Watching your own plant grow from seeds is one of the most satisfying experiences. But, getting the first stage right is very crucial. When a seed is in the process of germination, it requires a certain number of conditions to develop. The temperature must be right and adequate water, sunlight, and oxygen should be present. Every plant is unique and while some germinate easily, others are quite a challenge. Here, we are going to discuss the most common and effective ways to germinate seeds. You can choose the germination methods that suit your needs the best.

1. Scarification

Scarification is a method to penetrate the seed so moisture can enter it. It happens naturally when seeds go through disruption by extreme temperatures, harsh winds, and fire. Once the seed coat cracks, oxygen and water can enter it and it can begin to germinate. 

Perennials like moonflower or lotus, annual flowers like morning glory, and other plants like okra, strawberries, and bean seeds could need scarification as they have a thick shell.

Here’s how you can scarify manually when these natural conditions aren’t present-

  • Start by rolling seeds over a file or sandpaper.
  • When you notice the seed coat changing colour, they are ready. Avoid damaging the seed from the inside. 
  • You may even take sandpaper to line a container with and shake vigorously for a minute so the seeds can crack.
  • For the next step, you need to cut the seed coat on the opposite end of the surface that appears to be an ‘eyespot.’ as this is where the root will appear. Again, avoid damaging any tissue within the seed.
  • Take lukewarm water and soak the seeds in it for 12-24 hours. 

2. Planting

Planting is one of the easiest and fastest methods for the germination of seeds. How deep the seed should be sown depends on the size of the seed. Seeds that are larger like beetroot and peas must be planted a little deeper than the smaller variety. 

  • Sow the seeds and cover them firmly with soil so that the seed surface comes into contact with it. 
  • Keep moistening the soil by watering the seeds.  
  • You will soon start noticing them germinating by themselves and sprouting through the soil’s surface

3. Cold stratification

While some seeds have a soft shell like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, which can be sprinkled into the soil, others are tougher in their outer shell strength. The harder shells help them prevent them from sprouting when the weather isn’t cold. You need to provide a cold so that you can germinate the seed yourself.  

Seeds like lavender, false sunflower, and perennial sweet pea may need cold stratification to break their dormancy cycle.

There are many ways you may apply the stratification method including using peat moss and water or sand and water. Here we will discuss the soaked paper towel method.

  • Take a handful of seeds and soak them in water.
  • Drain the water using a paper towel.
  • You will need to wrap the seeds in a paper towel next
  • The moist paper towel needs to wrap around in a dry paper towel so it remains moist but doesn’t become too damp.
  • Keep this in a zip lock and seal it.
  • You may put a label on the zip lock with the name of the variety and the date.
  • Place them in your refrigerator for a month-long period before you plant them in the soil.
  • If you notice that the seeds have begun to sprout in the bag while still in the refrigerator, immediately remove them and plant them in a container or on the ground until ready for outdoor plantation.

4. Sprouting

There are some seeds like fenugreek, alfalfa, radish, cabbage, and broccoli which may be consumed with their sprouted root and a tiny stem attached. They are never sowed into the ground outdoors to be grown into a matured plant. For seeds like these, you can germinate them by the sprouting method. Here’s how:

  • Thoroughly wash the seeds and place them in a jar which has a drainage lid or a bag.
  • You may water the seeds frequently during the day to moisten them.
  • Continue for a few days depending on the variety of the seed you want to see sprouting.
  • Soon you will have for yourself sprouted seeds which are ready to be eaten.

Every method has its own pros and cons, so choose one wisely depending on the variety of seeds and conditions that are available for you. You may try all the methods and experiment with which one is best suitable to develop the seeds into the next stage of growth.