There are a few steps you can take to make seeds germinate faster. Soak seeds in warm distilled water for 24 hours before sowing to soften the seed coat and speed up germination. You can also use a heat mat to keep seeds in the best temperature range to help them germinate quickly.
Hot water can penetrate the seed coat and can also kill pathogens, making it a useful tool for managing seed-borne pathogens. Treating your seeds with hot water can help prevent the establishment of seed-borne diseases on your farm, or prevent their reintroduction year after year.
Hot water seed treatment also has the beneficial effect of priming seeds, resulting in faster germination than untreated seed. However, it's important to note that while hot water seed treatment will kill pathogens on your seeds, it does not protect seeds or crops from disease and does not guarantee disease-free crops.
Speed Up Germination
Using warm water also helps speed up this process. While they have moisture levels that need to be met before they can germinate, seeds also have temperature sensors. These prevent the seeds from germinating when it is still too cold, risking damage to the new and vulnerable growth.
Distilled water is the best water for germinating seeds, sprouting, and plants of all kinds. One main reason why distilled water is preferred over tap water is that tap water contains salt, chlorine, and other chemicals that can build up in the plant's soil.
Examples of seeds that benefit from soaking include peas, beets, cucumber, corn, squash, pumpkin and beans. In a bowl, cover your seeds with warm water and leave to soak for 6-24 hours. Smaller seeds and those with thinner coats need the shorter time, and larger seeds with thicker coats need the longer period.
Either way, you don't want the seeds sitting in water. You want to have the soil or paper towel moist but not soaked. Let the soil mix dry out just a bit, but not completely, before wetting again. I use a spray bottle to keep my starting mixture moist.
Soaking your seeds in hot water held to a specific temperature will also break down the seed coating. But this one is a double-edged sword. Soaking seeds in hot water will help speed up germination but can come at the cost of lower germination rates.
Many factors affect seed germination, but the most challenging for gardeners and often least understood is soil temperature. While there is can be variation from one seed type to the next, most seeds for warm-season edibles prefer soil temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 and 26.7 Celsius).
Most seeds germinate when the soil temperature is between 68° and 86°F. Once germination occurs, the optimum growing temperature for the seedling is about 10°F cooler than the optimum germination temperature.
Answer: Most seeds germinate best when the medium temperature is consistently 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Placing containers in a warm location in the house, such as on top of a radiator or near a heat register, usually works fine.
This method could be the fastest way to germinate seeds. Place seeds in a shallow container in warm water and leave them for 16 to 24 hours (smaller for 16, bigger for 24). Remember not to expose seeds to temperatures higher than 80°F (26.6°C) and not to pre-soak seeds for more than 24 hours.
There is no scientific evidence that feeding plants sugar water is conducive to plant health, on the contrary, it can harm your plants and even kill them.
Light is not necessary for a seed to germinate, no. The majority of seeds grow most effectively in the dark. Light, which is essential for seedling growth, may actually hinder the germination process. The three primary and necessary conditions for a seed to germinate are water, oxygen, and temperature.
Move the container to a warm, draft-free spot where you can check it daily. Most seeds germinate best when the temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but check the information on the seed packet for specifics.
All seeds need water, oxygen, and proper temperature in order to germinate. Some seeds require proper light also. Some germinate better in full light while others require darkness to germinate.
Most of the seeds germinate best in dark environments. The presence of light tends to inhibit their growth. The light decomposes carbonic acid gas and expels oxygen which leads the seed to harden. These gases are key factors that promote germination.
High temperatures over 90 can kill the plant inside the seed.
The tables say the optimum temperature range is 40-75°F and the maximum temperature is 85°F. One year, after a frustrating time trying to germinate fall spinach, I took a closer look which revealed that spinach will produce 82% normal seedlings at 59°F, but only 52% at 68°F, and a miserable 28% at 77°F.
Their germination doesn't start to drop off until the soil gets to be over 90°F. The optimum temperature for lettuce is around 65°F and germination drops off rapidly after the soil heats up to the mid seventies. Spinach does best at 70°F, but by the time the soil is in the mid-80s, forget about it.
The Wrong Amount of Water
Too much or too little water is the most likely reason for seeds not germinating. With too little or no water, seeds remain dormant.
Soaking seeds supplies your plants a jump start right at the beginning of their lives. The water both softens the seed shell and supplies water to the seed interior. Once soaked, seeds and the plants inside them use that moisture to grow and push out new growth.
Until seeds have sprouted, keep the seed bed moist, never allowing it to dry out. Water with a fine-spray hose nozzle or watering can which will provide a fine misty spray and not wash away the soil. Water often enough (usually about once a day) so that the soil surface never dries out, but remains constantly moist.
One method to check for seed viability is the water test. Take the seeds and place them in a container of water. Let the seeds sit for 15 minutes. If the seeds sink, they are still viable; if they float, discard, because they probably will not sprout.
Make sure to strain and rinse the nuts or seeds after soaking to eliminate the residual water which contains the absorbed enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances. Once you have given them a good rinse, enjoy them immediately or store them in your refrigerator for later.