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Bleached Okra and Blue Corn….

May 8, 2011

This year I decided to add some okra to mix; “Clemson Spineless” was the type selected.

(Hmm. Spineless… Clemson…. funny word association don’t your think Mr C?)

I had read some complaints about slow germination, a week or two even. When I saw the hard little seeds it didn’t surprise me as much.

In Walter Reeves’ “Guide to Georgia Vegetable Gardening”, he wrote of a strange sounding “old timer’s” trick to get reliable germination within 24 hours:

Soak the seeds in pure chlorine bleach for exactly 5 minutes, no more, no less.
Rinse in clean water exactly 3 times.
Plant.

It sounded like pure BS to me, so naturally I had to try it.

Damned if it didn’t work- they had all germinated by the next evening.

I followed the directions above with a pinch of seeds and planted them. I didn’t want 2 dozen plants, just a handful in the tiny patch I scratched out near the fence. However, I figured the bleach would ruin most of them so that’s about how many total I planted in a space that should only hold a couple or four plants.

OK guys, the weakest three of you in each spot get thinned in a few days:

Last year I ordered some heirloom mini corn - “Blue Jade” from Seed Savers Exchange

I had poor germination and the experiment was a failure. I found a second package of these from last year and figured I had nothing to lose. After soaking them for an hour or so I planted them-

After a year on the shelf, nearly 100% germination a couple days later.

These weren’t stored under any particularly good conditions either. Go figure.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2011 9:15 pm

    Wow! That is a crazy trick. I have never heard of it. Is it supposed to work with all seeds?

    • May 8, 2011 10:13 pm

      This is the only one I have heard of – I might try it on nasturtiums though

  2. ElRon permalink
    May 12, 2011 12:37 am

    Clemson Spineless loves the inhumane heat here, the low humidity too apparently. When everything else fades or dies from the AZ heat, that crazy African plant really comes into it’s own with abundant blooms and pods. As long as it gets supplemental water you understand. It ain’t spineless by a long shot either, BTW… ; )

    I usually soak my seeds indoors for about a week or until they begin to sprout on a wet paper towel in a pie pan, then plant them one a hole with the spacing for plants. I’ve heard of the bleach thing, but never tried it.

    • May 12, 2011 12:28 pm

      If it can survive your temps I’m sure it can do well in ours. If I can keep the bushy tailed tree rats from pulling the seedlings I’ll be in okra soon enough….

      The blue corn is supposed to be from your area; the story goes it was handed down by Hopi generation to generation. Maybe that’s why I got fleeced so badly for these 25 seeds.

      • ElRon permalink
        May 12, 2011 1:32 pm

        I’ll be, I didn’t even make that connection on the corn, should have… You wanna to be known as the King Of Georgia Gourmands, learn how to make some traditional piki bread with that corn. Some blue cornbread gonna turn some heads too. Can’t imagine it bein’ much good as corn on the cob. They make blue pancakes, chips and tortillas out of in in New Mexico. High protein, lower sugar an’ healthy an’ all that.

        Cool man!

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