Monday, May 23, 2016

Growing Kentucky Coffeetrees from Seed

Germinating some seeds is not near as easy as you would think it might be and Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica) is one of those. We adore this tree! It has cool seed pods, beautiful bark, leaves, and form. Wildlife love it and if in a pinch, you can use the seeds for a coffee substitute though there's no caffeine. If you don't have one in your yard and you are in its range, you need to grow one so it can make you happy too!

So many grew at our place in Indiana, we named it Coffetree Bottoms since it was on the edge of the Little River Valley. (We still get to visit this special place since my parents bought it:)

I scarified a batch of KY coffeetree seeds with acid last year and got zero germination, which completely stinks when you are wanting to grow something. After watching some videos we realized my acid scarification didn't work. The seeds look completely different when you crack through their hard exterior - the seed coat - and mine didn't change, but Steve cracked the code! Take a look:

Seeds still in the pods prior to Steve's treatment:

Cleaned seeds ready for knicking through the seed coat, but not into the fertile inside:

Steve's knicking device: a Rockwell oscillating tool with a semi-circular blade:

Inappropriate PPE!

Seeds after knicking and a hot water soak (we did this overnight or until we noticed a change in the seed coat):

Swollen seed ready for planting:

These seeds are almost twice as big as when we harvested them and they feel full of water. We planted all these and got 100% germination!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Beauty & Inspiration in the Heart of the Midwest

There is such incredible beauty here in Ohio in the middle of the Temperate Deciduous Forest (our biome) and we are totally and completely marveling at this diversity second only to the Rain Forest. Here's a bit of Ohio's spring magic all homegrown right here in this fertile land ...

We are ever so grateful for this life! Here's more inspiration and even more when you have time for listening. Happy Monday friends...