In the new study, the team, including a group of Penn State undergraduates led by graduate student Boya Xiong, packed the sticky sand into filter columns about 1 cm in diameter and 5-10 cm high, and testing the columns with extract from different amounts of seed to optimize performance. In experiments with 1-µm-diameter polystyrene particles, which have about the same size and charge as bacteria, they found that the sticky sand caught 99.99% of particles, compared with 13.55% for sand alone. The sticky sand also removed 108 viable E. coli cells per milliliter. They estimate that a household-scale filter 1 meter tall and 5 cm in diameter that provides 10 L of water per day would require 0.2 kg of seeds per year, whereas a Moringa tree produces about 480 kg of seeds per year.
Tropical tree seeds provide sustainable water filtration | Chemical & Engineering News
Bonus, the forest man of India who created 1360 acres of dense green forest in Assam, single-handedly.
This question was prompted after watching MIgardener trying to germinate 87 year old seeds. Hopefully they germinate and thrive!
Now I’m no master gardener but I’ve read a few studies that suggest it’s actually injurious for dry and low moisture content seeds to soak them, especially if cold or hot and anaerobically soaked. These seeds may germinate well but the plants don’t thrive as well as they could with damage to parts of the plant like the cotyledons (first leaves).
So it’s probably best to keep your seeds in their Goldilocks zone by getting the temperature and moisture just right. If you’ve ever dropped ice in a warm glass of your favourite drink and listened to it creak and crackle and crack as the ice thaws quickly, this is what you’re effectively doing with seed soaking at the wrong temperature or moisture levels.
Ideally a warm humid environment where the seeds and water can come up to the same temperature and moisture content at the same time, is ideal to start the process. Placing both in a container somewhere that meets the temperature requirement for those seeds to germinate is ideal. Seeds germinate best in 100% humidity and some like it hot, and some sweat when the heat is on. Find that Goldilocks zone. Once their in that zone you can wash them or briefly soak them and inoculate them if you like.
Soaking also leaches sugars and other compounds that seeds would otherwise use to create a fertile environment around themselves in soils. Some practices that remove the seed coat also injure the seeds, but remember all seeds are different and a germinated plant is better than no plant. There are no hard and fast rules. Find what works.
I’ll leave you with the following quote from a 1919 Dwarf Red Bean study by Franklin Kidd and Cyril West:
“Soaking these seeds for periods up to 24-48 hours at ordinary room temperatures increased the rate and vigour of germination; but the effect under the conditions of the experiment upon the subsequent development of the plants produced was injurious, even in the case of short periods of soaking”
They knew this in 1919 and yet it’s still common practice to soak seeds.
So please, don’t leave your seeds cold and wet outside, or inside, that’s no kind of atmosphere for them.
And here’s to having fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun!