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Hi all! I have a moderate amount of vegetable gardening experience and I'm looking to fine tune my methods. I've noticed that my seed germination rates are somewhat below average. I'm very low maintenance in general, starting the seeds in a loose mix with lots of peat, in nursery pots in my east facing garage window (no supplemental light) once the cotyledons are fully opened, I start moving them outdoors unless the temps will be too low (I'm in a warm climate).

This works okay, but this year I had more duds than usual, including a rare native plant I don't have many seeds for.

Do any of you have any other methods you prefer? I've tried plastic bags and using plastic domes and always run into mold issues.

Once the plants have true leaves I feel totally confident in their care, but I don't want to waste any more hard-to-replace seeds. Any tips? Thanks!!!

Hi all! I have a moderate amount of vegetable gardening experience and I'm looking to fine tune my methods. I've noticed that my seed germination rates are somewhat below average. I'm very low maintenance in general, starting the seeds in a loose mix with lots of peat, in nursery pots in my east facing garage window (no supplemental light) once the cotyledons are fully opened, I start moving them outdoors unless the temps will be too low (I'm in a warm climate). This works okay, but this year I had more duds than usual, including a rare native plant I don't have many seeds for. Do any of you have any other methods you prefer? I've tried plastic bags and using plastic domes and always run into mold issues. Once the plants have true leaves I feel totally confident in their care, but I don't want to waste any more hard-to-replace seeds. Any tips? Thanks!!!

8 comments

[–] stern-as-steel 0 points (+0|-0)

Supplemental light has made a huge difference to me. Got a light for about 30 dollars from the local hardware store. It doesn't cover all the seedlings, but I move them around each day so they're under it one or two days out of three and that's made a huge difference. Had almost 100% germination.

Also, apparently getting seeds directly from sellers is helpful. I've heard that the seed storage by intermediary places (grocery stores, etc) is not good and that contributes to low germination.

[–] gold_bee 1 points (+1|-0)

I usually soak seeds before plant them, which seems to help germination rates. I've also had good luck with the wet paper towel in a ziplock bag method, although you have to get to them as soon as they begin to sprout. That said, it's entirely possible that you're doing nothing wrong and just don't have good seeds!

Yeah, I see a couple of votes for the ziploc bag method, maybe I just wait too long but I always get mold! I should know to be soaking them though...that should help, thanks!

[–] XxWomanxX 1 points (+1|-0)

If you’re having trouble germinating seeds in soil I like to use a wet paper towel in a ziplock bag it, I’ve had more success with wet paper towels than soil. Just move the germinated seeds into soil when they start showing their roots. Hope this helps xx

[–] SarahTheGreen 1 points (+1|-0)

What I've read for native plants is to gather the seeds fresh then sow them right away so they winter outside. They need to be fresh. It's possible none of your seeds are fresh enough. (I've had a lot of problems with seeds, too.)

That could be a possibility, I got them from another gardener in an exchange so I don't have any info on their freshness. I will try soaking a couple, though. Thank you!