All about seeds

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Can you tell me if there is a book that teaches you how to recognize seeds, how to collect seeds, how to clean seeds, how to store seeds, pictures of seeds and seedpods, longevity of seeds, sowing seeds, etc.
If there is a book that is helpfull, please tell me the title and author.
If you can’t find a book about seeds, please tell me what you want to learn about seeds.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Hi, Jonna,
You have already got the best references in Maggi's response to your question at the SRGC site. The other (perhaps only), extremely important one to add is Dr. Norm Deno's 3 volumes on Seed Germination. (This resource doesn't seem to be as well known in Europe.)
If you are planning to compile this info somehow (you said you may write a book), it is very important that you distinguish the huge amount of anecdotal info (such as the majority of what one finds in DG threads on seed germination and storage) from scientifically-tested conclusions and info from extremely experienced and knowledgeable people. In many DG threads, people post their experience based on one seed-starting attempt, with no repetition in different seed batches and no comparison to other methods, and yet put forth "conclusions" that other people jump on.
I was shown a book on seed-starting methods a few years ago, which was full of anecdotal nonsense. (E.g. "Store seeds of this species in fridge overnight prior to planting"; for another species, it was advised to put dry seeds in the fridge for 2 nights!) One needs to be careful not to fall into this trap.
altagardener

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

altagardener, thank you so much for your reply. Your comments are really helpful.
I still don't know if I will write a book. I have to investigate all the links I got, order some books to see if I can really add something new. Because I have no scientific background I will only tell about my experiences or give links to useful websites. Will show a lot of pictures, If I'm going to write a book it will be for starters, people who are starting a garden for the first time and don't know how to do that. Once I was a starter myself and it was very hard to find all the answers to my questions, so that will be my starting point.
I know I will never be able to discuss all plants, there are too many, so I will make it clear that I live in zone 6 and my book will be only helpful to people who live in zone 4-8.
I do not have the intention to write a scientifial book, only a book for starters that contains all the questions I had when I started.
I think I have enough experience to tell people how to germinate certain types of seeds. I will only use some real checked scientifical info (about storing seeds), but will mainly tell people how my seeds are stored and their longevity. I almost never put my seeds in the freezer.
Jonna

CREZIERES, France(Zone 8a)

You can download Deno's wonderful work free as it is now in the public domain. You can access them here.... http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41278

and

http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41279

and

http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/catalog/41277

you should also visit this site

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/save-seed-prosper/millennium-seed-bank/saving-seeds-worldwide/saving-seeds-at-the-seed-bank/index.htm

which shows how seeds are professionally stored.

The scientific professionals have decided that seeds must be dry and cold to be stored for maximum viability.... I for one wouldn't like to try to contradict that.

Also note that the seeds of many, if not most, alpine species are naturally 'stored' at below freezing temperatures during the winter....

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Thank you cinemike for your reply.
I already have Deno's wonderful work on my computers since 2 years, but thanks anyway for the links.
I had a look at the kew.org link. And yes, I know the professional way to store seeds is the best, but IF I'm going to write a book it will be for beginners, so no scientific approach, just the basics of seed collecting, drying, cleaning, storing, longevity, sowing seeds, winter sowing, etc. Also I will tell people about hybrids that often do not come true and often are sterile. There is no beginner that can measure the humidity of the dried seeds and even for people with more knowledge, that will be very difficult. I know there are a lot of books about these subjects, but until now I didn't find a book for beginners that discusses that all and ALSO have pictures of the plant, the seedpod and the seeds.
I will not use info from other books, just my experience. My experience is being a beginner once and knowing what other beginners want to know. And because I sow about 400 different species each year, I think I can give some advise to beginners.
But thank you so much for your input. I will evaluate all replies and all links this winter. After that I will decide what I will do.

Jonna

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

I'm curious about some of your statements.
One is that hybrids are often sterile. I was taught a hundred years ago in Grade 6 science class that interspecific hybrids are supposed to be sterile, but among plants, I find that exceptions to that "rule" are common. Have you kept records that would allow you to say how many interspecific hybrids you've found to be sterile?
Why do you say your book would only be helpful to people in zones 4 through 8?

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

altagardener, I do not speak about 'natural' hybrids, they are seldom sterile.
I talk about hybrids that are grown by breeders. I did buy some plants when I started my garden and I did get some plants as a gift. Most of these are sterile. I can't remember all the names, because I banned most of them from my garden, but here are a few that are really sterile:
- Coreopsis verticillata 'moonbeam'
- Anthemis tinctoria E 'C. Buxton'
- Verbascum, Southern Charm Hybrid
- Ligularia przewalskii, I don't know the cultivar name, but it never set seed in 8 years
- Dicentra formosa - I don't know the cultivar name, but it never sets seeds. 2 years ago I grow some plants from seed, and they do set seed. The leaves look very different, so next year I want to pull out all the cultivars.
Well, I can go on making a longer list, but I hope you believe me when I tell you that there are a lot of hybrids (grown by breeders) that are sterile.

Because I'm in zone 6, I think I can show plants, seeds, seedpods, etc. that also grow in zone 4-8. Some of the plants I can grow here also can be grown in lower of higher zones, but not all, that's why I think it will be mainly helpfull for people in these zones.

Well, thank you for your input. And if you can give me more info, I would love that. I only want to write a book if it's useful. But do not forget, it will be only for starters, it will be not scientifical.

Kind regards,

Jonna

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Some the plants that you are referring to as "hybrids" are really just selections, that is, non-hybrid plants that were selected for (mainly) flower colour and given cultivar names.
It's interesting that you've found a selection of Anthemis tinctoria that does not seed for you - I find this species and the original cultivars I bought years ago to be very heavy self-seeders (with viable seed, needless to add). I've found that the interspecific hybrid Verbascum cultivars I've bought are also extremely fertile. Another notable example I can think of an interspecific hybrid that is supposed to be infertile is Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle" - however, I find seedlings from it every year. Interesting information to ponder...

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Jonna ~ I must be dreaming...- Verbascum 'Southern Charm' Hybrid, for me has seeded all over the place. I don't know how many plants I have now, but I just started with one plant many years ago.

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Very strange that some of the same hybrids do set seed in other gardens. I think they must be another selection. I have no other explanation for it.

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