MS~S BUL'ETIN 1646
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
VELVET BEAN SEED
By John M. Scott
It is important that all velvet bean seed should be tested for germination
this year before planting. The early frosts of last October and November
injured a large amount of the seed before it was ripe. As a result, there is
likely to be much shriveled and immature seed put on the market this spring,
Under exceptionally favorable conditions some of this shriveled seed will
germinate. Under ordinary field conditions only a small percentage of it
is likely to grow. Those injured seeds that do germinate and grow cannot
produce strong and healthy plants. They yield small and sickly plants that
are unable to combat successfully with any adverse conditions.
How to Test Seed
,Take any shallow box, which need not be more than three inches deep,
two feet long, or one and a half feet wide. This will be large enough to
hold about 500 velvet beans. Place about two inches of sand in the box.
Then count out 500 velvet beans. Distribute them evenly over the surface of
the sand, and cover the seeds with sand to a depth of about an inch. Moisten
the sand thoroughly. Set the box in a warm sunny place.
It should be looked at every day to see that the sand is kept moist,
but not soaked with water. Ten days after placing the seed in the box,
count all that have sprouted. Divide 100 times the number of sprouted seed
bythe number of seeds placed in the box, the quotient will be the percentage
of germination. For instance, if 500 seeds are placed in the box and 300
germinate, divide 30000 by 500, the quotient is 60, or 60 per cent. of the seed
SWhen taking the .sample of 500 seeds to put in the tester, care should
be taken to get a uniform sample from the bulk of seed to be tested. That
is, do not choose only large plump seeds, but take them as they come, broken,
shriveled, or immature.
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Advantages of Testing
Tie testing of the seed before planting may mean the difference between
the-failuFe and'succss of the crop. It will save the extra labor of replanting.
As a rule, replanting is not satisfactory, because if the land is not plowed
before replanting, it gives the weeds the start of the crop. If only the missing
places are filled in, the crop is uneven in growth; while if the missing places
are not filled in, a full crop will not be secured.
The results of testing 1000 velvet-bean seeds at the Experiment Station,
taken just as they tame from the huller, gave 58.3 per cent. germination.
The sample included broken, shriveled, immature, and also good plump seeds.
Of 1000 seeds placed in the tester, 583 or 58.3 per cent. germinated and made
strong healthy plants. A further small percentage germinated but soon died.
Had this seed been recleaned, and all broken and shriveled seed thrown out,
the percentage of germination would have been considerably greater.
A test of 500 shriveled and immature seed showed that only 215, or 43
per cent., germinated, and these'for the most part gave weak plants.
Velvet-bean seed that shows less than 50 per cent. germination should
not be used. Seed that shows from 50 to 80 per cent. germination and gives
that amount of strong healthy seedlings should be recleaned, throwing out
all faulty seed. If that seems impracticable, 30 to 40 per cent. more seed
to the acre should be planted.
State papers please copy.