Seed Germination Techniques
There is no time for lazing about when you're a farmer. When most flowering plants are in bloom and harvest is around three weeks away, they’re already gearing up for the next round - seed germination. Germination is an exciting process. The seeds are so delicate; this is the beginning of life!
There are many different ways to germinate seeds, but here are some easy techniques to start with. Nothing too technical or too scientific, just simple and effective when done right! Just remember to always check the packet your seed came in to determine its specific germination needs.
- Fill a small pot, or a paper cup with holes poked into the bottom and the sides, with a little more than a handful of soil. Using your index finger or pinky, press down into the soil to the depth of your finger's first joint. Then place your seed in the hole and gently cover it with soil. Do not press the soil down on the seed - this can damage or suffocate it. Then water the soil so that it's nice and moist. Place your container in the sun or beneath a low-level light and watch your seedlings sprout!
During the spring, most regions have warm days and cool evenings. It's best to bring the plants inside your house for the night and put them back outside during the day to reduce temperature stress. This is a crucial step because some nights can be too cold for your newly planted seeds.
Every seed is different, but in general, give them about five to seven days before transplanting the healthiest sprouts. Give the rest of the seeds about another week to see if they still punch through the soil.
- The second technique encompasses two similar methods. One is the popular paper towel technique, and the other uses cotton balls.
For the first method, take two stacked paper towels and fold them in half. With the double-layered towel still folded and lying flat, gently wet it with purified water until it's completely damp. Unfold the towel, place a few seeds on it, and fold it back over the seeds. Again, gently water the paper towel and put it in a dark, warm (about 70 degrees) area. As the paper towel starts feeling dry, gently dampen it again. When the seeds have sprouted tiny roots in two to five days, carefully use tweezers to transplant the seeds about a quarter of an inch deep into your growing media.
The second method uses two cotton balls instead of paper towels.
Take one cotton ball, wet it, and place a seed on top. Press the second cotton ball on top of the first one. The cotton balls hold moisture longer than paper towels, so they don’t need to be watered as much as in the first method. Again, place in a dark, warm area; within three to four days, a sprout should begin to form. With tweezers, carefully pick up the seed and place it into your growing media.
Let these simple germinating methods inspire you to get growing, and let us know in the comments if you have a different way to get your seedlings started!