How to prepare your seeds for sowing and avoid harming them
For those of us who are not familiar with growing plants from seed, it might look like a no brainer. Heck, in nature, these seeds just fall off trees, go in the ground and start growing by them selves, so how hard can it be, right?
But in fact, there are a few processes that the seed is going through before being able to germinate and turn into a tree. In nature, these processes occur naturally of course. It relays on the help of the weather, seasons and different animals to do the work that we as gardeners do to provide the seeds with the same environment they would've get if dropped from the tree in the woods.
Preparing your seeds before sowing is important to increase germination rate and is very simple to do. Here are a couple of important steps to take before sowing your seeds.
Nicking seeds before planting helps the seeds absorb water, which signals the plant embryo inside to begin the germination process. Nicking plant seeds and then soaking them in water will jump-start germination and get your garden growing faster. This technique is also known as scarification.
Sowing the seeds in water will swell them as water penetrates the seed coat and the embryo inside begins to plump up. This will expedite the germination process.
To soak the seeds correctly pour some warm tap water into a shallow container, make sure the water are not too hot or it will harm the seed cells. Place your seeds in the water, spread them out, and let them stand for 16 - 24 hours. DO NOT Soak them for more than 24 hours. Soak the seeds for any longer and they might rot.
Sowing the seeds
It is important to remember that each seed needs some space to grow roots after it sprouts, so first make sure you don't sow too many seeds together. If you plant them too close or too dense they will start battling each other and none will grow strong.
If this is your first time planting, or you are new to gardening, you are probably worried on how deep you should sow the seed. So just remember that when planting a tree, it needs to grow thick and strong, so it needs some space to grow into. Don’t worry on sowing it too deep. 1.5 – 2 inches in depth is perfectly fine for the seed to be able to germinate and sprout out and still have that layer of soil to protect it.
You can sow the seed in a 1 inch depth and then cover it with another ½ inch of soil. Gently tighten the soil above it but don’t press too hard.
After sowing, remember to leave your seeds in a dark place and away from sunlight for a few days during germination. It will give your plants time to germinate and produce sprouts and leaves without being over exposed to sunlight and extreme conditions it is not yet prepared for. Once you see the first seedlings you can go ahead and place it in the sun for 45 min a day at least and when it grows 2 inch high, start exposing to sunlight more and more, while making sure it’s not exposed to sever conditions (too hot or too cold environment)
Happy Growing :) !