How To Make a Cheap "Light Box" for Sorting Seeds: "Light Box" for Sorting Seeds

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How To Make a Cheap "Light Box" for Sorting Seeds

By Joebass
October 12, 2014

Do you have seeds that can be candled to check for viability? Make a cheap light box that is customizable and will get the job done!

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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Oct 11, 2014 6:36 PM CST
That is absolutely amazing. I never thought about checking to see if seeds are viable.
I noticed that about half of my amarylis x belladonna blooms have produced seed pods that are becoming large and showing signs of seed inside. The other half are just fading away and not enlarging.
So now when the seed pods are ready to harvest I will know how to check for viability. Thank you so much Joe. Smiling
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Oct 11, 2014 8:57 PM CST
OK Joe, now your secret is out! I like it! I think one could sit and hold that in their lap to do the work. Beats busting my back for hours over the Pyrex pie plate on the lamp shade!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 11, 2014 9:13 PM CST
You will need to experiment, Lynn. Candling like this doesn't work with the vast majority of seeds. Sometimes the seeds are just too tiny, but usually it is because light does not penetrate through the seed enough to see "life". And even if it does, sometimes it's just not a reliable method. Knowing what to look for can also be a stumbling block, since embryos (live and dead) can look very different (or similar) in different types of seed.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Oct 11, 2014 9:31 PM CST
Would it work for the Amaryllis x belladonna?
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 11, 2014 10:28 PM CST
Looking at how big and thick those seeds are, I'd say it's doubtful. But you won't know until you try.
https://www.google.com/search?q=Amaryllis+x+belladonna&clien...

Once you have the light box set up, you'll be able to try it out on lots of things, not just seeds. Illuminated leaves, for instance, can show a lot of intricate veining that is really quite beautiful! nodding
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Oct 12, 2014 4:50 AM CST
Ingenuity like this just tickles me. Nice post!
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Oct 12, 2014 6:28 AM CST
I will say that Rick is right, that if the seeds are thick it will definitely be harder. This is something that works particularly well for lilies and that is all I've used it for so far.You can go with the LED lights that are a little more costly but definitely brighter. Also, if it is too bright I throw some tissue paper or a blank peice of printer paper over the box to nut the light a little bit.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Oct 12, 2014 8:30 AM CST
Thank you for the link Rick. Those seeds are on the large side.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 18, 2014 5:43 PM CST
Best idea to come along in my 20 plus years of sorting lily seed! Thumbs up Acorn
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Oct 18, 2014 6:47 PM CST
Thanks Lorn. That means a lot coming from you. In the month or so I've been using it I've switched to LED tap lights. The other ones were just too cheap and not functioning well. If it was too bright I put a peice of tissue paper under it and I've had no static cling problems with the box at all. As a matter of fact I've used the groove in the front of the box to help separate the good seed from the chaff.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Image
pardalinum
Oct 18, 2014 7:22 PM CST
I have the stuff to make my box. Smaller than the typical craft box and one LED tap light. It is indeed bright enough to need a sheet of paper over it. I'm going to need it soon as my entire kitchen table is covered with paper cups, mostly lily seeds but a few others too.

Thanks Joe for the tmail tip to prefer LED over conventional Thumbs up .

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