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- Author or Editor: Leslie S. Katzman x
Rapid, synchronized, and high percentage of germination is required for commercial spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) production using hydroponic techniques. Seed treatments examined to improve seed germination were: 1) decoating; 2) leaching in water; and 3) soaking seeds for 4 hours in 0.5% NaOCl, leaching for 15 hours in water, and sowing in 0.3% H2O2 (this treatment will be referred to as NaOCl/H2O2). Germination studies were conducted on four cultivars at a constant 18 °C (optimal) or 30 °C (inhibitory). At 18 °C, germination rate (T50) was maximized by both hydration treatments, but uniformity of germination (Tsd) was greatest for decoated seeds; final germination was ≥89% for all treatments. At 30 °C, decoating resulted in greatest uniformity of germination. The NaOCl/H2O2 treatment resulted in highest germination (94%) at the high temperature, whereas decoating was least effective (69%). Reduced germination of decoated seeds was attributed to atypical germinants. Cultivars differed in response to the treatments at both temperatures. Component analysis of the NaOCl/H2O2 treatment was studied with two slow-to-germinate cultivars. Treatment with H2O2, with or without NaOCl, improved the rate, uniformity, and percentage of germination of seeds of both cultivars, but NaOCl alone did not. Pericarp removal or pericarp removal plus NaOCl/H2O2 treatments reduced variability in germination time and enhanced speed of germination at 30 °C, but decoating produced a higher percentage of atypical seedlings than did other treatments. Therefore, the NaOCl/H2O2 treatment is recommended for growers who are unable to maintain cool germination temperatures and/or cannot afford the costs associated with cooling. If growers can maintain a germination temperature of ≈18 °C, decoated seeds are preferable, based on the high uniformity of germination.