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germination guide

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Go easy on nutrients

If growing outside, some growers prefer to germinate seeds inside because they are delicate in the beginning stages of growth. Indoors, you can give weed seedlings supplemental light to help them along, and then transplant them outside when big enough.

A seed has germinated once the seed splits and a single sprout appears. The sprout is the taproot, which will become the main stem of the plant, and seeing it is a sign of successful germination.

If you don’t like the flavor, effects, or even the look of the bud, then it’s probably not worth growing.

If seedlings are dying off, something else in the process is causing a problem and you need to figure out what it is. Is the soil too wet or too dry? Are seedlings damping-off due to fungal pathogens? Does the soil mix lack nutrition? Are air temperatures too hot or too cold? Are seedlings getting enough light? There are many cultural and environmental conditions that must be met to keep seedlings happy.

For new gardeners, the first step of growing a beautiful and productive garden may seem to be the most difficult. How to start plants from seeds? In actuality, the germination of vegetable seeds is the most straightforward part of growing a garden. You just need to understand what seeds need and the correct tools to do it with. Gardening is a noble, intellectual, and passionate pursuit that anyone can do, and it all starts from an ordinary, humble seed.

If these three requirements (moisture, temperature, and air) are met, and fresh seed is used, you should get a high germination rate. If your seed germinates, and then your seedlings die, this is not because the seed is “bad”. All a seed has the capacity to do is germinate. That’s it!

Common Seedling Problems

The most optimum temperature for seed germination is in the middle of this range. Tools needed to achieve proper soil temperatures are simple but necessary. Use a soil thermometer and employ use of a good Seedling Heat Mat, for seed germination success.

By definition, a seed is “the fertilized, matured ovule of a flowering plant, containing an embryo or rudimentary plant.”If you provide the seed with exactly what it needs to sprout, it will, in turn, grow into a plant that has the ability to provide us with a bounty of fruits we can eat, preserve, or share. This is quite a magical thing when you stop to think about it. We gardeners should never take this for granted, no matter how proficient we become at starting plants from seeds.

The soil temperature must be warm enough around the seeds for them to germinate. If it’s too hot, seeds “cook”. If it’s too cold, seeds will stay dormant or simply rot. All vegetable varieties have an optimum range of soil temperatures for proper seed germination. Here are a few examples:

If a plant becomes infected with a disease, or the plant produces inadequate to no fruit, this has nothing to do with the seed. Failures of fruit production like the size, quantity, or quality of the fruit, relates to care and the environment a plant is growing in, not the seed itself.

Before we jump straight into the germination methods, there are a couple of germination golden rules. For the best results, we recommend staying within these guidelines, no matter how you choose to germinate. That being said, of all the factors to consider, temperature is one of the most critical. Seeds will always seek out even the smallest amount of moisture, but they use temperature as a sign that they need to do so.

Timescales can vary, as it all depends on how ideal your germination environment is (see the golden rules above). Even the worst grower could make a seed germinate, but it may take a few weeks and, of course, increases the risk of a weaker plant.


After 3–5 days, the seeds will start to open, and you should see tiny white tips appear. Once these roots reach 2–3mm in length, use extreme care to transfer them from the water to pre-prepared soil pots.

The Royal Queen Seeds Feminized Starter Kit contains:

The dome of the plastic container will create your seeds’ own mini tropical climate. If you then place all the components in a temperature-controlled cupboard, you will have created a self-perpetuating supply of moisture—no need to touch the seeds again until they are ready to be transferred to your final growing medium as a young seedling. Using the stone wool block method, your seeds should germinate in one to two days.