THIS IS PART FIVE
Bathing the seeds — softening them up.
This is one of the more delightfully simple steps in preparing the camellia sinensis seeds. Put the seeds into a vessel filled with water and let them soak. Ahhhh… think if it as kind of japanese onsen ofuro treatment to relax the seeds. I’m sure it actually does something more scientific than that. Nevertheless, I have noticed that this step significantly softens the outer shell, which I imagine will make it easier for the little seedlings to push their way through.
I chose a glass jar with a sealing lid and I let them sit on a sunny part of my deck railing, but it cold be a pail, old milk jug or whatever as long as it holds the water and seeds. The plan is to soak them for 24 hours.
While they were having their bath I noticed a lot of ‘activity’ in the water. They seemed to be ‘bubbling’, the water grew darker and murky. I have no idea what this means, but I thought I’d comment on it as it’s very atmospheric. See the phoito! Wow, mur-ky. But really, I found theses signs heartening, as if the seeds were coming out of their prolonged state of dormancy and had begun to stir back to life.
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Setting the seeds in the sun — keep them moist too!
This is step that I read about online from here. It suggests to spread your seeds out on black plastic or plant trays and let them sit in the sun for a couple of days until a crack appears. I liked the sound of it and the weather here was accommodating, so I added it to my process. If the weather was overcast or rainy — which I was expecting — I would have put the seeds directly into the seed pots. I followed the instructions, but despite all the sunshine never saw any new cracks develop in my seeds. Perhaps this is because I already pre-scored the seeds and it removed any potential pressure. During the entire two days of sun tanning I tried very hard to ensure the camellia sinensis seeds remained moist, while at the same time keep the marauding squirrels at bay. Actually it was just one squirrel, a skinny black urban one with a very twitchy tail.
This is a multi-part story that follows my attempt — and hopefully success — at trying to grow tea bushes!
You can find part one here.
This is NOT a ‘How to’ article for growing tea plants from seeds! I am NOT a trained professional. I’m more of a dabbler. So please keep in mind that this is an experiment that will unfold over the next 48 months is a work-in-progress. I am at the mercy of mother nature. So, if it all goes terribly wrong, then it will be a ‘How Not to Grow Tea from a Seed‘ article! Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on my trials and tribulations.