The Importance of Proper Moisture Levels
Too WetSeeds need to be damp, not soaking wet, for germination. Excess water prevents oxygen from reaching the seed and can lead to poorly drained soils, which may cause soil fungus diseases. To improve wet soil conditions, try adding perlite, which will aerate your soil.
Too DryWater is essential for germination. Maintain constant soil moisture during germination by covering containers with glass or plastic wrap to prevent the soil from drying out.
Temperature: Finding the Right Balance
Too HotHigh temperatures can cause excessive soil desiccation and harm seeds and seedlings.
Too ColdCold temperatures can kill seedlings and prevent germination. Cool temperatures may result in slow, uneven germination and increase the risk of soil diseases. Consider starting seeds indoors before transplanting them outside. Avoid planting too early when cold temperatures and frost hazards are still present.
Planting Depth: Not Too Deep, Not Too Shallow
Planting Too DeepPlanting seeds too deep can delay emergence, as seeds may struggle to grow enough to reach the surface with their limited food storage. Soil temperature also decreases with depth. For optimal results, plant seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep.
Planting Seeds Too ShallowPlanting seeds too shallow can cause them to dry out.
Soil Structure: The Right Consistency
Soil Too FirmCompacting your soil mix too much can prevent oxygen from reaching your seeds and negatively impact drainage.
Soil Too LooseLoose soil can result in too much air surrounding the seed, preventing them from absorbing moisture and potentially causing them to dry out.
Preventing Soil FungusTo avoid soil fungus issues, plant seeds in sterilized potting mix and ensure your containers are clean. Overwatering, poor drainage, and lack of aeration can increase the likelihood of fungus occurring.
Selecting Viable SeedsSeeds that have not been stored correctly can deteriorate. Look for dark brown seeds and avoid light-colored or whitish seeds, as they may not be mature.
To store seeds properly, place them in a film canister and fill it with rice to absorb any moisture. Freeze seeds for long-term storage or place them in a dry, dark, cool place for shorter periods.