Observing seed germination and calculating the percent of seeds germinated in a batch of seeds are the learning objectives of the Seed Germination activity. This may sound like a straight-forward, maybe even boring task. However, I came up with a few unexpected results from my VNS Yellow Pea seed germination. Here’s what happened.
I picked the yellow pea seeds for the first batch of seeds to germinate. In past germination tests pea seeds have germinated very quickly, and in the Seed Dissection, the yellow pea seeds looked very beautiful under the digital microscope as the outer skin dropped off and the embryo, starch, leaves, cotyledon, and roots inside the seed became visible. Below are some of the more interesting images of the germinating yellow pea seeds.
Comparing slow with fast germinating seeds—how are they different?
Calculating the germination rate
I was expecting the yellow pea seed germination rate to be between 90 and 95 percent based on previous experience and the germination rate documented from test data printed on the seed packaging. I was expecting all the pea seeds to have started germinating within the first 3-5 days of the set up. However, as Table 1 shows, only 60 percent of the pea seeds had germinated by day 7, and by day 10, the germination rate was still only 80 percent.
Table 1 – Seed Germination Data
|Seed||Number of Seeds||Number of Seeds Germinated by Day 7||Number of Seeds Germinated by Day 10||Percent of Seeds Germinated|
|SEED A: |
VNS Yellow Organic Field Pea(common name)
Pisum sativum (scientific name)
Follow up questions
I had several questions that were not answered by my germination test.
- Why did the yellow field pea seeds have such a low germination rate?
- Did I do something in my set up that could have reduced the germination rate?
I wanted to know if I messed up on some aspect of my germination test. I called the seed developer and talked to one of their horticulture experts. The company rep explained that large seeds can be more difficult to germinate because so much of the seed surface is exposed to the air. The larger seeds can dry up more quickly and they are also more susceptible to mold spores and other environmental factors.
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