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accelerating germination of slow-to-germinate seeds

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a ( on
Thu, May 5, 11 at 19:13

NOTE: With the exception of the carrots and celery I don't have the packets for the other veggies mentioned.

Also I'm not trying to be rude but please don't say post this on another subforum. I figured this would be the best place to post this because it's called 'growing from seed'.

I live in a place where the growing season is very short, about 4-5 months; if the weather cooperates cool weather stuff can be started in Mid April to early to Mid May. The main growing season is end of May and ends between October or November (again depends on weather).

There are some seeds I know that just take awhile to germinate.

The ones I'm referring to are rutabaga, parsnip, celery,
and carrot.

Basically the sooner these germinate the better; any extra time in my growing season will help.

However the only ways I know of to germinate these are either to put them onto a damp paper towel and place that into a partially closed ziploc bag; once they germinate you direct sow the sprouts where they're to grow.

The other method is to start them indoors as seedling transplants. However neither of these methods I really feel comfortable with because with the exception of celery, they're all root veggies, and I know root veggies don't transplant well.

The only other thing I can think of is that you can soak some seeds and this will supposedly make them germinate faster? Will this even work, or will it cause more harm then good? One of my carrot seeds are pelleted, so is it necessary to do this? The other isn't so should I?

If soaking them is an option how long should they be soaked for? Please specify how many hours (1, 2, 3 etc.) and what temperature water should they be soaked in? Should they be patted dry after they've been soaked, or does that basically defeat the purpose of doing so?

I heard parsnips, rutabaga, and celery are very finicky. Should I just treat celery like lettuce seeds? That is they need light to germinate and germinate best in cool weather. Or do the seeds above (including celery) prefer darkness and need warmth to germinate?

I realize that cool weather veggies grow best in cool weather, but most cool weather veggies I know of prefer warm weather (about 70-80 degrees) to germinate. What type of temperature does parsnip and rutabaga prefer and do they need light or darkness to germinate.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: accelerating germination of slow-to-germinate seeds

As I read your post my interpretation is you want to sow your seeds when the soil is not warm enough for good germination, in order to extend your short growing season. I think I would try warming the soil. One tried and true method farmers have used for centuries is to apply composted steer manure (a byproduct of dairies or feeding pens). This is applied to the soil surface and scratched in just before seeding. Another method would be to lay a 2mil clear plastic over the soil surface to collect the radiated heat. Depending on your climate this may take a little trial and error to keep from over heating the soil. Al

RE: accelerating germination of slow-to-germinate seeds

Celery.. No cover light required for germination at 70F taking 10-17 days.....Rutabaga/turnip light cover temp 70F taking 7-14 days to germinate.....Carrot light cover soil temp 64-72F taking 10-21 days....Lettuce light cover soil temp 65-70F taking 6-10 days to germinate.
Many inserts for growing seedlings are 1 inch deep but others for starting trees are 6 inches deep & may be used for starting root crops.Starting in a cold frame is common & instead of using FRESH manure on the surface I use it & cover with 1-2 incches of sand & it generates a lot of heat. A light bulb will also help.
Also look on the package it gives time to maturity ....pick those varities with with the shortest time to maurity. I hope this helps

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