Seeds already germinating!

seed startingseegermination 02-16

I planted some lettuce and greens seeds on Feb 8 and by Feb 11 some are already germinating! That’s only 3 days. Wow. Unbelievable! Here’s the lineup again and how they’re doing so far:

#1 Yugoslavia Red lettuce just peaking up

#2 Santoro barely peaking up

#3 Slow-Bolt Cilantro not up

#4 Carmel spinach just starting to come up

#5 Baby Pak Choi way up

#6 Forellenschuss lettuce way up

Not surprising, the two larger seeds #3, the Slow-Bolt Cilantro and the #4 Carmel Spinach are slower to germinate. I imagine the bigger the seed, the longer it takes to germinate. But to my surprise, the spinach is starting to come up already and the little seeds like lettuce just exploded through the soil. Amazing. I’m totally surprised how fast some of them have germinated.

Now I just got to make sure to mist them heavily 2x-3x a day to keep the soil moist while they all germinate. I will spray diluted Chamomile tea on the baby seedlings tomorrow to keep Damping Off disease from coming. It works great.

Seed Germination Trouble-seed heating mat too hot!

Some new tomato seedlings coming up among the others

This year I have been struggling with my seed starting this year. Many seeds have not germinated. The seed germination mats seemed way too hot. I’ve never had this problem before (usually it is too cold) but when I did some research, I found out the mats are suppose to be 20 °F over the ambient temperature. This spring so far has been very warm (especially inside the house even without the heat on) and when I took the temperature of the soil in the little pots it was between 95 and 1oo°F! Way too hot for germination. No wonder very little was coming up—I’ve been frying the seeds!

So I got a soil germination thermostat that will control the temperature which I keep at 80°F and within 3 days I had 11 tomatoes come up. Wow what a difference. I will have to replant some tomatoes seeds but hopefully I will be fine. Guess I won’t have to worry about the plants growing too big this year before I transplant them in the garden.

How to Tell the Germination Rate in Old Seeds

If you just can’t bear to throw out those old seeds, here’s a test to tell how viable your older seeds are. Take 10 seeds and soak for about 1 hour, then put them between damp paper towels and in a plastic ziplock baggie. Put in a warm spot (on top of your refrigerator or on a grow heating mat). Keep checking them daily and when you get them to germinate, count up how many actually did germinate. If you got 3, then you have a 30% germination rate, 5 would be a 50% germination rate and so forth. If you only get 1-2, throw them out, their not worth the trouble. So if you have a 100 seeds, then you can be pretty assured that around 30 would germinate (30% rate).