It feels like ages waiting for the seeds to sprout out of the ground. If you're lucky enough, you may be planting seeds that only take a few days to germinate. The question is, how can you germinate seeds quickly?
Hiring a professional gardener makes it easy as they always have helpful tips on germinating seeds in a jiffy. Regardless of the type of seed, these tips work effectively. They include:
#1. Choose the Perfect Timing
The main aim of seed starting is to prepare your seedlings to sprout in the best weather condition. Sometimes, the seed packet may tell you when to start planting your seeds. However, there is usually an advantage to growing your seeds indoors because they will sprout and grow very fast.
#2. Prepare a Quality Soil
It's best to use a sterile, lightweight potting mix to grow your seedlings. Best avoid using or reusing soil from your yard. Start with a blend of peat moss, perlite, and lime for example. It’s best to moisten your soil before filling your germination containers. Pack soil firmly to eliminate gaps. I like plastic containers as they allow the roots to develop evenly and retain moisture well.
#3 Light Exposure
The three conditions for proper germination are: dark, moist, and warm. Most seeds germinate in the dark. Once they’ve sprouted the seedlings need about 16 hours of artificial light or 8 hours of direct sun to grow sturdy. If using fluorescent grow lights, it's a good idea to properly adjust the lights to about 4” above the seedlings as they grow. If using hotter lamps you will want the lights about 12” above seedlings as they grow. Rotate the containers if there is uneven growth among plants. If the plants are reaching too far for light, they will become leggy, weak, and won’t survive being transplanted outdoors.
#4. Water, Ventilation, and Nutrients
As your seeds sprout, one of the important steps on how to germinate seeds is by keeping the soil moist. You may use a mister or soft shower overhead setting when seedlings are tiny. Once they become more established, switch over to watering them from the bottom (like filling up the catch tray so the roots can pull the water up). Ensure proper ventilation by running a fan on a low setting to regulate air movement. Remember to regularly feed the seedlings with an organic liquid fertilizer like Monty’s or Fish Emulsion at the proper rate on the package.
#5. Gradual Outdoor Move
If you have been pampering your seedlings in the protected environment of your home, you will need to make a gradual move to the outer world. It's advisable to place your seedlings in a protected outer spot before you decide to set them in your garden. This process is know as “hardening-off” the plants. Expose them to the outdoors each day for a week, increasing in duration. For example, on day one leave them out for 1 hour, on day 2 - two hours, day 3 - three hours, and so on until the 6th or 7th day. By then they will have acclimated to the wind, sun, and temperatures for a higher likelihood of survival.
It may be difficult to wait for your seed to sprout, but the few tips mentioned above are very effective. At the end of the day, knowing how to germinate seeds quickly will help you get your plants started faster. Consult one of our Professional Gardeners for expert advice today!