Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Germination testing

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The purpose of a "rag doll" test is to determine the percentage of seeds in a given lot that will successfully germinate. This information can then used for calculating seeding rates.

A simple way to get an idea of the actual field germination prior to planting is to conduct a “ragdoll” test. A “ragdoll” consists of a rolled tube of moistened paper containing the seeds to be tested for germination, placed in plastic bag and stored in a warm place for several days. seedlings are counted as they germinate and are removed, giving the percentage of actual germination.

To conduct a ragdoll test, moisten a brown paper hand towel and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Do not use a "soft" paper towel as are typically found in a home kitchen - seeds can send roots and tops through these complicating the count. Excess water in the towel will cut off oxygen and ruin the test.

Spread the paper towel out on a flat surface, count out 100 seeds and place them in a line (diagonally works well) across the towel. Roll the towel up and place it in a plastic bag. Seal the bag, and place it in a warm place, such as on the top of a refrigerator. A temperature of 30°C85°F is ideal.

After four days, remove the towel from the plastic bag, unroll it, and count and remove any seeds that have germinated. Roll the towel back up, return it to the plastic bag, reseal, and return it to the top of the refrigerator.

After three or four more days, repeat the count. The total number of seeds from both counts will equal the germination rate, assuming 100 seeds were used. If a different number of seeds were used, you can calculate the germination rate as follows: