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germinating seeds

Step 2: Label your containers. Use a water-resistant marker to label your containers or bags.

It may be helpful to review this article on 10 Steps to Starting Seedling Indoors to get your seed starting area setup, and then follow the steps to pre germinate your seeds:

How to Pre-Sprout Seeds

About half the old seeds sprouted, and the rest were duds. I planted the sprouted seeds and watched the seedlings carefully to see if they would grow. I didn’t expect much from them, but they did grow into healthy transplants that were eventually planted into the garden.

After experiencing how easy it was to see which seeds germinated using paper towels, I decided to pre-sprout more of my indoor seedlings. I routinely pre-germinate tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, Swiss chard, melons, cucumber, squash, cilantro, spinach, and kale.

Step 3: Dampen your paper towels. Spray the paper towels with your spray bottle. You are aiming for the paper towels to be damp, not dripping. If you notice the water pooled in your container, dump out the extra.

Germination, the sprouting of a seed, spore, or other reproductive body, usually after a period of dormancy. The absorption of water, the passage of time, chilling, warming, oxygen availability, and light exposure may all operate in initiating the process.

Active growth in the embryo, other than swelling resulting from imbibition, usually begins with the emergence of the primary root, known as the radicle, from the seed, although in some species (e.g., the coconut) the shoot, or plumule, emerges first. Early growth is dependent mainly upon cell expansion, but within a short time cell division begins in the radicle and young shoot, and thereafter growth and further organ formation (organogenesis) are based upon the usual combination of increase in cell number and enlargement of individual cells.

Seed dormancy

Environmental factors play an important part not only in determining the orientation of the seedling during its establishment as a rooted plant but also in controlling some aspects of its development. The response of the seedling to gravity is important. The radicle, which normally grows downward into the soil, is said to be positively geotropic. The young shoot, or plumule, is said to be negatively geotropic because it moves away from the soil; it rises by the extension of either the hypocotyl, the region between the radicle and the cotyledons, or the epicotyl, the segment above the level of the cotyledons. If the hypocotyl is extended, the cotyledons are carried out of the soil. If the epicotyl elongates, the cotyledons remain in the soil.

The seeds of many plants that endure cold winters will not germinate unless they experience a period of low temperature, usually somewhat above freezing. Otherwise, germination fails or is much delayed, with the early growth of the seedling often abnormal. (This response of seeds to chilling has a parallel in the temperature control of dormancy in buds.) In some species, germination is promoted by exposure to light of appropriate wavelengths. In others, light inhibits germination. For the seeds of certain plants, germination is promoted by red light and inhibited by light of longer wavelength, in the “far red” range of the spectrum. The precise significance of this response is as yet unknown, but it may be a means of adjusting germination time to the season of the year or of detecting the depth of the seed in the soil. Light sensitivity and temperature requirements often interact, the light requirement being entirely lost at certain temperatures.

In the process of seed germination, water is absorbed by the embryo, which results in the rehydration and expansion of the cells. Shortly after the beginning of water uptake, or imbibition, the rate of respiration increases, and various metabolic processes, suspended or much reduced during dormancy, resume. These events are associated with structural changes in the organelles (membranous bodies concerned with metabolism), in the cells of the embryo.

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.