Ranunculus asiaticus

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Sun, 26 Feb 2006 18:28:01 PST
Eugene Zielinski wrote: "I still don't know of any commercial sources for R.
asiaticus seed."

You're right, Eugene, I don't know of a source for seed. 

But if this topic had come up a year or two, I'm pretty sure I could have
pointed you to one of the major mail-order seed catalogs: a strain of
Ranunculus asiaticus called, I think, Bloomingdale, was offered for several
years recently. As I recall, the seed was surprisingly expensive.  Or am I
confused - was Bloomingdale sold as roots? I did check a number of current
catalogs and saw no offerings of Ranunculus asiaticus cultivars as seed. 

When I was a kid, even general seed catalogs such as Burpee's (as it was
then) offered seed of Anemone coronaria -that I definitely remember. I'm not
so sure that Ranunculus asiaticus seed was ever generally offered. 

Perhaps some of you may be interested in what David Griffiths had to say
about the culture of Ranunculus asiaticus from seed. Keep in mind that
Griffiths' goal was to establish this plant as a commercial crop in the
United States. He thought southern California was the ideal place to do
that. Here's what he said (Bulbs From Seed, USDA Circular No. 311, 1934,
pages 25-26):

"Their culture is very simple. Seed is planted in September in drills 12 to
15 inches apart or in beds about 3 feet wide, under open-field conditions,
and in soil that is fertile but without raw manures. The seed is sown about
three fourths of an inch deep, and the soil is thoroughly firmed over it as
soon as it is planted. Germination takes place rather promptly and growth
continues through the winter and the next summer, when the plants become
dormant and the tubers are ready to be dug.

"The greater part of these crops is ready for the market at the first
digging, or 1 year after the seeding...Some growers have rotated ranunculus
with anemone, which is no rotation at all, as these crops may be considered
the same as far as effect on the soil is concerned."

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where we're hunkered down for
another cold one tonight. 


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