So on the 14th I began the cold stratification of the Mandrake, Calamus, and Belladonna. I’m not worried about the latter two. It’s the Mandrake I’m concerned with. Let’s be frank – we all know (well the gardeners among us anyway) that Mandrake is a difficult germinater and picky. I’m lucky enough to have many friends who actually have worked with Mandrake so they’ve offered me some wonderful tips. Like how to properly cold stratify the seeds to simulate the snow melting process. Another friend suggested using a compost tea spray to keep the soil moist once I’ve planted. I’ve also been advised to plant the seeds in seeding soil because it has less contaminates. Not only can it take up to a year for a mandrake seed to actually germinate, but Mandrake can take years to flower and seed and the first year after germination is the most crucial.
There are so many different factors to consider and things to watch for with the Mandrake. I’m actually looking forward to taking care of such a fussy plant. So while I’m embarking on my experiment in growing Mandrake I’ll be posting my thoughts and notes to posts I’m calling the Mandrake Files. That way those of you reading who might be particularly interested in Mandrake can pull those posts just by clicking on the tag.
Addendum: When I first started the seeds in the fridge at the beginning of the week I had 4 floaters. Now I have no floaters so all the seeds will be planted in their own pots. I’m going to start them in one gallon pots.