How to Germinate Seeds in Steps?
You always have the option to get some ready-made plants in a store but what’s more fun is growing your own plants from scratch.
You get to choose which plants you want to grow at the same time saving yourself a lot of money.
Besides that, the whole phenomenon of seed germination is one of the most rewarding and relaxing parts of gardening activities.
For that reason, germination is a part of gardening that you can’t afford to miss.
My favorite moment especially is the time when the seeds begin to sprout. You just sit and watch as what were seeds a few days ago yield into some gorgeous blooms and lip-smacking fruits in your garden.
Healthy seedlings after germination under the right conditions
In that case, below I will walk you through what seed germination is, the process of preparing seeds for germination, the step by step stages of germination as well as ways in which you can speed up the germination process.
This will give you a better understanding of the entire germination process of seeds.
What is Seed Germination?
Have you ever wondered what happens until the seeds get to the stage where they sprout? Well, basically, germination is the budding of a seed after being planted in the soil.
For most of the non-dormant seeds, germination starts right after the seed has been provided with the ideal conditions for germination.
This includes water and the temperature levels among others.
When the seeds take in water during germination, they tend to expand hence enzymes present in the seeds as well as the food supplies become well hydrated.
This activates the hydrated enzymes, in turn, facilitating the metabolic activities of the seeds.
This helps in the production of enough energy for the germination process.
More to that, the water drawn into the seed increases the turgor pressure which leads to expansion of the cells. Most of the seeds remain dormant after germination until the conditions are suitable for growth.
This is because for germination to occur there are certain conditions that must be met.
This includes; oxygen, temperature, light, and water. Under the ideal conditions, seeds take in water and oxygen as it enlarges.
During this time the seed coat breaks open giving way for the root radicle to emerge followed by the plant shoot.
In short, germination is the very initial stage of general plant development.
Preparing Seeds for Germination
Gardening is always a favorite activity to most people but any of the avid gardeners will agree with me that gardening can at times also get costly than expected.
One of the best ways to cut these costs is planting seeds that were harvested earlier from last season’s plants.
However, as simple as it seems, you need to know that planting the fresh seeds from the garden is not just sticking them into the ground.
There is more to it than what meets the eye.
Once seeds have been harvested they take several stages in the preparation process before being planted.
Each plant always has unique seed preparation requirements.
Therefore, if you are a beginner it is advisable you first choose the seeds that are easy to prepare indoors.
Such seeds include tomatoes, basil, cosmos, and marigolds among others.
Also, before anything you need to understand that for proper germination to take place, seeds need considerable amounts of light.
Otherwise, your plants will only get weak and leggy when they germinate.
Below are some steps that you need to follow through seeds preparation in order to increase the chances of successful germination as well as plant growth.
For germination to occur there is the need to meet the ideal requirements
Step 1; the very first step is placing the seeds which are still in pods in something like a paper bag then folding the top part down to seal it.
Proceed by shaking the bag until the seeds detach from the pods.
Pick out any seeds you see then throw away the pods.
After that, you can pour all the collected seeds onto a paper.
Step 2; immerse any seeds with wet membranes into a bowl of cold water.
Such seeds include the pumpkin and tomato seeds.
The seeds may feel slimy in your hands when you touch them.
Ensure you entirely rub the outer cover of the seeds using your fingers until the membrane is completely removed. After you are done with that, scoop all the seeds and place everything on a piece of paper.
Step 3; proceed and immerse a small piece of the medium-grit sandpaper into the glass jar with the rough sides facing the inner part of the jar.
Proceed and pour in seeds of the same variety in your jar then re-place the lid back on.
You should shake the jar until the seeds are scarified.
Scarification involves scratching the outer seeds coat of a seed so that germination will happen with ease.
However, you should not scarify the tiny seeds.
Step 4; submerge already prepared seeds into a bowl filled with water.
Leave the seeds for them soak in for about 2 hours.
During this time, the seeds will absorb moisture.
Proceed and scoop them out immediately after.
Here you can use two or more separate bowls for each seeds variety.
Some seeds could be taken for planting immediately after this step.
Step 5; for any vegetable seeds ensure that you dip them into a disinfectant solution.
This helps to kill any bacteria or fungi. If not eliminated the two could grow later and kill the plant.
Also, you can dip the seeds in a bleach solution then leave them to soak for two minutes.
From here, you should scoop the seeds then leave them to dry.
The Steps of Seed Germination
The step by step germination of seeds
This is the first step in seed germination. Imbibition involves absorption of water by the dry seeds.
Imbibition leads to swelling of the seeds since at this stage the cellular constituents of the seeds get hydrated. The seeds tend to swell with a great force and it may even rapture the seed coat.
