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how to get seeds to germinate

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This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

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If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you know there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing the first tiny green shoots come up after you’ve planted seeds. To germinate seeds you will need to give them the correct type of soil and make sure they get the right amount of sun or shade, plus regulate the temperature so they don’t get too hot or cold. Read on to learn how to give seeds the right environment to germinate and grow.

After 7-14 days you should be able to see how many of the seeds have germinated. This will help you decide whether you want to replace them with a new packet.

Days to germination: This will give you an idea of when you can expect the seeds to start poking up through the soil. Most vegetables germinate between 7-14 days.

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Tips for How to Germinate Seeds for Seed Starting

It’s pretty fancy… it’s a plastic bag! After seeding and watering my containers or pots, I slide them into a plastic bag and seal it shut.

It’s usually not a problem to provide seeds with cooler temperatures during the seed starting process since most of our homes will be on the chillier side in late winter.

But, I have had difficulty getting peppers and eggplant to germinate in the past since they prefer such high soil temperatures.

Don’t use this mat with seeds like lettuce or onions because you may make the soil too hot for them to germinate well. (Been there, done that…)

You can purchase propagators which are designed for growing multiple fruit or vegetables from seed. These containers are perfect for the task at hand.

One of the great perks of growing your own plants and vegetables from seed is the fact that you’ll have so many choices to choose from – and you’ll be able to find the perfect seeds to suit you and your garden online or at your local garden centre. Remember to take note of your environment and pick seeds wisely, keeping in mind the environment you have on offer. You will need to pay particular attention to the requirements of the seed –lookout for water requirements, soil temperature, nutritional requirements, and desirable lighting for each species you consider.

There are so many benefits to growing from seed that you may choose to start planting and growing flowers and vegetables at home rather than buying them fully grown in store.

3) Pick Your Container

We suggest covering your container lightly with plastic sheeting/damp newspaper. This will act as a way to regulate and trap moisture and temperature. This is important as if your seeds dry out they will not germinate properly.

Normally, you should plant your seeds between 4-6 weeks prior to moving them outside, however, species do vary. Also, you may be required to plant your seeds indoors earlier than predicted or indeed later, all dependant on the weather at the time.

Many seeds do not need lighting to germinate while others do. You may need a source of heat and light as sunlight will most likely not suffice. Pick up a plant lamp to keep your seeds happy with lots of lights and heat. Please note: You may use a fluorescent lamp without trouble but you will need a white bulb to provide the right heat and light for your seeds without burning them. A heat mat may also be a good idea for plants that require extra heat.

Some seeds may require soaking before you plant them, whereas others do not. Make sure to check all the information on the packet as previously mentioned. If your seeds do require soaking, you will need to do so for several hours before adding to your growing medium.