Poor Seed Germination - Knowledgebase Question

Nanticoke, PA
Question by Nammach
February 12, 1998
Been starting my plants indoors for almost 40 years with good results; but this year, my seeds germinate at a poor 25 percent rate. Is it possible I have bad seed?


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Answer from NGA
February 12, 1998

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If you purchased fresh seed this year, are using sterilized seed starting mix, provided adequate heat and water, you should have at least 90% germination of your seeds. Why not try again after washing your seeding flats with a 1:9 ratio of household bleach and water and rinsing well before filling the trays with soilless mix? Be careful not to bury the seeds too deeply - about twice the depth as the seed is wide is a good rule of thumb. Put the flats in a warm place such as on top of the refrigerator or near the water heater. To help hold moisture, cover the flats with plastic wrap until the seeds germinate and then remove the plastic and put the flats under a source of bright light. Following these suggestions should result in nearly 100% germination ofyour seeds.

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