Ever been disappointed by seeds that fail? Here’s how to make sure seeds germinate and save time too.
When it comes to gardening, the old tried and tested methods are always the best. My Father-In-law was a great gardener, and I often find myself relying on his wise and thrifty tips in my own garden. It’s important not to rush into things, as it’s often all about the preparation, and try not to cut corners in your eagerness to get going.
So although this tip does speed up the germination process, you do have to start a few days before you want to actually start sowing the seeds. This method works particularly well with larger seeds that have tough skins, and take a while to rehydrate before they activate.
How To Make Sure Seeds Germinate
- Start off by soaking them for a few hours or over-night to give them a head start and then drain off almost all of the water, leaving behind just enough to keep them moist.
- Put them in a sealed plastic bag, or tupperware and to make sure they remain damp, you can place them on a soggy piece of kitchen paper.
- Leave them somewhere warm but not hot, a bright window sill is perfect.
- After a couple of days, you’ll notice the seeds will swell a bit and their skins start to wrinkle and loosen. Soon after, the first signs of baby roots start to emerge.
- Keep them moist and make sure they don’t dry out, and when the roots are about an inch long they’re ready to pot up.
- Some of the seeds will be quicker than others, so allow a few more days for the slow coaches to catch up, but discard the ones which remain inert, at least you didn’t waste your time and patience on them!
- This way you only sow the seeds that have already germinated, and the little seedlings are much quicker to get established too, as they can’t wait to get growing.
- Once the seeds have produced their starting root, just place them lightly into some potting soil, with the root facing downwards. Try to handle them with care, any damage to the root at this stage could stop it developing into a healthy plant.
- This method is best for peas, mange tout, french beans, runner beans, sweetcorn, pumpkins and squash or any seeds that are quite substantial. With the pumpkin and squash seeds, just soak them until they start to plump up, but it’s not necessary to actually wait to see the root, they’re happier getting into the soil as soon as possible.