Friday, 5 April 2013

Seed viability and floating seed.

This is Achocha 'Fat Baby' seed. It was given to me a few weeks ago by a friend who grew it in 2011. It fruited prolifically and she managed to kept quite a bit of seed. These seeds have moved house twice and probably suffered a few other stresses in their journey to me. One rudimentary test for seed viability is to place your seed in a cup of water. If they float, the theory is that air and therefore moisture has got into the seed and it is no longer viable. If they sink, they should germinate.

When I set them in water, all of them rose to the surface. A few hours later they were still floating and I was going to throw them away, but my flighty brain took me from the kitchen for a few hours and they were left to float. 12 hours later, I came down to a jar of water with plump seeds resting on the bottom. Why not give them a chance? 10 days later and we have six plants and a few more on the way.

They will be perfect to scramble along the back fence of the community garden (should we get the go ahead) and I was planning to let them ramble across the shed on the allotment. I was given a few Achocha fruits by the very same friend a few years ago and they were good. They look a little intimidating, pale lime green and covered in soft rubbery spines. Raw I wasn't too fussed about them, but sliced up in a stir fry they were good and I agree with everyone else who says they are a bit like green peppers. They are also low fuss rampant vines that fruit prolifically for very little effort. What's not to like?

I suspect that this seed floating test is a little like 'i before e except after c' - that is, a not particularly useful rule. I will be floating the next few varieties I sow to test this. I am certainly glad I didn't throw this batch out based upon that first day of floating.
Achocha seeds are available from The Real Seed Catalogue (near the bottom of the page).


  1. I've added your new blog to my reading list but don't seem to be following you in your list of followers. I do wish Google would stop messing about with how we follow people. When I pussed the Google+ icon it asked me to sign in and I couldn't. Do I have to open a Google+ account separately do you know?

    1. Hello Dc, how's things?

      From memory, I think when you 'follow', it asks you to select whether you want to follow publicly or privately. Perhaps that's it. I think you can change it by clicking on the link in your profile reading list and changing the settings. I use Google Reader to manage my feeds - I have to find a new one soon, but I don't like the blogger dashboard thingy for following blogs. I will report back when I find one I like!


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