Germination is the very first step of growing. It is very hard to underestimate its importance, as extra stress is able to affect the future yield. In this article, we will go through the most reliable and simple method of germinating the seed.
Before getting into the details, I would like my dear growers to learn one thing by heart. The seed initiates germination when it gets moist. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to use clean water for this very first step. Dirty water is dangerous as it may infect the plant ruining the journey right from the start. Keep this in mind as a rule of thumb, because that is the moment when the future plant is the most fragile.
For some reason, many growers tend to go for quite risky and complicated germination methods. I bet you will be surprised but the easiest and most reliable way to germinate the seed is as straightforward as it can be. Just put it in the wet soil and do nothing but wait for 2-4 days. There are just a few rules that are essential to follow.
Stages of germination
1) Do not put the seed deeper than 0.5-1 centimeter into the soil. Otherwise, it may get in trouble going up. Make sure that you don’t saturate the soil, as waterlogged soil can do more harm than good.
2) Control the temperature and environment - the ideal temperature for enabling the growth is 20C. You can switch on your lamp if the temperature is lower than that. If it is lower than needed, feel free to place a heater not far from the pot. Keep an eye on moisture, the soil around the spot where you planted the seed must stay humid at all times.
3) Avoid using nutrients for the first 2 weeks. New growers often make this mistake thinking that it will boost the growth in the early phase. But in reality, it will just harm the plant by causing the chemical burn. It is a fact that the seed contains everything it needs for the first 2 weeks of development. Additional feeding runs the risk of burning the seedling out before it has had the chance to even begin growing. At this stage, plain water is the one and the only ingredient that is required to create a strong root system. If you are really keen on experimenting, you can try to add some root activators in the first few days. However, from my experience, it didn’t cause any notable positive effect. Nothing went wrong either.
Germinating seeds in the soil is not only the easiest way but also the safest one. Other techniques require transferring your recently sprouted seeds to a pot, so there’s a risk that the sensitive taproots can get damaged in transition. Other methods run the risk of seed rot. What’s more, there are no proven advantages to using these methods over germinating seeds directly in the soil.
WHAT IF THE SEED DOESN'T GERMINATE?
If you had done everything properly, but the seed still hasn't germinated even after several days, the primary reason for that matter might be its age. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean that the seed is completely lost. There are several techniques that have high chances of reanimating the old seed.
The problem with old seeds is not with the seed itself, but with their ability to absorb water, as over time their shell becomes too hard which makes it difficult for the water to come through. Therefore, in order to give birth to the future plant, we only need to thin the shell manually.
I suggest 2 extremely simple methods that worked like a charm for me over years. Both of them are easily achievable in a home environment. For the first one, you need nothing more but the matchbox. Put the seed in there and strongly shake it for 60 seconds. It will create small dents around the shell making it way easier to absorb the water.
For the second method, you would need a sharp knife and steady hands. Take your seed between your thumb and forefinger, and very gently run the knife along the ridge at a 90-degree angle. The ridge should come away, exposing the seed beneath. Carefully turn the seed around, and dislodge the ridge at the other end of the seed so it fully falls off. Now that this is done, you should be able to germinate your seeds as normal.
Hopefully, this small guide will help you to raise the ratio of germinated seeds. Wish you the best of luck with the growing projects.