The Overtly Curious Grower
Are you constantly checking the growing pot to see if you can find the green sprout coming out? Have you been the one to check the pot the very next day after you have planted the seeds? As an experienced kitchen gardener, I can say that it is both an exciting and anxious to wait for the seeds to germinate. So, I understand entirely your curiosity if you do not see the seeds germinate within a few days. But wait! Everything has its growth cycle, give it the time. We understand your curiosity and hence put together this article that will tell you how long does it take for seeds to sprout, so you reduce those frequent checks.
Sprouting depends on several factors starting from the type of seeds, temperature, the quality of the soil to the effects of lighting. In this tutorial, we will go through apart from exploring the different periods for seed germination; we will also discuss in detail each of the factors that affect germination. So, let’s get started on this sprouting journey.
The Science Behind Sprouting
Have you ever wondered what happens inside the soil when you sow the seeds, and what causes the little green shaft to emerge after a few days? It was my curious little one who asked me this, and I was like searching for answers though I knew the basics to explain to him in the simplest form as possible. I am sure it would surprise you that these tiny seeds have enough food and all the directives necessary to support itself through the process of sprouting. Seeds once planted will grow roots, once the roots get a good hold in the soil; a small green plant will start to emerge. This will slowly appear out of the soil, and we get to see the seedling. Scientifically you can call this process as germination.
How Much Time Span for A Seed to Germinate?
Seeds take anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks to grow into a small plant. It depends on the seed, some vegetable seeds such as radish; tomatoes take 3 to 8 days to germinate. Leafy veggies such as lettuce, cilantro, etc. also take about 2 weeks to sprout. Like I said at the beginning of the tutorial, there are additional factors that can accelerate or inhibit the germination process. Also, make sure you sow the seeds at the right time.
Factors That Determine the Span of Germination
You planted the seeds at the right time and eagerly waiting for the seeds to germinate. Yet after doing all things right, you do not find any trace of the green shaft emerging? It’s not the seed alone that decide when it has to pop out its head, let’s study each of these factors in detail so that we are not disappointed the next time.
This is perhaps the most essential considerations to care for while planting seeds. Seeds tend to germinate faster in warmer weather conditions. This has a lot to do with the natural process of the plant producing matured seeds. A matured plant will develop flowers and seeds; the seeds stay put on the plant until they mature by the end of its season. After this, it may go through a dormancy state where it remains inactive for some time. This mostly happens in winter. Come spring and the seeds experience warmer weather, which helps the seeds wake up from dormancy and eventually trigger the germination process.
So now you know why keeping seed pans on heating pads accelerates the sprouting process. The ideal temperature to grow plants ranges between 18 to 24 degrees C (64 – 75 °F). Note that certain winter vegetables and leafy veggies will not need very warm temperatures to start the germination process.
The very first step you would follow before planting the seeds is to soak them in water. You will have to allow them just enough water content so that the dry and hardened exterior will soak up and expand. As the seeds expand by absorbing water, the internal pressure builds as the seedling develops, making way for the seed to pop up. Be cautious while you soak them up, so you do not end up flooding the seeds. This might cause the seeds to rot due to more water content. You can soak up paper towels and then spread the seeds over it. Remember to moisten the towel as and when needed.
One cannot simply ignore the importance of light when it comes to growing plants. Light is an inevitable requirement for plants to make their food. Remember your primary science lessons on Photosynthesis. I did mention earlier that seeds store enough food to get then through the germination process. However, towards the end of the germination process, the seedling will require light to make its food as the food reserves in the seed start depleting. So adequate light is vital for survival else the seedling will die. Sunlight is available in abundance if you plan to germinate the seeds outdoors. Take care to see that you do not place the seed pan under direct sunlight. Indoors you can use artificial lighting methods that will get your seedlings a steady and uninterrupted supply of light.
Apart from these three main factors, you will also need to look at the viability of the seeds to make sure they sprout in time and give you healthy seedlings. Soil that you use should also contain a good amount of nutrients. Seed starters would be an excellent choice to get healthy plants and faster germination.
Germinate Seeds the Quick and Easy Way
Check if the seeds can sprout by placing a few seeds on a paper towel in a warm place. This will help you assess the viability of the seeds before you sow them. Now you know the seeds are in good condition.
Soak the seeds in water overnight. This way, the seeds get all the moisture before they hit the soil. Then you can fill the starter trays with soil. Push the seeds into the soil, maybe only ½ inch deep. Do not bury the seeds deep into the soil as this will further delay the germination. Water it regularly and make sure it gets enough warmth and light. Freshly sprout seedlings are all ready to make way to your garden.
Seedling Take Away
We all learn our lessons through our experiences. I shared mine, so others attempting the same will have some first-hand information to look up. So, here is the secret, allow time, be patient, and be generous with water and light. Now you know not to look out for the green shaft the very next day you sow the seed. Important points to remember:
Let us know how fast your seeds sprouted and what worked better for you in the comments section.