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Do you ever find planting seeds, also known as seed germination, to be tricky? You’re not the only one. Although seed germination can seem somewhat difficult, planting seeds is an essential skill for the avid gardener. Luckily, seeds only need a few things to germinate. They need constant moisture, light, fluffy soil — preferably sterile — and optimal temperatures.
Many times, this is made possible by growing in a greenhouse. We know most urban growers don’t have the capability of growing in a greenhouse, so we want to show you a few ways you can replicate these results and get better germination and increase your success rate of planting by seed.
How to Increase Germination When Planting Seeds
Use Seed Starting Soil
First, make sure to use the right soil. Seed starting should begin in propagation mix or seed starting soil. This soil is specially formulated for seed starting. For one, seed starting or propagation mix is sterile, which helps to prevent “damping-off.”
Damping-off occurs when the little stalks of your seedlings get fuzzy with fungi soil-borne fungal disease, causing the rotting of stem and root tissues at and below the soil surface. The fungi will eventually kill the seedling. Seed starting mix will help you complete the next seed starting requirement, consistent moisture. Seed starting mixes have high amounts of peat moss that hold moisture.
Keep Seed Starting Soil Moist
In warm areas of the United States, it can be hard to keep tiny little seedlings constantly moist. By reducing the transpiration of water from the soil, you can help your starts stay moist longer. How do you do that? You can make a mini-greenhouse by covering your pots with some form of plastic. Be creative. You can use plastic wrap, a plastic lid, whatever!
For those who want to take a trip to a nursery, you can pick up a seed starting tray that will come with a plastic lid. This lid serves the purpose of keeping the moisture in. It will also help us with our next requirement for seeds starting, optimal temperatures.
Create Ideal Soil Temperatures When Planting Seeds
By placing a lid on top of your seed starting tray, you can help regulate the temperature. Every seed variety has a different optimal seed germination temperature. You can see a list here.
Soak Seed First When Planting Seeds Outdoors
You can soak the seed first to help seed germination happen quicker. Crops like beans and peas respond well to this. Keep in mind that you can only soak the seeds for about an hour or so without stirring or putting fresh water in the container. Seeds left in water for hours on end will deteriorate due to the lack of oxygen.