5 Seed Germination Hacks
By now you’re well aware that sowing seed isn’t as simple as throwing seeds in the ground and watching them sprout. Read on to discover five easy tips to guarantee success with germinating seeds.
First on the list is timing. It seems obvious, but you need to start your seeds at the right time. Seeds started too late or too early will have a reduced germination rate overall and will take longer to sprout. Know your planting zone, (if you aren’t sure, go here) and thoroughly research the growing conditions of the plants you’ve chosen to grow from seed before you get started.
The easiest way to determine when to start seeds is to pick the date that you want to transplant the seedlings outside. Count backward the number of weeks required for those particular seedlings to be at peak health for transplanting, and sow your seeds on that date.
Another self-evident fat that bears repeating–start your seeds indoors for best results. In an indoor environment, you can control every aspect of the environment–heat, moisture, and lighting–nothing is left up to chance. If you are able, take this hack one step further and start seeds in a greenhouse or cold frame, to exponentially increase germination.
Lettuce and spinach are two vegetables that benefit from being started indoors. Smaller seeds have a thinner seed coat and fewer food stores than larger seeds, so they benefit from the extra protection. This is also true for larger seeds like sunflowers, which are sometimes eaten by birds and rodents before they’re even able to take root.
While a little bit of an investment, a heat mat will work wonders in your seed-starting room. These rubber mats fit nicely underneath standard seed trays and heat the tray from the bottom to raise the soil temperature. When used in conjunction with a thermostat, you can control the soil temperature in your seed-starting trays to a degree that is just perfect for the specific variety you’re germinating.
Whether you just need one heat mat or one fit for a commercial operation, Seeds ‘n Such has the heat mat to fit your needs. Instructions for use are printed on the mat, and be sure to purchase a thermostat to go with it!
Humidity domes are another useful tool for starting seeds. These domes are essentially plastic lids that fit over a standard seed tray. The lid works like a greenhouse to trap moisture and heat, creating a microclimate for your seedlings. Humidity domes may be short or tall, and some types even have vents to better manage humidity levels in the seed-starting tray.
The use of any humidity dome will noticeably improve germination, but the Germination Station with Extra-Tall Humidity Dome includes both a five-inch and seven-inch vented domes, in addition to a bottom tray, 72-cell insert, and heat mat.
Grow lights are another expense certainly worth investing in. While starting seeds by a sunny window certainly seems like a good idea, the seedlings always end up reaching for indirect sunlight, resulting in leggy seedlings. It’s much better to start seedlings under a grow light.
There are a number of grow lights on the market, but the best models for seed starting are always full-spectrum. Not sure how you’re going to hang your grow lights? Seeds ‘n Such has a tabletop full-spectrum fluorescent grow light system that comes with a stand and adjustable toggle so that the system moves with the seedlings as they grow.
Anyone can start seeds, but there are a few hacks that separate the wheat from the chaff. Investing in the above tools will make a world of difference in your seed-starting room. Why not try these five tried-and-true techniques this spring, and when they prove successful, pass on your new seed-starting knowledge with the other unenlightened gardeners in your life?