The Q&A Archives: No Seed Germination

Question: my dad in new jersey planted watermelon,cantelope,pumpkin,marigold,&sunflower seeds 3 weeks ago & only the sunflower seeds germinated. He purchased seed starting soil as recommemded & has been an advid gardener for many years. Any idea why the other seeds did not take & what do you recommmend? Could the seeds have been from a bad lot? Thanks

Answer: Watermelon, cantelope and pumpkin have a fairly narrow range of germination conditions. All require a warm soil to germinate as well as some sun. We had a very dry May followed, now, by some wet and cloudy weather. It may be that the seeds are simply waiting for the right combination of conditions.

It is possible that they began to swell due to being watered at planting but subsequently dried out and died. It is also possible that they rotted due to cold soil or overwatering, or that they germinated but were stolen by crows, slugs or another pest. Another possible explanation for poor germination would be that the seeds were not packed for this year or had been poorly stored or handled.

Your father could dig down a little and see if the seeds are still there and in good condition, in which case patience is the key. But if you think the cause was bad seed, please call Burpee directly at their customer service number, 1-800-333-5808.

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