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how to germinate seeds

Germinating your own garden seeds instead of purchasing seedlings is fun and saves you money to boot. However, seeds are delicate and may require coddling during germination and when transplanting them to their final location. There are two popular home gardener methods for germinating seeds:

Unless you have a hydroponic garden, the soil is where your seeds are destined to live after sprouting. Starting your seeds directly in small pots or seedling trays filled with a good quality soil will eliminate one transplanting step.

Starting Seeds in Soil

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Paper towels, filter paper or even newspaper provides an excellent medium for germinating seeds. They are pathogen-free and make it easy to control the moisture content for proper germination. This method also takes the guesswork out of knowing if your seeds have germinated since you can easily observe them.

Some seeds need to be soaked in water (this is called pre-soaking) to soften the seed’s coat, but to germinate an avocado seed, there’s no need for that. Rather, you can use a toothpick to balance it in the mouth and allow the roots to grow and feed on the water.

If you can germinate seeds in a cup of water, you can also sprout them using a sponge! This is a great idea if you are thinking of having fast-growing seeds. Note, though, since a sponge doesn’t have a lot of space available, you can’t have too many seeds in one.

In A Cup

There you have it, my fellow homesteaders! Here are 5 ways on how to germinate seeds the easiest and fastest way possible. Many of the things you need are found in your home, so all you need is some creativity and imagination, and you can make the process even more fun.

I love using toilet paper rolls or cartons to organize my wires, but you can also use them for seed germination. They’re scalable, which means you can add as many toilet rolls as you like in a container depending on how many seeds you wish to sprout.

Learning how to germinate seeds fast involves knowing the factors that affect its growth. These include water, light source (sprouts grow toward the light), type of germinated seed, type of soil, and season. Different seeds require different quantities and needs for each of these elements, so doing your research FIRST before you start the process of seed germination is important. Needless to say, this guide will give you the basics.

Warning: You must check your germination chamber frequently. Once most of the seeds in a tray or pot have “popped” (broken through the soil with the first leaves) you need to take the plants out of the chamber and put them under the lights.

Soil temperature is one of the most critical factors in determining whether your seeds germinate evenly. If the soil is too warm, cool weather vegetables like lettuce may not germinate at all.

In the past, peppers especially would sometimes take up to three weeks to germinate! With a supplemental heat source, they often germinate in less than 10 days.

Tips for How to Germinate Seeds for Seed Starting

There’s also a concern about plant vigor or viability. As a seed ages, its ability to produce a healthy and vigorous seedling declines. So, a seed might germinate, but the plant might not grow very well.

When you take the time to understand the needs of the seeds you’re planting at home you can greatly increase your success, and greatly decrease the potential frustration that can accompany the seed starting process.

When this happens, I often don’t realize it for several weeks after planting, and that means I’ve already lost a lot of time. My garden season is too short and I’d rather spend the few extra dollars on new seeds to ensure I’ll have more success.

After observing how much better my pepper, eggplant, and tomato germination is with extra heat I would never plant these seeds without using one of those two tools.