Germination: When a seed or spore begins to grow and put out shoots after a period of dormancy.
Seeds need to be stored in environmentally controlled conditions in order to ensure optimum germination and prolong their lives. When exposed to elements such as heat and moisture, the life of seeds can be gravely compromised. Have you ever noticed how seeds are stored at big box stores? Many times, they’re placed in the hot sun or near plants that get misted. The paper packets that these seeds are stored in do not protect them from these elements.
That’s why we store our seeds in environmentally controlled conditions up to the point of shipping. Before being shipped, seeds are packaged in re-sealable Mylar® bags which provide great seed protection, as well as the opportunity to plant now or later. And, if you are a seed saver, you can re-use your Mylar® bags to save seeds from the plants you grow. We pamper our seeds so much that we even play classical music to them in our storage facility.
While we do our part to ensure some of the highest germination rates around, there are other factors to consider for successful germination.
Soil Conditions That Affect Germination:
*Moisture. To trigger germination, adequate soil moisture is critical. Ensure the soil is moist, but never wet before planting. Also, remember to practice continuous watering throughout the germination period.
*Temperature: While most seeds will germinate in the spring (seeds prefer rising temperatures), some seeds perform better when planted in other seasons. Check which season or temperature works best for your seed prior to sowing.
*Consistency: While seeds can germinate in many different types of soils and surfaces, the best soil for germination is not rich. Salts and acids in rich soil can actually delay or stop germination, as many seeds prefer thin, sandy soil. Purchasing a Germination Mix from a reputable nursery or creating your own is your best bet.
Other Conditions To Consider:
*Storing seeds properly. Once purchased, keep seeds stored in a dry and cool place, such as in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Also, keep seed varieties separated from each other in clearly labeled packets. If stored in the right conditions, seeds will remain viable for years.
*Light exposure. Providing seed with the correct light exposure is as important as providing the correct soil conditions. Always check the seed packet instructions for the sunlight requirements. Some seed prefers the dark during the germination period, while others require sunlight. If the seed requires light, place the seed at the top of the soil’s surface. If the plant prefers the dark, plant the seed beneath the soil (and check the seed packet for recommended depth).
*Proper labeling. Label all of your seeds in the garden, as well as the date you planted them. While time consuming, this technique is key for determining proper germination rates. While some rely on good memory or keeping seedlings separated – many gardeners find that something always puts a wrench in the system. Labeling is the best practice for knowing when anticipated germination ought to begin, or when a seed can be transplanted outdoors.
Furthermore, keep a record book to note the date you planted, the time it took to germinate, whether you started your seed too early or late, and whether you grew too few or too many. Even better… record if everything was just right!
What are your tips for ensuring successful germination?