Germination is the process of starting or to cause to start growing, especially by using natural heat or water. Seeds need certain water and air temperatures, proper humidity levels, and an increase in light intensity in order to germinate.
The following are some guidelines for seeds that should help you get started:
Preparing the soil:
To prepare the soil, mix two parts of a well-draining potting mix with one part vermiculite. Moisten slightly before you begin to add the seeds. Be sure to keep it moist until germination begins and at least until seedlings emerge from their shells.
Sowing the seeds:
Seeds should be planted at least 1 inch deep; however, many seeds are best planted deeper than they were in their original containers. This is true for seeds that are difficult to germinate.
To aid in germination, make a small mound of soil over each seed by hand and then gently press the seeds down so they are barely covered. If you use a mechanical means such as a pencil to make the mounds, it is easy to bury them too deep.
Moisten the soil until water drains from the bottom of container or pot, but be careful not to overwater.
Resting the seed:
Most seeds need some rest before they can be transplanted, replanted, or grown in a pot or container. Some seeds will germinate on their own within 2 to 3 weeks if you keep the soil moist and warm. Keep soil moist by watering often enough to keep it from drying out but not too wet since this may cause roots to rot and cause damage to the seedlings. If you water too much, then overwatering may result.
Transplant into larger containers at this point. This will allow you to see whether the seeds are draining well. If they are, you can transplant into larger pots or individual containers for transplanting. Place shallowly where they can get light and drainage, and keep moist.
Depending on the seed, some may only take a few days to germinate and be visible to you while others may take several months.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why germinate seeds?
Germinate seeds in order to produce plants. Plants are like little factories that make their own food, called photosynthesis. The plants use the sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into starch and sugars which are used to make cellulose (wood) and plant foods such as fats, oils, protein, starches, and sugars.
These nutrients are then used by the plant for growth, repair, reproduction (seeds), storage (tubers), and defense mechanisms.
Why germinate seeds in dark?
The germination process of seeds is very sensitive to light. It is therefore necessary to protect the young plant and seedlings from all forms of light for a period of time until the plant has produced its first true leaves (cotyledons or seed leaves). The true leaves are used as food factories by the young plants.
Why do I need to keep my seeds warm?
Seeds need heat in order to germinate. Seeds germinate best at temperatures above 60F and below 80F, although some seeds have been known to germinate at warmer temperatures in the low 90s.
Keep seeds warm by keeping them moist and in a dark, airtight environment in the shade. The ideal environment for growing seedlings is about 75 to 95 degrees F during the day and about 50 to 70 degrees F during the night with high humidity.
Why germinate seeds in water?
Water plays an important role in the germination process of seeds. Water plays a critical role in the seed’s life cycle because it transports oxygen and nutrients, and it helps new roots develop. Here are some adaptations to enable seeds to germinate when water is added:
- Seed should be kept moist to prevent dehydration. Even though seedlings do not need water immediately after germination, they still need water to develop their roots and carry out functions that will allow them to survive in their environment.
- Water must be cold to prevent chilling. Chilling can stop the seed germination process, which is dependent on water and temperature. It is important that seeds keep their natural temperature range in order to germinate successfully. Seeds need temperatures between 65°F and 80°F with relative humidity of 75% to 80% for successful germination.
- Water must be above the seed. For seeds to germinate, they must be able to absorb water and oxygen from the water. Seeds will not effectively absorb water if there are other seeds or debris in the container that are trapping this precious resource.
- Water will help remove waste products from the developing roots of the seedling and keep them pliable, which helps them grow down into soil.
- Water is needed to keep the seed moist and prevents the seed from drying out and dying.
- Water prevents fungus, bacteria, mold, and other pathogens from developing on the seed or on the soil around the seed. Diseases and pathogens can destroy young seedlings if they are not killed when they germinate. Spores of fungi and bacteria can also damage seeds even as they are germinating.
- Water is needed to give the developing roots a supply of nutrients. If the seedling does not have water, then it cannot absorb the nutrients that are available in the soil.
- Water is needed to keep seeds warm and prevent chilling. Seeds give off a lot of heat while they germinate, and if the temperature around them drops too low, they can be damaged during this important stage of their development.
Can germinating seeds really help?
Seeds can really help in a number of ways. The main way they can help is by starting a new plant. Germinating seeds provide hope to people around the world who need fruits and vegetables in order to survive. They do so by saving seeds before their crops die out from natural disasters, disease, and other human-caused problems. Seeds can also be used for sustainable agriculture and agriculture with less land and water consumption needed for crop production.
Can immature seeds germinate?
Some seeds can germinate in the immature stage instead of only when they reach their true potential. This is usually because a process called “pre-germination” takes place. The reason for this is that some seeds are capable of living on their own for a while before they need to germinate. For example, small seeds, such as those of grasses, live and grow off the roots and stems in the soil under certain conditions.
Which seeds can germinate in the dark?
There are many seeds that can germinate in the dark. Some of these seeds include wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice, garden cress (Lepidium sativum), radish (Raphanus sativus), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and common chickweed. These seeds can germinate in any kind of environment as long as they have access to water and soil/soil particles.
Seeds that can germinate in colder temps?
Some seeds can also germinate at much colder temperatures than most other seeds. For example, these seeds include soybean (Glycine max), peas and corn (Zea mays), and some types of clovers. The exact process for how these types of seeds germinate at such cold temperatures remains a mystery, although there are many theories about it.
Seeds that can germinate in higher temps?
Certain seeds have a much higher temperature range that they can germinate in and still survive. For example, rice and sunflower and can germinate in temperatures of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, onion (Allium cepa) and some types of grasses can germinate in temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Seeds that cannot germinate without “bathing”?
Certain seeds, such as those in the onion family, cannot germinate without soaking them in water first. Some seeds need to be hydrated (soaked in water) in order to sprout; other seeds, such as onion, need to be hydrated to create a temperature that’s right for germinating. Soaking the seed can also soften the seed coat or coating of the seed for easier germination.
Soaking seeds is a natural germination process that helps seeds to become plants. Seeds that are “hard” or “dry” do not germinate easily, but those that are moist or hydrated do.
It’s easier to grow crops from seeds than from cuttings because putting them into the ground guarantees they have enough water and sun. Also, seeds keep their genetics over many years, which cuttings often don’t do.
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