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This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you know there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing the first tiny green shoots come up after you’ve planted seeds. To germinate seeds you will need to give them the correct type of soil and make sure they get the right amount of sun or shade, plus regulate the temperature so they don’t get too hot or cold. Read on to learn how to give seeds the right environment to germinate and grow.
This article was originally published on March 5, 2014. It has been updated with additional information, photos, and video.
Pre-sprouting lets you germinate the seeds first, and then you can place the sprouted seed with the root into a seedling container to grow. You can see the seed and don’t have to wonder if it is doing anything under the soil. Other advantages of pre-sprouting your seeds include:
About half the old seeds sprouted, and the rest were duds. I planted the sprouted seeds and watched the seedlings carefully to see if they would grow. I didn’t expect much from them, but they did grow into healthy transplants that were eventually planted into the garden.
Directions for Pre-Sprouting Seeds
Wondering whether your garden seeds will sprout? You can eliminate some of the wait time by pre-germinating seeds. Pre sprouting seeds germinates seeds before planting. This saves time, eliminates thinning, and conserves space.
Step 4: Add your seeds. Spread your seeds out on top of the damp paper towel. If you are using containers, simply close the cover. If you are using plastic bags, fold the paper towel over the seeds and place in the bag.
After experiencing how easy it was to see which seeds germinated using paper towels, I decided to pre-sprout more of my indoor seedlings. I routinely pre-germinate tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, Swiss chard, melons, cucumber, squash, cilantro, spinach, and kale.
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Normally, you should plant your seeds between 4-6 weeks prior to moving them outside, however, species do vary. Also, you may be required to plant your seeds indoors earlier than predicted or indeed later, all dependant on the weather at the time.
Some seeds may require soaking before you plant them, whereas others do not. Make sure to check all the information on the packet as previously mentioned. If your seeds do require soaking, you will need to do so for several hours before adding to your growing medium.
You can purchase propagators which are designed for growing multiple fruit or vegetables from seed. These containers are perfect for the task at hand.
5) Time It Right
There are so many benefits to growing from seed that you may choose to start planting and growing flowers and vegetables at home rather than buying them fully grown in store.
Now, that you’ve got your seeds ready – you will need to plant them. It is possible to plant seeds both straight away directly in your garden soil or alternatively in containers that can then be transported outside further down the line. This decision depends hugely on the species you wish to plant as some require more sensitive care than others. To do so, you will need to know the ideal growing conditions for your plant; the germination time, and also the earliest time from which you can transport your plant outside.
One of the great perks of growing your own plants and vegetables from seed is the fact that you’ll have so many choices to choose from – and you’ll be able to find the perfect seeds to suit you and your garden online or at your local garden centre. Remember to take note of your environment and pick seeds wisely, keeping in mind the environment you have on offer. You will need to pay particular attention to the requirements of the seed –lookout for water requirements, soil temperature, nutritional requirements, and desirable lighting for each species you consider.
Many seeds do not need lighting to germinate while others do. You may need a source of heat and light as sunlight will most likely not suffice. Pick up a plant lamp to keep your seeds happy with lots of lights and heat. Please note: You may use a fluorescent lamp without trouble but you will need a white bulb to provide the right heat and light for your seeds without burning them. A heat mat may also be a good idea for plants that require extra heat.