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    Posted on January 20th, 2011 Pam No comments

    When planting seeds it is best to speed up the germination (sprouting) process. Sometimes it is best to soak the seeds first. Some seeds have a rough outer shell. To help with germination, try scoring the tough seeds first with a file or sand paper. Then soak the seeds in Accent meat tenderizer overnight in a diluted solution. Use one teaspoon tenderizer to one quart of water. Another tip is to soak them in a thermos of warm water for a couple of days. The tannic acid in hot tea will also soften the outer coating. Some people use hot water when watering their seeds for the first time, claiming they soften the seeds faster.

    My trick is to use a bathtub. Yes a bathtub!! Put four 4-packs upside down in the bottom of the tub. Then place a planted flat on top of the 4-packs. Place each 4-pack under a corner of the flat. Then fill the tub with ‘hot’ water up to just below the flats. Drain and fill the tub with hot water three to four times each day. This creates a humid environment that plants love. You will be surprised how fast seeds will germinate this way. Peppers will germinate in 13-15 days and tomatoes in about 10 days, squash and pumpkins in about five days. I only use this method when I need to speed up the germination of some of my seeds, don’t leave them in the tub too long or they will get leggy from growing too fast.

    Another technique that people use is to soak the seeds in a wet paper towel placed in a zip lock bag. Then plant the seeds after they have sprouted. This is a more time consuming task, but you can plant only the seeds that have germinated and usually don’t need to thin the plants later.

    Before I plant things like squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and cantalope, I soak the seeds in water for about five days. Then plant them in the ground about five per hill, thinning to three plants later.

    Before planting corn, I soak the seeds in a jar of water overnight. I don’t soak pepper, tomato, pea or bean seeds before I plant them.

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