I’m happy to have the time to post so quickly after my long over-due post just last week. Today we focused on one part of our internship that we haven’t done before: shipping seed.
As a team we have been so busy with field days and collecting seed, but now it’s time to begin the other part of our project which is to ship our collections to Cape May Plant Materials Center in Cape May, New Jersey.
I wanted to focus my blog today about shipping seed because it was my first time partaking in this part of the Seeds of Success protocol and it is quite detailed and important to our goals.
Before we can send out our seed collections the seed needs to be dried and free of pests. We typically allow for seeds to dry for 2 to 3 weeks and place pest strips in the containers we use to dry seeds (typically baking sheets). Whenever we make a collection we immediately fill out the data sheet that records all the necessary information related to our collection and make sure that the data sheet follows the seed wherever it ends up.
The combination of dried seed properly contained in a cotton bag and the associated field data sheet are what we send to Cape May. It is important that the package is lined with bubble wrap/newspaper/packing peanuts/etc. so that the seed is safely cushioned during its travels to New Jersey. The preferred shipment days are Mondays and Tuesdays so that the seed arrives in 2 days and is not left out during the weekend.
So far I only have experience with dry seed, but we do have a few collections of fleshy seed, which requires a different protocol due to the risk of mold. I currently have Peltandra virginica (Arrow Arum) in my refrigerator and will need to ship that collection immediately.
Once Cape May received our seeds they are cleaned and returned back to us. Depending on the size of the collection, portions of the collection are divided between restoration projects with an immediate need for seed, long term storage in Pullman, WA and short term storage at Garden in the Woods.
It has been interesting to finally process the dried seed because so much focus has been on finding and collecting seed in the field. As our internship continues into its final stages, the drying and shipping component of Seeds of Success will become just as familiar as the initial collecting has become.
For now I will continue to tape up boxes clumsily and triple check the protocol as I learn the ropes of this process.
Til next time!