Friday, July 25, 2014

Will a Watched Seed Germinate?

Before I dig in (in a manner of speaking) into today's subject, I wanted to thank everyone who commented yesterday on my "Never Too Late to Learn" post. My dear readers, you are the best.  Thank you for your comments.

And now, I have something else to be thankful for. 

Today's subject is the Paw Paw, which I blogged about last November.

The Paw Paw is a native American fruit.  I had made their acquaintance in the early 1980's when living in rural Arkansas. Where I lived in Arkansas is a USDA plant hardiness zone 7a (meaning normal minimum temperatures of 0 to 5 degrees F).

Last November, I found paw paw fruit at a Binghamton, New York localvore store.  It had been grown right in Binghamton, zone 5b (-10 to -15 degrees).  Obviously, this man had succeeded in growing them in our area.  I bought one fruit and kept its six seeds in the fridge all winter, in damp peat moss.  In spring, I planted the seed, one per small container, and kept on my back porch.

I had been about to give up hope, when, earlier this month, I saw signs of germination.  This is what the most advanced seed looked like on July 20.  The shell of the seed is covering the leaves, the seedling rooted in the ground.  Each day the seed husk held higher and higher.

July 23.  At this point, five of the six seeds have germinated.

Today, July 24, the seedling stands proudly, straight as a soldier.  I am thankful it's gotten this far.

In some ways, this is like watching a chick hatch out of an egg.  Hatching is a longer process than you may think, as the chick chips away at the eggshell's inside with its "egg tooth". You wonder, until the moment that egg cracks enough for the chick to fall out, if the chick will succeed or not.

Now I will be in suspense until the leaves escape from the seed husk.  I know I can't hurry it along, any more than you can hurry a chick breaking out of its egg.

Will my seedlings succeed?  I can't wait to find out.


  1. I have never heard of a Paw Paw, before! How very intriguing. I cannot wait to see you succeed in growing this fascinating plant. I will definitely be checking back to see the seedlings' progress!

    1. Thanks, Bethany. I believe these grow as far west as the eastern part of Nebraska and they are a lovely, fascinating tree. I hope I can keep these going once they germinate - my yard is so small!

  2. Hello from the UBC. I too have never heard of paw-paw - I love the detailed story you've described from germination to hatching. Almost like giving birth!
    Dorit Sasson
    Giving Voice to Your Story

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed telling this story. It's only the beginning - and I promise to give occasional updates.

  3. The wonder and excitement of nature holds us spellbound--well, those of us who are aware of the natural world around us. Just imagine living for nothing but work on a computer. Keep watching and praying for the seedling to survive.

  4. I am amazing on how detail by detail is the seed grow.

  5. I've heard so little about 'Paw paws'
    I suppose that they might not be able to survive in the UK!
    I hope it does well.

  6. Love PawPaw, especially the red ones Papaya we call them her in Australia. Check out Pam Grouts Book- E squared- great experiment that I did from that on setting intention on bean seeds growing- must write a blog post on it.


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