How to Germinate Seeds in 6 Simple Steps - Backyard Boss
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How to Germinate Seeds in 6 Simple Steps

Be it running a marathon or pursuing a degree, we all sow many seeds throughout the course of our lives. Yet, when it comes to planting actual seeds, most of us don’t have much of a clue beyond what you remember from planting beans for science class back in elementary school. If this is your case, you have come to the right place.

Today you’ll learn everything you need to know to plant, germinate, and grow seeds into lush and verdant plants. We’ll take you through the steps and tell you all about the tools you need to start this new venture.

What You Will Need to Germinate Seeds

Seedling container filled with earth, small shovels and a rake for plant care, colorful plastic pots.

Planting seeds is rewarding. You witness something tiny blooming into a growing and thriving living thing and it’s all because of you. However, as with any hobby, you’ll need the right equipment to have the best possible experience. Here’s a list of the tools you’ll need to begin sowing:

  1. Clean Container
    At least two to three inches deep and with tiny drainage holes at the bottom. This can be a pot bought at a store or made from household items like recycled yogurt containers.
  2. Quality Soil
    Seed-starting mix or potting soil is preferred. Garden soil is too heavy and might contain weed seeds or diseases that might hamper your seedling’s growth.
  3. Small Watering Can
    A spraying can from the store or a DIY water bottle with holes punched on the base. The key is to sprinkle the water in a controlled manner so the soil is moist when watered but not soggy.
  4. Firming Board
    This will be used to press the soil once the seeds are planted. You can buy one from the store or use something like a glass jar or even your hand.
  5. Straight Edge Object
    This helps remove excess soil from your pot and leaves an even surface. It can be anything from a ruler to a wooden board.
  6. Sift
    This will help break up lumps in your soil and help keep it nice and even. They are sold in specialty shops or you can use the nylon mesh ones that are usually found in kitchens.
  7. Spot With Sunlight
    We all know that plants need sunlight. Find a spot near a window where your seedling can bask. If you can’t find the perfect spot, you can benefit from grow lights. Check out our review for the best grow lights for seedlings.
  8. Seeds
    You can’t have a plant without seeds. From simple beans to aromatic herbs, fruits, and ornamental plants, the options you can choose from are endless. You can find them at local gardening shops, online retailers, and even in the fruits or veggies you eat. Keep in mind the size of the fully grown plant so your container is sized accordingly.
  9. Labels and a Pen
    It’s a good idea to keep track of the date and the type of seeds you are planting inside each container. This is especially helpful if you’re planning on growing different plants, with different watering schedules. You can get dedicated plant labels, wood sticks, or simply use masking tape.

Step by Step Process on How to Germinate Seeds

Once you have all the tools and supplies ready, planting your seeds is a fun and straightforward process. Make sure you have everything at hand and begin the following steps.

Step 1: Determine Your Work Surface

Grab your container and place it on a work surface. Then grab the soil and sift. Place the sift on top of your pot and pour the soil onto the sift. Move the sift with both hands so it starts dropping into your pot. You might need to crush large lumps with your hands to pass it all through the sift.

Step 2: Time to Press the Soil

Once your container is full with the sifted soil, wipe the excess on top with your hand or a flat-edged object. Press on the soil with your firming board or glass jar until it sits about half an inch below your pot’s edge.

Step 3: Sprinkle Seeds

how to germinate seeds step by step image
Image credits: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Take your seeds and sprinkle them over the surface of the soil. Make sure there’s room in between them, this will help with their growth moving forward.

Pro Tip: If you want to germinate large seeds (cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, etc), you should use one seed per hole. For smaller plants, the rule is two to three seeds per hole. For herbs, you can sprinkle multiple seeds and leave them to germinate.

Step 4: Cover the Seeds

Grab some of the excess soil and toss it over the container’s surface to cover the seeds. Don’t use too much, twice the height of the seeds is more than enough to cover them and still allow sunlight to pass through.

Pro Tip: Use vermiculite soil to cover your seeds as it aerates the soil allowing more sunlight to reach your seeds, locks in water and nutrients necessary for plant growth, and is known to help germinate seeds faster.

Step 5: Spray Some Water

spraying water on seeds
Image credits: A Magical Mess via Giphy

With your watering can or bottle, spray the top of the seeds until the soil is moist. Four to five passes are usually enough to avoid soggy soil. Soggy soil will rot the seed, so you want to make sure it’s moist, not overly wet, or too dry.

Step 6: Label Your Pots

Write the date and type of seed you planted on your labels. Place them on the side of your pots or stick them in the soil depending on the type of label you get.

Step 7: Wait and Watch!

Now it’s time to wait and watch as your seeds hatch and grow. All plants need sun and water to survive. Nonetheless, each type of plant requires specific conditions to thrive. Check the package to find out what your plant needs to grow. Another pro tip is to start feeding your seedlings fertilizer after they develop their second set of true leaves. Start applying a half-strength liquid fertilizer weekly and after four weeks, apply full-strength liquid fertilizer every other week until transplanting.

Final Thoughts on How to Germinate Seeds

Plants are living things and like a dog or a cat, they thrive under proper care and attention. Watching your seeds hatch is always an exciting experience, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned planter. By following this guide you’ll be on the right track to cultivate a thrilling new passion. Now that you know how to germinate seeds like a boss, all that’s left is to choose the type of seeds you want to grow. Juicy tomatoes, fresh mint, or colorful flowers? The options are boundless and we can’t wait to hear what seeds you’re planning to germinate first!

Featured image credits: Markus Spiske via Unsplash