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Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

Posted by greenjesse 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 20:01

Im new (really new to gardening) and it seems like i want to do it all at once! And i want to do it right! i research the internet finding the correct way to plant certain plants. On the seed packages you get at a retailer, it says just plant seeds in the ground. but on some websites it says to file a nick in the seed then soak it overnight. Is this necessary or suggested? what are the advantages of doing this? Id rather ask the experts or experienced gardners!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

Some seeds have a very hard shell! So to scarify or nick it allows water to get inside thus starting the seeds germination process. Soaking the seed softens the outer layer of the seed helping the germination process as well. I am trying to make this as simple as I can so as not to confuse you. There is more to all this so I am just keeping to the bottom line as well as I can. Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any Question you have. I always say " The only dumb Question is the on not asked". Gayla


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

The nicking and soaking is an imitation of what happens out in the real world due to freezing and thawing and freezing and thawing. Certainly not all seeds need it, so don't bother if the info you find on a particular seed doesn't specifically recommend it.

You might want to check out the Winter Sowing forum - that method is supposed to work especially well for seeds that need stratification.


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

I agree with both of the above posts.

I would nick and soak a few of your seeds and then just plant a few and see what happens. I love experiments and it is the only way you are going to know if it works. Maybe both will?

Keriann~


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

Nature is pretty remarkable. Every plant wants to reproduce itself(not only plants!). For a seed to grow into a new plant, it is VITAL that germination not take place when there is no chance for a new plant to grow. Seeds of many plants have "germination prohibitors" that allow the seed to go through a freezing winter and only germinate when spring has arrived. Some will require more than one chilling and warming period. Every gardener who grows their own plants is smart to down load a "germination database" to have a ready reference to how to overcome any seeds germination prohibitors. Al


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

Simple answer: To help break dormancy!!

Your seeds may germinate with out scarifying (nick) or soaking but it may take 2 to 3 times longer!! So in reality when a simple instruction says soak for 24 to 48 hours or nick seed or scratch, it is giving you the quickest method possible already.

Winter sowing allows you to sow seeds that reseed in your area through winter months. No there is no stratification (refrigeration) necessary prior to winter sowing, winter sowing does take care of this process. Yes winter sowing does help with the prep time of seeds with their special instructions but for a zone 6 person to sow a special seed or hard dormancy seed now in march would be kinda redundant. The winter sowing starts in December, for a zone 6er as myself to fully receive the benefit on the more difficult seeds I would say they would need to start in december or at least early january. Reason being we are not having any frost here lately much less freezes.

Me personally depending on what you are sowing I would nick it soak it put it outside!!


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

Wow, thanks everyone! I feel more educated now! Im currently soaking moonvine seeds. Im planting them tonight in peat pots. I checked out the moon garden forum and they seem to think it works. but it also seem like them are hard to germinate.


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 6, 11 at 23:38

No, they shouldn't give you problems if you have good seed.

And it helps us to know which seeds you are asking about :)
The hard seed coat on your moonvine (ipomoea alba) helps to protect the tender seed embryo but it also excludes moisture from breaching that seed coat to reach the embryo - it's that moisture reaching the dormant embryo that triggers germination to begin.

Just be patient, they could germinate after soaking up some water anywhere from 5 days to more than two weeks.
They need to be warm, but as long as minimum of about 65F they aren't fussy about how warm, warmer than 65 is fine too.


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

Some seed that would benefit from having a hard seed coat nicked are so small, to physically nick each one, is very difficult. For these I have two wooden blocks with heavy sandpaper, about 40 grit, attached. I can roll the seeds between the two blocks for a minute or two and sand through the seed coat. I little practice will tell you how much to sand. Al


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

I just found an easier and faster way to nick seeds! I have arthritis in my hands and long nails that I don't want to break. I've used the sandpaper method and clippers. Both are a pain (to me).

I soaked some canna seed for a day and half then used dog clippers (for toenails). I did have to be careful not to lop the seed in half, as the clippers are pretty sharp! Took me about 5 minutes to do all my seed, whereas; it usually takes me about 45 minutes to do them all!


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

So, my moonflowers finally sprouted. I planted 6 that i knicked and soaked for 26 hours and i seperately planted 6 more directly into the peat pots. Interestingly enough i noticed no difference in the time it took for them to sprout. however, the ones i soaked have smaller leaves than the other ones.


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RE: Tell me why its necessary to file and soak seeds?

I learned some thing today. As a child I remember my father used to soak the seed over night before planting in the field. He soaked Corn and okra seeds, Cotton seed, Fava bean seed (for several days because it is very hard), the green hay seed but he did not soak the wheat seed. I never asked why I just accepted as the rule.


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