This weeks word is stratification. Part of a series of blog posts explaining a few words used in gardening.
Stratification is a process a seed goes through to break its dormancy and start to grow. Usually, this process occurs due to being in a period of time in the cold. In a natural environment, this would occur over winter where the frost and weathering would start to break down the hard outer of the seed.
As gardeners, we sometimes need to replicate this situation. Cold stratification can be done in 2 ways that I know of.
- Sow seeds in a pot and leave this pot outside over the winter. This is a simple way and replicates the natural system that seeds have evolved to deal with.
- Place seeds in a fridge or even a freezer for a given amount of time (check online for particular seed requirements.) Then sow like normal. This way is good if you have missed the winter period but want to sow certain seeds.
There are other forms of stratification in the world but I don’t think I have ever come across anything other than cold stratification.
For more information check out this page on Wikipedia.