Another experiment under way… this one involving Oregon Myrtle nuts collected from the Southern Oregon coast in November. Can we sprout them? We have been told that it’s challenging…
Don’t miss the Myrtle Nut update from 2/22/2014.
Oregon Myrtle (called California Laurel if it’s growing in California) is one of very few evergreen broadleaf trees native to the Pacific Northwest. It is a relative of the Bay Laurel (if you cook with bay leaves, you can thank the Bay Laurel), which is native to the Mediterranean. Like the Bay Laurel, Oregon Myrtle has fragrant leaves that can be used in cooking—only Oregon Myrtle leaves can be much more pungent, so watch out!
Myrtle can grow in a shrub-like fashion when they are young, but can reach up to 30 meters in height. As trees, they are prized by woodworkers for the high-quality wood they produce. If you visit Oregon, you will find many shops full of lovely hand-crafted myrtlewood items, including carvings and even musical instruments. Traditionally, native peoples of the Pacific Northwest have used myrtle leaves and nuts for medicinal remedies and food.
In conclusion, this is a fascinating tree, full of history and value, and would be well worth growing! One problem… We have nuts, not cuttings, and these little buggers are notoriously difficult to grow from nuts!
In perfect conditions, the average germination rate of nuts is reportedly only about 40%, and our conditions are far from perfect. The nuts like to germinate in cool weather and can take as long as 3 months to germinate, giving plenty of time for problems to arise.
The root of the problem is rot—the seeds need to be moist, yet they have a tendency to rot before they can sprout. Here are four things we’re going to try to minimize rot:
So, freshly-planted seeds is what we have today… what will we have as of April?