Preparing Seeds for Planting

Some gardeners don’t believe it’s necessary to do anything special to vegetable and other crop seeds before sowing them. Plus, if they give it some thought, they’ll realize that the issue is resolved by soaking the seeds in a solution of potassium permanganate or water. If the seed stock is prepared in accordance with all regulations, then crop maintenance will be easier, and the yield will rise.

Preparing seeds for planting
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Seeds can be processed in a variety of ways, but the most common ones are soaking, scarification, hardening, disinfection, stratification, and heating. Any one of them would work nicely inside a house. On the other hand, there are more involved techniques (encrustation, calibration, Osmo-treatment, dragging, etc.) that are typically only employed in the production or on big farms.

Preparing seeds for planting

Density check

First, it’s suggested that the density of the seed material be examined, as this will allow one to weed out the “dummy” seeds and keep only the viable ones for planting. You can save money on seedlings and on overseeding the grass, and you can make better use of the area without sacrificing either.

Density may be checked quickly and easily in ambient settings using a 3–5% regular table salt solution (3 to 5 grams per 100 milligrams of water). After 5-10 minutes in the solution, the seed material is well mixed for another 3 to 5 minutes. False seeds will float to the top of the container, while real seeds will sink to the bottom. To ensure the quality of the seeds you plant, it is important to wash them in running water and then dry them.

Seeds of vegetables and fruits can be weighed and measured to determine their density. In this situation, a salt solution with a higher concentration will aid in bringing out the highest-density, most-viable seeds.

A simple test for seed density in cucumbers and beets is to use sterile water.

Seed disinfection methods

Seeds are often disinfected in one of two ways: chemically or through heat. As the latter technique requires a thermostat, hot water is usually applied at ambient temperatures.

Water boiled to 50 degrees is used to sanitize the cabbage, carrot, and onion seeds for a quarter of an hour. To continue, the seeds are cooled in cold water and then thoroughly dried. Thus, you can eliminate the most typical pests that plague these plants.

Disinfecting using chemicals is more efficient. This will allow for the elimination of pathogens on the seeds’ surface as well as in the soil immediately surrounding them. Potassium manganese, blue (methylene blue), soda, copper sulfate, boric acid, etc., are all low-cost and low-hazard compounds that can be used in room conditions for this purpose.

Seed material is kept in solution:

  • manganese potassium – from 15 to 20 minutes;
  • copper sulfate – 10 minutes;
  • boric acid – from 12 to 24 hours;
  • soda – 24 hours

In the blue solution, the seeds, as a rule, can withstand up to 48 hours.

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Soaking seeds before sowing

Soaking the seeds begins the metabolic processes necessary for growth. This technique works effectively for seeds that take a long time to germinate or don’t germinate at all. Soaking, germination, fertilizer soaks, and growth stimulant treatments are all viable options here. A gardener’s desire and talents are essential factors in determining the best approach to take.


The maximum duration that seeds can soak in water is 36 hours, and during this time they must be replaced at least twice with fresh water. It’s important that the container is big enough. The various techniques of soaking are as follows:

  • total submersion in water;
  • continually moistening a cloth laid out over the seeds;
  • the seeds are wrapped in gauze that has been soaked in water.

The ideal soaking time for several crops is listed below.

Up to 36 hours of soaking time is recommended for seeds of celery, parsley, coriander, parsnips, dill, cumin, carrots, and fennel.

Soaking in fertilizer

Fertilizers, by their very nature, are biologically active compounds that benefit any plant growth. Seeds soaked in a nutritional solution germinate and sprout much more quickly, and the solution also aids the development and growth of young plants.

The plant itself has the most impact on which soaking fertilizer to use:

  1. Vegetables that thrive with boric acid and magnesium boron fertilizer include carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, radishes, beets, and white cabbage.
  2. Lettuce, zucchini, cauliflower, and carrots respond well to ammonium molybdate and superphosphate-containing molybdenum.
  3. Onion copper sulfate.

A maximum of 6-8 hours should pass before the seeds are removed from the nutrition solution. If spinach and cabbage seed material is kept in a humid atmosphere for an extended period of time, the germination rate will decrease. Soaking the seeds of a legume, such as a pea, for an extended period of time is likewise not suitable.

Soaking in growth stimulants

Marketers have done a terrific job of exaggerating the efficacy of growth enhancers. Despite this, however, such medications can hasten the germination of viable seeds. Additionally, they can aid even the least viable seed stock.

Soaking solutions can be made using any number of over-the-counter or prescription medications, including Ecost, Agat, Krezatsin, Epin, Emistim, etc. It’s crucial to adhere to the guidelines provided when using such items. In this scenario, the seeds should not be left in the solution for any longer than the instructions call for.

