How To Germinating Seeds For Planting
It’s spring and us gardeners are sitting with the seed catalog, planning this season’s garden. It’s finally time to start seeds indoors and I have already talked about which seeds you can start early indoors and also how we make our own seed pots from recycled materials.
The waiting game once you have planted your seeds is to see if they will sprout and some can take a long time. One way to speed up the waiting time is by germinating your seeds first and here is how to germinate seeds for planting.
First of all, make sure you use good quality seeds, this is essential for successful germination. One way is to save your own seeds, otherwise only buy seeds from a reputable supplier and seeds that are as local as possible. Seeds do lose their viability over time so make sure to only buy from a reliable source. Second, make sure that the seeds you’re planting are suitable to grow in your grow zone. You can look for your local cooperative extension service who can advise on the best plants for your area.
Now let’s germinate your seeds and seeds begins germinating once they are exposed to warmth and moisture.Instead of just planting the seed in some moist soil, you can pre-sprout the seeds before they are planted to speed up the germination and to know if your seeds are viable.
There are two ways I pre-sprout my seeds:
1. Put the seeds in a shallow bowl and cover with water as you would a bean seed before cooking. You want to just soak the seeds for it to swell which usually means 8-12 hours. I usually soak them overnight. You can over soak the seeds which may cause them to decompose.
2. You can also sprout them on a damp paper towel by simply placing seeds between damp paper towels and keeping the towels moist for the days it takes to germinate. Here is a great tutorial how to use the paper towel method.
While you want for your seeds to sprout, prepare your own seed starting mix:
- 1/3 homemade compost
- 1/3 leaf mold
- 1/3 garden soil
Once your seeds begin to have tiny roots it’s ready to plant so carefully transfer the seeds to your planting mix and cover with a thin layer of planting mix. Keep mix moist with a spray bottle.