Sowing Beets and Pygmy Barberries - Knowledgebase Question

Swartz Creek, MI
Question by sridley
February 12, 1998
What are the optimum conditions for germinating seeds of Red Beets and Pygmy Barberries?


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Answer from NGA
February 12, 1998

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About a month before your last frost date, get your beet seeds ready for sowing. They can be stubborn about germinating because the seed coats contain a germination inhibitor. Soaking the seeds for 1-2 hours prior to planting helps dissolve the chemical and soften the seed coats. The seeds also need the soil to be tucked in firmly around them. All beets need to be thinned because each seed you plant is actually several individual seeds.

Pygmy barberries need a cold treatment during the winter called stratification in order to break the dormancy of the seed. Place the seeds in moist sand and store them outside or in the refrigerator for the winter. Sow the seeds (sand and all) in the ground in early spring. (Incidentally, if you gather the seeds yourself, do so as soon as the berries are ripe or they will not germinate well.)

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