Seed sparging

When you soak seeds in oxygenated water, you’re sparging them. The Timiryazev Agricultural Academy was responsible for the creation of this method. It allows for an early harvest and boosts plant hardiness in the face of unfavorable climate conditions.

Large-scale seed-spraying operations require specialized machinery. Compressors, typically found in aquariums, can be employed successfully under these conditions. Seeds need to be soaked in 20-degree water for 12 hours. During this time, it is submerged in water held at a temperature of minus two degrees Celsius. The bubbling phase might last anywhere from a few days to a full week. The second form of sparging involves soaking the seed for 18 to 24 hours in water that is constantly being aerated.

This form of seed pretreatment works particularly well in regions where the soil dries out rapidly.

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Seed hardening

Any gardener who has a plot in an area prone to extreme temperature swings and sudden shifts in weather conditions should harden their seeds before planting.

This technique makes plants more hardy, increases the germination of seeds by two to four days, and makes them seem friendlier to boot. A form of natural selection takes place throughout the hardening phase, with the weaker seeds failing to germinate. While this information should be taken with a grain of salt, it is important to keep it in mind while hardening seed material.

Tomatoes, pumpkins, and peppers all benefit from a variable-temperature hardening process. First, they soak in chilly water (about 15 degrees) for 24 hours before being transferred to the refrigerator’s shelf. Once that’s done, they spend the next 24 hours in a room that’s kept at a constant temperature of no more than 20 degrees. This technique can be used to harden the seeds for up to 15 days. After a few of the seeds have germinated, you can stop doing this.

It is suggested that you cook vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, parsley, and dill for 20-30 minutes. wait in cold water before being stored in the fridge. Carrots and beets may be kept in the fridge for about 10 days, while greens and cabbage can last for around 15 days.

Root crop seed material can be hardened for up to 12 hours. The bushes will enter the stem if this process is continued for an extended period of time.

Stratification before sowing

When seeds are stratified, they are exposed to environments that mimic their native habitats. This helps kick-start the seed’s development processes. The seeds are chilled before being planted in the ground (imitation of winter). Seeds from heat-loving plants of southern origin do not require stratification. This approach has nothing but positive effects on people of other cultures.

You will need to get a particular substrate ready for the procedure. It can be done with sand or peat, or a mixture of the two at a 1: 1 ratio. The spores of harmful fungi could be present in regular soil, making it unsuitable for this approach.

Seed processing sequence:

  1. Fungicidal preparations such as Fitolavin, Maxim, Fitosporin, etc. are used in the soaking process. In order to get the most out of a drug, it’s important to take it exactly how it was prescribed.
  2. A 1:4 mixture of water and substrate is used. Then, squeeze the liquid out.
  3. There should be a 4:1 ratio of substrate to seed material.
  4. When finished, the liquid is transferred to a storage vessel of the appropriate capacity.
  5. About two to three days of heat is stored in the container. Placing plastic wrap on top keeps the substrate from drying out too quickly.
  6. The container is then stored either in the cellar or on a cold storage shelf in the kitchen. For this to work, the ambient temperature must remain below 5 degrees Celsius at all times.
  7. Once every week, take the container out and give it a good shake to release air into the substrate.

In due time, the healthiest seeds will sprout. They are carefully removed from the substrate with tweezers. Next, they are planted in the ground and nurtured. Wait three to four days after the appearance of the first germinated seed, and then apply a growth-boosting substance to the remaining seed. Next, it’s planted. However, keep in mind that its germination rate won’t be very high.

Seed heating

Warming the seed material before sowing is recommended for growing pumpkin crops (pumpkin, watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, melon) in intermediate latitudes or northern regions. This will increase the likelihood of successful seed germination and subsequent fruit production. Heating the seeds of such plants is not done in southern areas because it is not thought to be effective there.

The seeds are typically heated for 4–6 hours at temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees. The seeds are wrapped with a cloth and placed on a heating radiator at room temperature.

Cucumber seeds fare quite well with this technique. By maintaining a consistent air temperature of 25 to 35 degrees, the yield of such seeds can be increased by around 10 percent. You can get the same result by soaking the seeds in warm water (about 50 degrees) for a couple of hours. The yield can be increased by 20 percent if the seed material is heated to 60 degrees for 2 hours prior to sowing. This was uncovered by a rigorous study.

The black leg of seedlings can be avoided by storing tomato seed material at 80 degrees for 24 hours. This method also has no negative impact on the crop’s yield or germination.

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Seed scarification before sowing

Scarification of seed material is a process in which the shell is artificially destroyed, resulting in a product that is both highly durable and resistant to moisture. Changes in humidity and temperature, as well as a hostile environment, can scarify seeds in nature. Multiple months, if not years, may pass during this procedure. Scarification, which might be thermal, mechanical, or chemical, greatly accelerates this process under ambient settings.

This step is unnecessary for trees, shrubs, and other crop seed materials obtained from a specialized retailer. Truth be told, they’re already scarified.

