Derek Johnson Muses

Home of the Straight from the Cornfield Podcast

The Seed Lab

The chambers-cold is on the left

Many of the you probably wonder, Derek, what is it you do for a living? I mean, this is America; everyone has to get paid. The truth of the matter is, I am in fact one of those people who is always doing something but no one quite knows what exactly it is I do, myself included. As I tell everyone, most of my time in the winter is spent doing germination test on corn. It took me about a year or two to learn how to do it well, and now it goes like clockwork.

Every year, I prepare for samples arriving by ordering kimpak, an oversized, tougher paper towel, and cutting the sheets half. I also dig up soil to use and mix it with sand to plant in.

To prep for planting, I take a tray and pour 400 milliliters of water on it and set sheet of kimpak on the water and load the trays into carts. I leave them overnight in the cold chamber, and the next day I press 200 seeds into the kimpak, now evenly saturated with water, and cover the seeds with the sand-soil mixture.

Trays read to play

Trays read to plant

Tray in the midst of planting

Tray in the midst of planting

The trays lay dormant in the cold chamber for a week at 50 degrees, and then are moved into the warm chamber. After four or five days, I count how many plants have germinated, and then record and send the numbers to my father. Then I dispose of the waste and wash the trays and the carts with bleach.

DSCN9612

Plants that are about a day or so away from counting

This is what I do when I’m not shuffling our companies profits off to offshore accounts in the Caymans to hid our money from the greedy agents at the IRS.

(More odd work I’ve done)

6 responses to “The Seed Lab

  1. Kenny Lasko December 13, 2012 at 2:15 am

    When I read “seed lab,” I thought of something entirely different. Can I get a magazine? No, just kidding. But seriously. I know a lot of things are being grown hydroponically these days. Cool.

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