Lentils soaked in filtered water during the pre-germination phase

How to pre-germinate your seed and plant it

There are many reasons why you might want to pre-germinate your seeds before planting them. Maybe you want to get a head start on the growing season. Maybe you’re not sure if the seed is still viable. Or maybe you just want to make sure that the seed germinates properly.

Whatever your reason, pre-germinating your seeds is a relatively simple process that can give you a lot of peace of mind come planting time.

What is pre-germination?

Pre-germination, also known as “scarification”, is the process of breaking down the tough outer shell of a seed so that it can more easily germinate. This can be done in a number of ways, including scarifying with sandpaper or nicking with a sharp knife.

Once the seed coat has been broken, moisture can more easily penetrate the seed, triggering the germination process.

Why should I pre-germinate my seeds?

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider pre-germinating your seeds before planting them.

If you’re starting your seeds indoors, pre-germinating can help them get a head start on the growing season.

If you’re unsure whether or not the seed is still viable, pre-germination is a good way to test it out. If the seed doesn’t germinate, it’s probably not worth planting.

Pre-germinating also allows you to keep an eye on the germination process and make sure that everything is going according to plan. This way, if there are any problems with germination, you can address them before planting the seed.

Sprout pumpkin seeds on a white wet towl.
Sprout pumpkin seedsĀ 

How do I pre-germinate my seeds?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to pre-germinating your seeds:

  1. Fill a clean bowl with lukewarm water and add your seeds. Swirl them around gently with your fingers and then let them soak for 12-24 hours.
  2. After soaking, drain off any excess water and transfer the seeds to a damp paper towel. Fold up the paper towel so that it encloses the seeds and put it in a warm, dark place.
  3. Check on your seeds every day, making sure that they stay moist but not waterlogged. At this point, you may also want to start using a grow light if you’re starting your seeds indoors.
  4. After 3-5 days, most of the seeds should have started to sprout roots and/or shoots. At this point, they’re ready to be planted in soil or transferred to another growing medium like vermiculite or Rockwool . Carefully plant each seed at the depth recommended on the packet (usually 1/2″ to 1″) and water well.
  5. Continue to care for your plants as usual, keeping an eye out for any problems with germination.

With some patience and care, you should see healthy plants emerging in no time.