Gardening

Seed Germination

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Every gardener knows planning is everything when it comes to starting a garden.  Where do I put the garden?  What kind of soil do I need?  How big of a garden will I enjoy maintaining?

Enjoyment is key.  If you aren’t having fun doing it then it will cause more stress than it’s worth.  

But one of my favorite questions to ask is:

What kinds of vegetables do you truly like to eat?

If you can’t imagine yourself eating it or if you don’t usually like it, don’t grow it.

Another big thing to take into consideration is if you have children, how you may want to select things with them in mind.  Because I have children, I think about what kinds of foods are kid friendly (easy to pick & eat).

Thinking back to my childhood, I learned a lot spending time in the garden and snacking on the fruits of our labor and loving every minute of it.

I have many fond memories spending summer days in the garden, picking vegetables and eating them while helping gather the harvest. ? 

It’s an awesome way to get your kids to eat their veggies. 

Pick vegetables that are easy for kids to pick and eat.

My oldest LOVES kale… how many little kids do you know like kale?  Not many.

My siblings and I learned about working hard on the farm and getting rewarded by seeing all of our hard work pay off at harvest time.

It really was a priceless experience for families. It instills hard work ethic and brings families together and teaches teamwork. 

Since my oldest was a toddler, I’ve always had her be very involved in the gardening process.

She’s helped me find a plot location for the beds, till up the dirt with her little hand trowel, plant seeds, water, harvest & eat.

Now she loves eating veggies from our garden and can identify all types of plants and even pests & beneficial insects.

Kids are like little sponges for sure and retain much more than you would imagine. Gardening is an amazing school of nature.

Great little starter gardening kits to get kids interested.

Kids truly thrive doing hands on activities that give rewards such as gardening. Caring for a living plant and watching it grow everyday, to then being able to enjoy eating it, is a great experience for anyone at any age!

I digress, back to seed germination…

After I think about these questions:

  • Where do I put the garden? (Is there enough sunlight?)
  • What kinds of vegetables do I truly like to eat? (Don’t grow things just for them to go to waste.)
  • How big of a garden will I enjoy maintaining?

I then buy seeds or use seeds I’ve saved from last years crops. I always like to have a little sketch diagram of my garden layout and where I plan to plant everything. But you can also use an online garden planner.  Try this free online planner.

Each year it’s good to change location of where you grow each type of vegetable.  Different vegetables help enrich the soil and take other nutrients out of the soil.  It’s also good to keep track from year to year so you can see how different areas of your garden are affected in a good or bad way.

After planning the garden out, and it’s about 6-2 weeks, (depending on seed variety), before the last frost, we can start seed germination.

Check out when your zones last frost date is. Use that to determine when to start your seeds indoors.  Some plants can even be started outdoors when its still cold!

4 Germination Methods

There are a few different ways gardener approach seed germination.  Each method works and its about personal preference on which method you choose to practice.  With all these methods the most important thing to remember is to keep the seeds warm and wet.  Without both these things, seeds will not germinate.

Paper Towel Method

This method is super inexpensive and an effective way to test the viability of your seeds.  It’s important to make sure the seeds you’re trying to grow are viable in order to grow and turn into a healthy plant. 

Sometimes when you try to germinate seeds, the seeds simply don’t ever germinate or they are old and take a longer time to sprout. 

Get a clear plastic bag or container, and wet paper towels.  Place seeds in between two pieces or folded paper towels and close the container/bag.  Leave the container/bag in a warm area. 

I always leave them in a window where the sunlight can enter the container and naturally warm the seeds.

Within a week or so you should see the seeds begin to sprout.  Once you see they have sprouted, you can then put the seeds into starter cells. 

If its warm enough and the threat of frost is over, directly sow them into the ground outside or in a greenhouse.

Rockwool Method

A benefit with this method is that you don’t have to move your seeds once they sprout – The medium they sprout in can be transferred to soil or hydroponics for growing.

Poke a hole in the rockwool. Make the hole is just large enough for the seed to fit. The hole should be about 0.5” – 1.0” deep.

Drop the seed down and close the top of the hole. Don’t pack the seed down in there and don’t seal the hole up too tight. 

Rockwool

Place rockwool on a seeding tray and water generously.  Cover with a clear plastic dome over tray and place in a warm area or put on top of a heating mat.

Submersion Method

Get a cup fill it with an inch of un-chlorinated water, use bottled water or allow tap water to sit out for 48hrs for chlorine to dissipate.

Place seeds in water and replace the water daily until seeds sprout. 
Once you see they have sprouted, you can then put the seeds into starter cells. 

If its warm enough and the threat of frost is over, directly sow them into the ground outside or in a greenhouse.

Directly Sowing into Soil

Directly sow two seeds per hole at whatever distance apart the seed species requires as per seed packet states.  Make sure seeds stay warm and moist to promote growth. 

Once seeds are sprouted to a couple inches high, thin out the plants and leave only the strongest, and healthiest plants to grow to maturity.

This will allow your plants to grow big and strong, therefore will produced more for you.

Now it’s your turn to experiment and try out the methods you feel will work best for you. 

Let us know how they turn out in the comments. Good luck!

Chelsea
<p>I'm a fun loving, outgoing mom who loves working in the garden, baking/cooking, and crafting/DYI. </p> <p>Check out some other articles I've shared in my blog post section. </p> <p>Leave me a comment about some projects you've done or something you're interested in learning more about.</p> <p>Thank you for visiting!</p>
http://www.homefreestead.com

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