How to Tell if Seeds Will Germinate

The idea for January 2013 is to try something knew. I want to first and foremost say this is not going to work for all seed types, obviously orchid and basil seeds and other plants with small or very large seeds will behave differently. Basically, if you soak a seed overnight it should sink. If it floats it will not germinate. You just put some seeds in a cup/container and in the morning the one’s that sink are ready to be planted. The problem with this is you may actually be simply selecting for seeds that sink and not planting all the viable ones. Worse, you could throw away valuable seeds. If you only have a few seeds, the best thing would be to plant them all.

If you have a lot of seeds and wonder if most of them are still viable (will grow) you can use the paper towel method. Put 10 or 25 seeds on a moist paper towel in a plastic bag. After a week, see how many have germinated. If you started with 10, multiply the number that germinated by 10, and that is the percentage you can expect to germinate, if you used 25, multiple the number that germinated by 4 to get the percentage that you can expect to germinate.

Example: You place10 spinach seeds on a paper towel and 7 germinate after a week. you can expect 70% (10 x 7 = 70) of the seeds to germinate.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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