This guide has been designed to give you a little insight in to germinating seeds,
There are several factors that can affect the germination of different types of seeds, The main factors are: Water (moisture), light (or dark), oxygen and heat all play a part in triggering the germination process, It is advised that you do a little research on the natural environment in which the seeds that you are trying to grow would normally thrive in, Being able to re-create these conditions will help you in germinating your seeds, However it is worth remembering that even with ideal conditions some seeds are still very difficult to germinate.
Guide to germinating seeds
When trying to germinate seeds it is helpful to remember that seeds are made up of three different parts: The outer protective coat, A food supply under the seed coat (Endosperm) and an embryo of a young plant,
Water is essential in the early stages of the seeds germination. The water penetrates the hard seed coat and causes the endosperm to swell. The seed coat will then soften and split open as the endosperm swells. The water will also dissolve nutrients in the endosperm making them available to the embryo and then the growing begins. The seeds must be constantly moist but not wet and any dry period may cause death of the sprouting embryo.
The presence of light can stimulate or inhibit a seed’s germination. This depends on whether the seed should be sown below the surface of the growing medium or on the surface. This is where it is advised that you do a little research on the particular seeds your trying to grow.
Oxygen is also required by the seed for it to begin germinating. The seed must respire to break down the food stored in the endosperm. This is one reason for using light, and well-aerated growing medium for starting seeds.
Every seed has an optimum temperature range for germination. Many seeds have a fairly wide temperature range for germination, but some are limited to a narrow range. The temperature range is usually given on the seed packet or in the catalog.
Temperature is a key factor in the germination process. This temperature will vary from seed to seed and yet again this is where it is advised to research the particular seeds, If you are trying to germinate more tropical plants in colder climates you can achieve this through buying heating pads which are placed under germination containers, Humidity domes and lighting systems can also help with germination , However simpler and free solutions include setting the pots on radiators, refrigerator or in a sunny window to provide the bottom heat. However remember these locations may be too hot and cause the soil to dry quickly. One tip is to place your seeds in some wet tissue paper sealed in a plastic sandwich bag this can be then placed in an airing cupboard or next to a boiler or any other warm place, However remember to check the seeds as when they swell and sprout they will need transferring to their growing medium with plenty of light.
Once germination occurs the hard part is normally over and a different, usually lower, temperature may be required for optimal growth of the seedlings.
NEVER LET THE SEEDS DRY OUT!
Things you might need
It is always advised to be prepared and to make sure that you have the required materials, The basics are Pots, containers, labels, water resistant marker (for any labeling) and a growing medium which can be soil, peat, compost, rockwool, Coconut Fiber or Vermiculite, other items that can be useful for harder to grow seeds can be heat pads, Propagators, Electric Propagators, Humidity dome and there are many different lighting systems that can be used, many of these products can be found in garden centers or on the Internet.
Published in: Gardening