Do You Soak Your Seeds?

David Trammel's picture

It will soon be seed planting time.

"Why You Should Soak The Seeds And How To Do It"

Soaking seeds is one of those "old gardener" tricks, and is done based on the belief that seeds need to get wet to trigger their awakening. People also toss their seeds into the freezer for a few days before planting them, thinking the cold then warmth will stimulate the germination. And many seeds need to have their exterior coating damaged slightly, through lightly sanding them or scoring them with a knife to germinate.

Do you do any of these and have you any opinions or observations on the practice?

I like to chit seeds (soak them, then let them start sprouting) if I'm planting them at a time of year that has imperfect conditions. When planting peas in february/beginning of march it really improves my germination rates. I also do it when planting them at the beginning of august/end of July because it is so hot and dry then that it is hard to make them germinate otherwise, but I need to plant them early if I want to get a harvest before the winter sets in fully. I also chit carrot seed, because germination is often erratic otherwise.

Ken's picture

I'm with pygmycory: I soak many seeds that are decent size and that I'm not planting too many of, especially peas in the spring. The peas in particular seem to like a head-start to beat the pests in the cold. I also use remay (row cover) to keep a little warmth in and the damn birds from pulling up the sprouts. By the time the sprouts are pushing against the remay, they seem to be safe from the birds. Works on nasturtiums too. Be sure to plant the initial sprout pointing downwards, as it's the root that forms before the top of the plant. Also don't leave them too long in the damp paper towels on the counter; the little rootlets off the main sprout will penetrate the paper and are easily torn off. I've seen people do this with corn but I think it's insane; field crops are different than vegetables.