The Q&A Archives: Comparing Germination Rates

Question: My son is comparing seeds from different companies for a science project (marigolds). He is testing to see which seeds will germinate first. Can you give us information about Burpee seeds that will help?

Answer: I'm not really sure what information I can give you that will help. Burpee carries lots of different types of marigolds (three pages worth!) and they may all differ slightly in their germination times according to type. Also, a big factor in germination time is simply how deeply you plant the seeds, and how much water they receive. Unless you are using the exact same varieties of seeds, and planting them at the exact same depth, I'm not sure your son will get much useful information out of the experiment.<br><br>Here are a few ideas for other interesting germination experiments:<br><br>Plant seeds at different depths, and see which germinate the quickest; continue the experiment to see if there is any difference in growth rate.<br><br>Place pots with seeds in different locations with different temperatures--for example, in the refrigerator, on a sunny, warm windowsill (or on the top of the 'fridge, if it's warm there), and at regular room temperature. Compare germination.<br><br>Pre-soak one set of seeds, and plant another set dry, and compare germination times.<br><br>If you can be really specific about what information you'd like, I may be able to help you more.

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