Ask a Question forum: Newbie wants to know about seed germination

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Name: Kim
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Someday, I want to be a gardener!
Shymaiden32
May 17, 2016 3:12 PM CST
I have read about the paper towel method of seed germination but I also have read that unless they are really tiny, you should soak your seeds first? what is the best method of seed germination? suggestions welcome!!
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 17, 2016 3:48 PM CST
Welcome! Kim. Different plant seeds have different requirements. Some need light, some need dark, some need damp chilling (stratification) before they will germinate, some need the seed coats abraded (scarification), some benefit from soaking first, some are negatively affected by soaking first, some need alternating temperatures, and so on.

It depends on what seeds you want to start, what their specific requirements are, and what you might have already done to break any seed dormancy (seed dormancy will prevent them from germinating even in otherwise perfect conditions) etc. Hope I haven't made this sound too complicated because it's not really, it's just a question of finding out what works best for the plant seeds you want to start.

If you let us know what you want to grow I'm sure we can help more Smiling
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
May 17, 2016 7:38 PM CST
Hi, Kim! Welcome to NGA. I like your screen name!

Big seeds with hard, thick coats often need to be scratched and soaked, just so the water REACHES the embryo!

Do any annual seeds need stratification or varying temperatures? Or only perennials?

If you're talking about vegetables, they tend to be easy or at least simple: either all they need is moisture, or that plus a little warmth. (Or in the case of lettuce - moisture and COOL soil.)

I often go to Tom Clothier to find a suggestion for hard-to-germinate seeds. But you need to know the "Latin name", and sometimes need to know more than one Latin synonym, since those darn taxonomists keep changing names to protect the innocent.

He also has a nice article about ideal seed germination temperatures: what makes them germinate fastest may not be the conditions that make the MOST of them germinate.

http://tomclothier.hort.net/

P.S. I don't do winter-sowing myself, but they will be quick to tell you that "stratification" is best done in a milk jug, on the back porch all winter, and then just shovel the sprouted seedlings into your garden.


Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
May 18, 2016 11:00 AM CST
There is also another nifty method for seed starting using vermiculite in small plastic tubs. Works very well for many types of seeds.
http://www.seedsite.eu/articles/sowing
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Kim
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Someday, I want to be a gardener!
Shymaiden32
May 28, 2016 12:13 PM CST
I guess I should get online and see what needs what...I bought a bunch of seeds, some bushes and shrubs, some grasses. I know one is pampas grass, sweet grass, white sage, burning bush, ect. I have always just bought the plant and never tried to germinate anything. I do like the idea of the winter thing and then just planting. I live in Oklahoma and have good soil, so just about anything will grow here as long as it can take the heat and humidity. I just noticed seeds were way cheaper and was hoping I could do this germination thing. I suppose it's too late in the season to try it now?
I Wish I had a Green Thumb!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 31, 2016 2:27 PM CST
Shymaiden32 said: ... I just noticed seeds were way cheaper and was hoping I could do this germination thing. I suppose it's too late in the season to try it now?


I totally agree that starting from seeds gives you more choices and is much cheaper ... but it is more work.

It might be a good time to plants beans outside, or any heat-loving plan for a summer crop. It's too early to plant fall crops.

Trees and bushes - I just don't know. I think of those as "very advanced" for seed-starting, but then, I never tried to start a tree or bush from seed.

Flowers ... perennials I think you can start almost any time as long as you know you might not get blooms the first year. But perennials tend to be small seeds and many of them need stratification - a lot for a first-time seed=-starter to pick up.

Can you start annual flowers late in the season and still get blooms before frost? I'm guessing that some will bloom the first year and some will be fussy. But I just don;t know. I tend to grow very easy flowers when I grow any, and I start them too early rather than maybe-too-late.

I hope you get some more helpful answers!



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