This enables the radicle to emerge out in the form of a primary root.
Imbibition occurs due to the rehydration of the structural as well as the storage macromolecules present in the seeds.
This includes the proteins, cell wall, and the storage polysaccharides
⦁ The Lag Phase
After the imbibition of water into the seed, there is the resumption of metabolic activities in the seed.
This is because the water activates their internal physiology. Also, the cells respire as seeds begin to make proteins and metabolize the stored foods.
Before that, the respiration was anaerobic since there was the production of energy through glycolysis.
However, after imbibition, it becomes aerobic since there is the entry of oxygen into the seed.
And it is for this reason that the seeds of the water plants can still germinate under the water since they utilize the dissolved oxygen.
In short, the seeds germinate in accordance with how they are adapted to the environment.
⦁ Mobilization of the Reserves
During the process of germination, the embryonic cells resume their metabolic activities as they undergo division and expansion.
During this stage, there is the need to digest the stored fats, proteins and starch stored in the seeds.
These cellular conversions take place since the seeds use energy produced during the aerobic respiration.
Also, depending on the nature of the seeds, its food reserves could be stored in the endosperm or cotyledons mainly.
The outer layer of the seeds secretes hydrolyzing enzymes that cause the breakdown of stored foods such as proteins and starch.
In that case, all the insoluble foods are rendered soluble and the complex foods, on the other hand, are broken down.
The simpler nature of food solutions that majorly contain amino acids and sugars. They are then diluted by water and channeled through the cotyledon towards the growing hypocotyl, epicotyl, radicle, and plumule.
⦁ Development of the Embryo Axis
After the food has been translocated in the seeds followed by the assimilation, the embryonic cells become very active metabolically.
This is where the cells grow in size until the divisions start to aid in the formation of the seedlings.
How to Germinate Seeds Quickly?
Germination of seeds can at times be frustrating especially when you are a beginner in gardening niche.
Also, while some seeds grow easily others do better when they are started out in a controlled environment.
Therefore, if you would like to improve the success rate of your germination process, I would recommend that you follow the steps below carefully.
These tips will help you create the right conditions for your seed germination so that they sprout faster.
Water your seeds regularly to achieve successful and quick germination
⦁ Ensure there is enough light
No matter the category, all seeds need enough light for them to grow properly.
Even a south facing window is never enough to supply your seeds with enough natural light for healthy growth to occur.
Lack of enough light during germination may derail the process and your plants will most likely not make it to maturity when healthy.
In that case, you may need to add a bit of artificial lighting system to increase the success rate of the germination process.
If you want the best for your plants, it’s not as expensive as you think to install the lighting.
⦁ Include the self-watering seed starting systems
The self-watering systems are now a common technology especially when starting the germination of seeds indoors.
You should never start your seeds in the peat pots as they tend to dry out too fast.
With the self-watering system, you are sure that your seeds will always have the required amount of water for successful germination to take place.
However, you could also maintain a daily regular watering system for your seedlings.
This ensures that the soil never goes completely dry since seeds need enough water for them to be able to break the dormancy.
In such a case, you may need to water your seedlings twice a day. In the morning and in the evening. All in all, do not over water the seedlings.
⦁ Use the right medium for germination of the seeds
For you to realize successful germination of your seeds you need to know the right growing medium for them.
Not all seeds will do well when grown directly in the soil and others will not do well when first germinated indoors. In that case, you need to know which medium is compatible with the specific seeds you have.
This is because seedlings are very susceptible to a certain dreaded fungus known as the damping off.
If you ever wake up to fine seedlings only for you to realize the next day that they have keeled over and are so dead, you definitely know you have the damping off.
A soil-less seed starting mix is the ideal solution to preventing seedling diseases.
⦁ Ensure that you feed your seedlings
Initially seeds get all the required nutrients they need from the seeds.
But when you start seeing signs of some leaves you may have to feed the seedlings with a diluted solution of the liquid fertilizers.
Otherwise your seedlings will look feeble and unhealthy after germination.
⦁ Maintain a good ventilation and wind
Normally, the seeds are meant to be planted outdoors.
In that case, for proper germination to take place, they should get wind, rain and sun.
When we plant seeds indoors, we deny them the elements they are supposed to experience from the natural world.
You shouldn’t be surprised that planting seeds in a confined room without any moving air might be a very bad idea.
This is because wind is an important factor that helps the seedlings to develop a strong root system and stems too.
Therefore, if you must have your seeds indoors you need to find a way to approximate wind.
One of the most effective ways to do this is lowering a fan near your seedlings.
This way, your plant will be very sturdy when they mature.