How to speed up germination and increase success rate of planting by seed.

How to speed up germination and increase the success rate of planting by seed.

Do you ever find that starting by seed is tricky? You’re not the only one. Although planting by seed can seem somewhat difficult, seeds really only need a few things to germinate. They need constant moisture, light fluffy soil and optimal temperatures.

Many times, this is accomplished by growing in a greenhouse. We know most urban growers don’t have the capability of growing in a greenhouse so we want to show you a few ways you can replicate these results and get better germination and increase your success rate of planting by seed.

First, make sure to use the right soil. Seed starting should be done in the propagation mix or seed starting soil. This soil is specially formulated for seeds starting and will help you complete the next requirement of seed starting, consistent moisture. These mixes are made of high amounts of peat moss that hold moisture.

In warm areas of the United States, it can be hard to keep tiny little seed starts constantly moist. By reducing the transpiration of water from the soil, you can help your starts stay moist longer. How do you do that? You can make a mini greenhouse by covering your pots with some form of plastic. Be creative. You can use plastic wrap, a plastic lid, whatever! For those of you that want to take a trip to a nursery, you can pick up a seed starting tray that will come with a plastic lid. This lid serves the purpose of keeping the moisture in. It will also help us with our next requirement for seeds starting, optimal temperatures.

By placing a lid on top of your seed starting tray you can help to regulate the temperature. Every seed variety has a different optimal seed starting temperature. You can see a list here.

Now that you know how to start seeds, how can you speed up the time it takes to get the seed to germinate? Here are a few tips of things we do on our farm.

Soak Seed first
You can soak the seed first to help get the seed to germinate quicker. Crops like beans and peas respond well to this. Keep in mind you can only soak the seeds for a period of an hour or so with our stirring it or putting fresh water in the container. Seeds left in water for hours on end will deteriorate due to the lack of oxygen.

Make a Germination box
On our farm, we have a germination box that is the shape of a fridge. We can regulate the temperature and keep it moist in this chamber. That speeds up germination quickly for us. We built ours for less than $25. Here are some plans that you could consider.
https://farmhack.org/tools/sweat-box-germination-chamber

Happy Growing!

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