Manure Bioassay Germination

After problems with potato germination growing in a load of puchased manure last spring, I suspected aminopyralid contamination. I’m conducting a “citizen science” bioassay for germination and leaf curl problems to see what I can plant in these beds come the spring.

Trialling seeds.
Brassica trial seeds.

After 10 days, germination looks promising (control cells on the right). All seeds planted in the manure have germinated except some of the carrot seeds which may need more time.

Bioassay germination.

I will continue to let these seedlings grow out to see if the carrots germinate and to see if there is any leaf curl. I’m already noticing some leaf differences in the cucurbits. The cucumber seedlings in the manure pots seem more shriveled than the control plants. (See top left pot.) Stay tuned for more results.

One interesting observation is that germination rates are actually higher in the manure than in the vermicompost/potting soil! I’m trying not to put too much stock in this since the sizes of containers are different. My methods would not stand the rigors of a science lab, but my goals are different. Foremost of which is I want to find out what will grow in this soil. The brassicas seem to be doing just fine so I can add them in to the 2019 garden plan.

These preliminary results do raise questions about the efficacy of my seeding medium. I’m devising a different experiment that would test germination rates of different mediums. Do you have any suggestions on seeding blends to try?

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