Please read text!
Australian Native Germination Accelerator Smoke Treatment
Much bigger packet of more than 30teaspoons ~150mls ~50grams at least!
Smoke infused vermiculite for use to decrease germination times of difficult to germinate plant species.
Should last most folks a few years and it doesn’t go off.
Not a big fan on using anything fancy to grow our plants, but I am a big fan of our awesome Aussie native species and I’m running a heap of trials with them at the moment.
Love to add them all to my collection, but germination of most is very erratic or unpredictable.
Due to our harsh climate and sporadic rains, bush fires and huge numbers of herbivores, the plants in OZ are designed to only sprout when conditions are good, and only a couple at a time. Spreads out the risk, but makes “farming” them very difficult.
So, there are a few things you can do.
Number 1. Cross fingers.
Just plant as per normal and wait, and wait and wait and wait, weeks, months years, decades even with some species…. Works with most, but not all species.
Number 2. Scarify.
Damage the shell of the seeds the same way bush fires, insects, flooding etc does in nature. This is a great method, for many things. Just use a knife or whatever. HWT for acacia is a great example. It doesn’t always work though, particularly with some of our rarer Solanum species like bush tomatoes.
Number 3. Gibberellic Acid-3.
Well worth a look, click the Green text above to check it out.
Number 4. Smoke.
Simulate a bush fire, just like they do in the big commercial nurseries.
Works great for many things including Trachymene, Hybanthus, Isotoma, Stipa, Phyllanthus, Johnsonia, Cyathochaeta, Waitzia, Hydrocotyle, Hemigenia, Opercularia, Eucalyptus, Kennedia, Levenhookia, Hyalosperma, Allocasuarina, Conostephium, Dampiera, Banksia, Bossiaea, Hovea, Sowerbaea, Poranthera, Melaleuca, Desmocladus, Xanthosia, Acacia, Trymalium, Adenanthos, Xanthorrhoea and literally hundreds of other species as well.
You can do this by using my awesome homemade “Australian Native Germination Accelerator Smoke Treatment”. In my trials it vastly improves germination of both target plants and hidden nearby weeds.
What that means is that if you sprinkle this stuff on the soils surface and water well, all the grasses and weeds sitting dormant, hiding in there will germinate, all at once.
Most of them anyway.
Sounds bad, but think just about it.
That means you only have to weed them once, instead of grasses coming up every few days for months on end, you can get most them all in one hit.
Awesome if you use a lot of animal manure or mulch in your soil mixes.
Makes things a lot easier in the greenhouse and there are a few commercial products based on this principle.
Ok, now you have the theory, but what is it and how do I make it?
After lots of research, I built a contraption that trapped the chemicals produced from burning straw, grass, twigs, sticks and green leafy native vegetation.(massive steel drum).
I them trapped and pumped the smoke underwater using a pump(massive drum + massive pump), and bubbled it up through a water chamber for 8hours(massive drum + massive pump + massive drum + all bloody day stuffing around + lots of swearing). Kinda like a massive industrial electric bong in theory?
The water soaked up the chemicals naturally produced by the smoke, and then I sprayed the “smoke water” onto vermiculite, again and again and again, saturating then evaporating the moisture multiple times to concentrate these chemicals.
Bit of a saga takes about a week start to finish as the vermiculite is very very absorbent.
Anyway, now the semi-moist vermiculite stinks like a bushfire, and has all the tar, ash, waxes and water soluble chemicals a bushfire naturally produces, except they have been applied as an aerosol to the vermiculite. Karrikinolide KAR(1) is the main one used commercially, but there are a few others and this stuff should have a decent mix as I made a massive batch.(it was a hassle so I didn’t want to have to do it again any time soon).
Makes it a lot easier to work with this way!
How do you use it?
I do 2 different methods depending on the seeds size and amount I have to play with.
1. Add a teaspoon of smoke vermiculite to a cup of water, add your seeds and stir well.
How long you leave them is down to how dormant you think the seeds are.
I generally do 24hrs and it works fine for most things.
After that soak I pour the seeds and sludgy water into a large pot of good soil, water well and cross my fingers.
2.The second and much more intensive method is this.
I just add 1tsp smoked vermiculite per takeaway container (or 3tsp per standard flat or tray), and I’m getting amazing results with some species, especially our native Solanum.
What I like to do is get a 1liter takeaway container, add dirt, add seeds, very fine sprinkle of sieved soil, 1tsp of smoked vermiculite, squirt of water and seal the container.
I then check it everyday(2x if possible) for shoots and if I see any I carefully move them out to pots in the greenhouse.
If after a month or so there have been no shoots, I carefully remove the top couple cm of soil and sit it aside. I dump the bottom soil into a smallish pot, breaking it up a little, sprinkle the previously sat aside topsoil back ontop(as that is where the seeds are hiding), water well and move out to the greenhouse.
About half of the ones that didn’t shoot within a month in the takeaway containers, immediately shoot once transplanted.
Most of the remaining ones shoot the next time we get a weather change, heavy rain or hot dry, some shoot many months later, some never shoot at all.
Gardening is a gamble, and some of our natives are pretty hard to get started, but hey, I’m happy to play.
Well worth having a crack at I reckon!
I make no guarantees with this stuff, and I can’t really offer any advice as I have told you pretty much everything already?
If you want to do some experiments, buy a packet, have a crack at it, let me know if you have any success.
All my latest trials included things I have had trouble with in the past, especially seeds from other suppliers or in trade that may have been stored in less than ideal conditions, or that are really scarce and are not so fresh.
When testing I normally have 1 “control” with just dirt, 1 “smoke” with dirt and smoked vermiculite, and 1 with dirt and Ga3 24hr soaked, primed seeds. See the three containers in the picture, that’s how I do it.
Three very different conditions all with very different results.
Interesting to compare them all, exciting stuff, makes me feel all high tech and sciency!