The Q&A Archives: Sprouting Issue

Question: I am a first-time gardener and on 3/2 I planted several flowers and vegetable seeds in clean yogurt containers (one seed per) with vermiculite, watered them well, covered them and placed them near a warm source. I have tomatoes, peppers, rosemary, parsely, and some other basic vegetables. The tomatoes, basil, marigolds sprouted. My rosemary, parsely, peppers and a few others have not. I am new to this so originally thought that in 2 days germination would occur and all at the same time. Now I know better, but what are general germination periods for seeds? Many days? If they do not sprout, should I simply plant a new seed or 2 in the same container then pull up one if both sprout? Sorry if I sound so simple, but being from NYC I was never able to garden until moving out of the city.

Answer: Seed starting can be an interesting process. Each seed type has its own requirements for heat and light, and some seeds sprout within days while others take weeks or months to appear. As long as you're using fresh seed, planting them at the proper depth and providing light and heat as required, your seeds will germinate. Rosemary, for instance, takes up to 21 days to germinate and requires temperatures of 70F degrees. Parsley can take 10-15 days (again at 70F degrees), and peppers need 14 days to germinate at 80F degrees. There are no general guidelines, other than the basics of moist seed starting mix, warmth and light for those seeds that require it. Exercise a little more patience - your seeds should sprout within the next few days.

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