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Smoke Seed Primer is ideal for treating seeds of Proteas, Leucospermums (pincushions), Leucadendrons, Ericas, Strelitzias, Helichrysums (everlastings), restios (Cape grasses), Lobelias, grasses, sedges, mesembs (vygies), Geleznowia, Hibbertia, Stirlingia, Verticordia, Actinostrobus, Pimelea, Lechenaultia Anigozanthus and many other species.
Many wildflower seeds are dormant and need very specific conditions for germination. The smoke seed primer solution contains a combination of natural substances that overcome dormancy and stimulate seed germination. The degree of germination success varies with the species, but on average, treated seeds give at least twice the number of seedlings that untreated seeds do.
For the average fynbos or protea seed that finds itself in the soil after a flowering season, it would be very difficult to grow successfully with dense fynbos shrubs around it. The fynbos would deprive it of the sun and the nutrients it needs to thrive. However, after a fire there is no shade and the soil is rich in nutrients - ideal conditions for a seedling. How would a seed know when it is safe to germinate because there has been a fire and and the rainy season is about to start? One cue would be getting soaked in smoky water as the first rains disolve the ash on the soil. In 1990 researchers realised that the chemicals in smoke from fynbos fires (and not just the heat of the fire) was responsible for breaking seed dormancy and stimulating germination.
Here I show How to smoke prime seed and make your own smoke primer and how to smoke prime seeds for free and you do not need "fynbos material" to make it as I did my own experiments and get high germination using hard wood branches and leaves and you don't need a smoke tent either.
Many people buy our seeds and have asked if we stock smoke primer discs, these can be expensive and not necessary. I show you how to mimic a bush fire and collect the essence using materials you already have or can find.
What you will need is quite simple:
1) Your seeds
2) A piece of metal screen small enough so the seeds do not fall through
3) A fire proof bowl or metal can don't use ceramic it can crack
4) Some branches and leaves
5) Free draining soil with extra grit (sterlised)
6) Your pots
7) Some water
1) Simply gather some dry branches and leaves, I used eucalyptus but you can use any seed, break these up and place in the can
2) Set the branches and leaves on fire, allow the flames to die down then blow them out so they smoulder
3) Place your seeds on the screen and hold the screen or suspend over the can / bowl but ensure you are NOT roasting the seeds. Subject them to the smoke for as long as possible. Remember it's not a BBQ and ensure your seeds do not fall through the screen
4) Extinguish the embers with water and allow to cool, this will be your smoke essence mixture.
5) Mix this with the soil and plant your seeds, all explained in the video
You might wish to keep your seed moist by making smoke prime water (repeat about procedure without smoking seeds, use cooled water if seeds dry out.
You can also mix ashes from a hard wood fire into the soil, DO NOT use ashes from a BBQ
I hope you enjoy the video, this works every time for smoke priming seeds such as protea and some of the South African species such as the tree gardenia, where indicated we will tell you in our germination instructions if seed needs to be smoke primed.
Making your own DIY smoke primer is great and will save you money
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