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Growing Gấc

posted May 29, 2015, 2:13 PM by Quoc-Anh Vuong   [ updated Jun 1, 2015, 6:20 AM ]
Using a spaghetti sauce glass jar (re-purpose, of course!), I soak the seeds for a whole day. The next day, looked around the house, I found two take-out food foam boxes and some newspapers, so off to work: I fold the newspaper to fit inside the take-out box, then soak with water, and wrap 5 seeds inside. I also fold & place a newspaper under the one with seeds; my reasoning is that using that empty newspaper as a buffer to soak up extra water, and not having any standing water in the box. After some thoughts, I fold & put another layer of newspaper on top, to serve as an indicator for me to know when to add more water. With that extra layer in the bottom, I can keep the middle newspaper layer with seeds moist, and not having the seeds standing in water. With two boxes, I had total of 10 seeds safely inside.
Beginning of May in Virginia, evening temperature can drop to low 50s, so I keep these two boxes inside the house, near the South facing windows. Using a Sharpie, I wrote down the date. Every evening I check the boxes, and if the top newspaper layer is dry to the touch, I add more water, let it soaked in, and then pour out the excess. It turns out that I need to add only a little of water every 3 days.

Two weeks later, I carefully open the middle newspaper layer to examine the seeds, 9 out of 10 seeds have white roots coming out at the tip of seed. What's with the one which did not germinate? I have no clue! So, I went to my garage looking at my stash of to-be-
re-purposed containers, and I found 9 mismatching yogurt containers.
For each yogurt container, I fill half with soil, carefully remove the germinated seeds from the newspaper, and place it in the soil; then fill the container up with soil. The soil level on top of each seed is only about 1/4" - 1/2". The outside temperature is now warmer, between 70 to 85 during the day, and 60s at night; so I put the yogurt containers outside. A week later I see some tiny green bud pushing up through the soil. The sight just brought a smile to my face on the morning I checked before heading off to work.

Couple days later, while bringing out trash & recycle, I notice the foam egg-crate, and thought this may be something I would like to try so I put it in the garage; yes, the to-be-re-purposed stash. The following day, I & Thuỵ fill the egg crate with soil and put in there 12 new seeds. I put the seed's tip down into the soil, and bury it half way. Sprinkle the soil with water, until the soil turn dark wet, I cover the egg-crate lid and again wrote on top the date with a Sharpie. Following my older sister instruction, I also mark the slot which have the three most curvy seeds. "This is important", my sister said, "for these are the female Gấc plants, which you will desperately need two years from now!".

Since I've moved all of my germinated seeds to the yogurt containers, my take-out boxes are now empty. Using exact same method, I redo the one seed which did not germinate, and 6 more new seeds I soaked in water the
 day before in the spaghetti sauce jar. Just want to experiment to see which one will germinated first. Two weeks later, I have my result: the ones in the egg crate won. The seeds in the egg-crate germinated and also have leaves. The ones in the take out boxes only producing white roots. Once I see the green leaves coming out of the seeds, I leave the egg-crate lid open. I check the water each day, and add only few drops for each plant to make the soil darken. I don't want to risk having water collected in the bottom of the foam egg-crate, because I did not punch any hole in the crate for the water to drain.