to do something revolutionary?

Grow food."

~Sigma, the Sigma Project