Mechanical scarification

This procedure is utilized to prepare that seed since its outer shell is so tough and dense. In most cases, this refers to shrubs and trees, such as cherry trees, dogwood trees, and other decorative species.

For mechanical scarification, you can use:

  • serrated knife;
  • file;
  • nail files for a manicure.

The goal of this method is to completely dissolve the shell without damaging the seed inside. To do this, we saw across the top of the seed. Grating it with sandpaper or a grater works well for softer seeds. The seeds should be gently ground with sand if they are very little.

It is imperative that this surgery is carried out with extreme caution. It’s crucial that the seed’s germ remains undamaged.

Thermal scarification

Scarifying seed material with heat works on a similar concept to hardening in that it involves cycling through different temperatures. The procedure’s execution may vary with the plant in question:

  1. Sweet pea seeds require sterile, piping hot water. Then, it is submerged in ice water right away. You should soak your seeds for 24 hours before planting them.
  2. Fill a gauze bag with both black and red hawthorn seeds. After that, you’ll put the bag in cold water first, then hot water, alternating between the two for a full minute. The process is terminated once the seed material begins to swell.
  3. The optimal storage time for primrose seeds is 12 hours in cold water. Then, for the same amount of time, they are kept in a warm environment. This process continues until the seeds begin to peck.

If you want to use the most effective technique, you should first learn about the plant’s unique traits. For advice on how to best prepare your seed for planting, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable professional.

Chemical scarification

Chemical scarification relies on the impact of abrasive substances on the seedlings. The most common acid used in this context is hydrochloric acid. This strategy is only applicable to seeds that become viable after traveling through the digestive systems of birds or animals in the wild. The rosehip is a prototypical illustration of this concept.

Hydrochloric acid in a 3 percent solution is used for digesting seeds at room temperature. Gloves should be worn, the nose and eyes should be covered, and acid should be poured over water before use. Seeds can only stay submerged in acid for a maximum of 12 hours. Then it is removed and given a thorough cleaning with running water.

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Seed germination technique

Pre-germination is a common practice among amateur gardeners. Purified water is preferred for this treatment, as tap water is not a good choice. As a byproduct of melting, snow can be utilized in an environmentally friendly region. This is also a great use for mineral water. Studies were done at the Kuban State Agrarian University, where it was shown that mineral water helps seeds germinate more quickly and causes plant roots to expand more deeply.

The temperature minimum for various plants is listed below.

It has been noticed that extremely tiny seeds germinate actively when exposed to sunshine. For optimal germination, they should be sprinkled on top of the prepared soil rather than soaked. Seeds of annual and perennial flower crops are commonly used in this way.

Seeds that were acquired from a specialized nursery or store would be ready for processing by the manufacturer. It’s mandatory that this be clearly labeled on all packages. Complex processes like calibration, microwave irradiation, inlay, etc., that require specialized conditions or equipment are not advised for usage in a standard room setting.

Is it necessary to dry seeds before planting them in the ground?

When seeds are dry, they are designed to remain dormant, but when they are wet, they begin the process of germination. Because of this, it is essential to dry your seeds after you have finished harvesting them. Drying seeds in the open air is the most effective approach, and there are a number of different ways to create the ideal circumstances for drying seeds by utilizing objects that are typically found in the house.

Can vinegar help seeds sprout?

In vinegar, seeds will not sprout. Acetic acid, which is present in vinegar as an aqueous solution, inhibits the germination of seeds.

What promotes quicker seed germination?

Seeds can be presoaked in hot tap water for 24 hours to speed up the germination process. In the presence of water, the developing embryos inside the seed will swell. If you soak them for more than 24 hours, they will decay. Directly into damp soil, plant the seeds.

Will hydrogen peroxide stimulate seed germination?

Seeds can absorb more oxygen after being soaked in a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution because the coat softens during this process. Due to this, germination time is reduced. Hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that is very similar to water, is one of the simplest chemicals you may use in gardening to prevent root rot.

Which liquids contribute the most to the growth of plants?

When it comes to watering plants, you should only use water that has been distilled or purified. Both of these options have a pH (level of acidity or alkalinity) that is neutral, which is something that many different types of plants seek, and have a minimal amount of other components that the plant does not require.

Is it true that seeds cannot germinate without exposure to sunlight?

Generally speaking, seeds need between 12 and 16 hours of sunlight every day to germinate. If you’re starting seeds inside, put them in a bright south window and tilt the pot a quarter turn every day so the seedlings don’t stretch too far for the light and wither.

How frequently should I water seeds?

Keeping the soil wet by watering the seeds once a day is necessary to ensure their growth. It may be necessary to water more frequently than once per day in very hot temperatures. Make it a habit to check on the seeds and young plants often to ensure they are getting enough water.

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