Our storage conditions are designed to prevent germination so that our seeds stay dormant until we are ready to grow them. The main factors are light, heat and moisture, so it makes sense that these are also key to ensuring germination success.
A bit about the science…
When germinating our seeds, our aim is to break their dormancy i.e. wake them up and water is key in this process. Once past the outer coat of our seeds water allows compounds within the seed which prevent germination to leach out, so in effect switches the seed on. This switching on takes different lengths of time for different seed varieties which is why some germinate quickly and others slowly.
Water alone isn’t enough though, heat is important and some varieties specifically require low temperatures before being warmed again to trigger germination, with some needing freezing conditions to mimic cold winters between growing seasons.
Lastly sunlight; you will notice some seed varieties say they need to be surface sown, this is because they need light to trigger germination. Others however need a lack of light to germinate and for those varieties you’ll see on the packet instructions to plant at the specific depth they prefer.
So each seed variety has its own particularly preferences but the main factors remain the same.
Our tips for germination success
- Check the packet for tips on what conditions your seeds prefer as mentioned above and follow this to ensure you give the seeds the best chance
- Heat pads - Specifically designed to warm to a gentle heat we switch them on for a few hours each day to gently persuade especially our Chilli or Pepper seeds that we start early that it isn’t a freezing day in the middle of January. Underfloor heating also works well if you’re lucky to have this.
- Light - a south facing kitchen back door, a conservatory, a windowsill - essentially somewhere the sun shines in when it’s out or when it’s not it’s still bright.
- Moisture - ensure your seeds don’t dry out, invest in a seed watering can - you want a fine rose spray to ensure you don’t damage seedlings as they appear, check out our specific watering cans for seeds here. Maintaining a high humidity will ensure seeds don’t dry out and a propagator with a lid is ideal.
- Patience - it might not look like a lot is happening then the next day, ta da, you have seedlings. Chilli's especially take longer than other seeds to make themselves known!
Hopefully our tips help you with germinating your seeds!