Depending on the seeds you are using, germinating seeds can be a tricky business. Some, such as tomato and pepper seeds, need more than just damp soil. So how do you know? Here are some tricks and tips to make seed germination much more fruitful all the way around.
6 Tips for Successful Seed Germination
1. Always Plant More Seeds Than You Need
Nature has a way of disappointing you. You’d like all your seeds to germinate and develop into big, vigorous plants, but that’s rarely how it works in practice.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to plant more seeds than you need. A good chunk of them will fail to crack the outer hull of more difficult seeds, leaving you with a somewhat patchy collection of seedlings.
Make sure that you give each seed enough room to develop.
2. Use A Heat Mat
Heat mats are warming mats that help seeds germinate. This is a vital tool, especially if you’re trying to get seeds to sprout out of season. Mats provide the warmth that the enzymes in the seed need to do their work. Without adequate heat, some seeds will remain dormant, and you won’t be able to grow the plant.
3. Presoak Your Seeds
Some seeds benefit from presoaking. Presoaking helps water to penetrate the seed and prepare it for germination. Dry seeds may struggle to emerge from the hull.
If you do decide to soak your seeds, use room temperature water. Don’t be tempted to heat the water as this could cut the chance of successful germination.
Also, limit soaking time. Most professionals will soak seeds for around six hours before planting and certainly no more than twelve.
4. Keep Humidity And Temperature Consistent
Plants have inbuilt humidity and temperature sensors. These sensors are vital for telling the plant when it should grow, flower and create new seeds. Without them, wild plants would grow at the wrong time and lose out in the struggle for survival.
The problem for gardeners, however, is that you don’t want plants listening to their internal sensors, especially when germinating. You want them to operate around your timetable, especially when you are starting seeds indoors to get a jump start on the spring season.
A heated propagator can help you in this regard. It allows you to set temperature and humidity manually, without having to rely on the weather to do it for you. Some more expensive propagators will enable you to set and read current humidity and temperature levels, meaning that you’re never in the dark about conditions for your plants.
5. Use Propagation Lights
While regular LED lights will help seeds propagate, they don’t work as effectively as the dedicated variety. Professional propagation lights emit the precise wavelength that plants need for optimal photosynthesis.
Not only does this help plants to grow better, but it also cuts energy costs. You are not paying to create light that the plant cannot use as an energy source.
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6. Remember It’s A Long Process
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that seed germination is a long process. While some seeds will show signs of growth in the first 24 hours, the majority will take between three and four days, or up to a week.