When you soak seeds, you allow water to fully penetrate the hull of the seed, nourishing the germ that will bloom into a plant. Seeds will get food from the nutrients in the soil surrounding them once they are planted, but to flourish they need plenty of water. It can be difficult for seeds to take on adequate water once they are planted, because soil can wick moisture away from the seeds before the water fully penetrates the seed. Soaking seeds nips this problem in the bud, as it were, by offering your seeds as much water as the seeds can use and store. Read on to learn the facts about why and how soaking seeds helps speed germination, and learn how to soak seeds for professional gardening results.
Why Soaking Seeds Works
The short answer to why soaking seeds makes your seed sprout faster is that it fools your seed into thinking that it has been planted for longer. When you soak seeds, they take on the same amount of water in just a single day of soaking that would take the seeds up to a week to absorb if they were planted. Soaking seeds speeds up seed germination by making sure that your seeds get their thirst fully quenched before they are submerged in the ground. When they are fully soaked, the seeds behave as thought they’ve already been planted for days, or even weeks, before you have even put them in your garden. This radically shortens the overall timetable for seed germination.
How To Soak Seeds
To soak seeds, submerge them in warm water. The water should not be so hot that it is uncomfortable to the touch, as this can shock the seeds, but gentle warmth will help soften the hard outer hull so that water can penetrate the seed more easily. If you are working with seeds that have an extremely tough outer layer, such as Morning Glory seeds, it is a good idea to nick the hull of the seed before soaking. However, most seeds can be successfully soaked for fast germination without nicking or “scarring” the hull beforehand. Simply leave your seeds in at least three inches of water for twenty four hours, then check to see if they are ready to plant. If they look like fully soaked seeds as described in the following paragraph, you’re finished. If not, add enough warm water to bring the water level back up to three inches, and leave the seeds there for another day.
What A Soaked Seed Looks Like
The appearance of the seed is the best way to tell when your seed soaking has achieved its goal and the seed is ready to plant in the ground. After you’ve left your seeds in water for twenty four hours, check on your soaking seeds and see how they look. When a seed has fully absorbed as much water as it needs, it will swell and lighten in color as the hull softens and the inner kernal of the seed absorbs water. When your seeds have swelled to a larger size, feel soft in texture, and appear a few shades lighter in color, it means that the water has fully penetrated the seed. Now, you are ready to plant your seeds, and enjoy fast germination in your garden!