Tonight I bring you a bit of information on germination. This is something I see debated more on here than the type of lighting that you should use. Lets dive right into what were here for though, the best way to germinate certain seeds at certain ages. I think that a lot of people put too much effort into the germination process and worry to much about assisting the seed when all it really needs is a little moisture and warmth.
New Seed, and seed that is fresh to you from the breeder….
This seed is the probably the easiest to germinate, This one really just needs to be placed in its container, rock wool, rapid rooter, or what ever your choice is. Then water it properly and it should take off just fine. This is where a lot of folks really, I believe, cause their own demise and ruin their germ rates. I see so many growers place these new seeds that they just got in a glass of water. This is inviting in all kinds of problems from the start. A new seed has a great deal of moisture in them, they are not as old as some of the seed that you may have laying around. The moisture levels in that new seed are high enough that there is no need to add more, and when you are placing them in the glass of water to soak that is what you are doing. I think some of the bad rates we see from the new crosses is because the seed is simply over watered from the gate. So there is no need to do that to fresh seed from a breeder.
Seed that you have had for a while, or seed that wasnt kept in the fridge/freezer.
Now here is a place where the extra moisture may be needed. The seed has had time to dry out a bit and metabolize some of the water and sugars that are in the embryo. So they may need a little pre-soak to get them going, still not needed for the soaking in a glass of water. I think that this was a method that was shared a few times for some old seed from somewhere and then it got moved into the “best practice” category. I know that we have all seen it work but i also see some of the people who use this method complain about bad rates as well as dampening off. Most of which can all be related to too much moisture from the start.
If you feel the need at this stage to add moisture to the seed, the paper towel and baggie method would be a better way to control the amount of moisture a seed is taking in rather than just dropping it into a glass of water and watching it sink. You have no idea the amount of water that the seed has taken on and if this is done the medium that you are placing the seed in does not need to be as wet as you normally would have it. Remember when adding moisture in one location and allowing the seed to soak it up that you will compound that moisture level when you plant the seed in the medium and water it.
Old seed, stuff that has been around for years. In or out of the cold storage.
This seed, is the seed that i would begrudgingly recommend soaking, and still would suggest the paper towel and baggie over the soaking in a glass of water, but if you must and are refusing to change this would be that time to do it. Then when you do i would not leave it in there for 24 hrs. I would pull that in about 6-8 and then plant it, and that is if it sank or not. If its in that water its soaking up that moisture.
Here is when i would double layer a paper towel and wet it with warm water, then wring it out. No need to have it soaking as the baggie will keep the moisture there and keep the towel wet for you. Place that baggie in a warm place, and youll have tails in about 48 hours. This is probably one of the best ways that i have germinated, my rates with this are still to this day in the 98% of what i place in there becomes a plant.