Germination Testing

Looking for some green thumb fun for January?

Why not do some germination testing?

  1. Take Stock:Look through your seed collection & see what you have lots of & what you might need to re-order (i make an excel sheet, you can chose whether you want to be that nerdy!)
  2. Identify:
    Pick out any older seeds, seeds that you are not entirely sure were saved or stored correctly, extra special seeds, really any seeds that you want to see how many of them will sprout.Some crops thrive for a shorter amount of time in storage than others. Check out this chart from High Mowing Seeds to see how many years each crop variety will remain viable

  3. Portion:
    Take 10-50 seeds from each crop you want to do a germination test (the more seeds you can test the better, but if you only have a small amount of seed, you can try with a smaller amount of seeds)
  4.  Gather Supplies:
    paper towel or coffee filters
    seeds! (older, rare, ones you want to test before growing season)
    ziploc bags
    Sharpie marker
  5. Set-Up the Test:
    Dampen Paper Towel. Place seeds (10-25) on one half over the dampened towel and fold over so that seeds are covered.
  6. Place towel or filter in ziploc bag
  7. LABEL!
    Write the name of the crop, # of seeds, and date.
  8. Wait:
    Place in a warm location (on top of the fridge or near heating is great!)
  9. Check-In:
    Make sure that the paper towel (coffee filter) remains damp. Check on it at least ever couple days. Within 3-5 days, you should start to see the seeds sprouting.
  10. Get Your Germination Rate:
    After about five days, take note of how many seeds sprouted. Whatever percentage of seeds that sprouted is the viability rate of your seeds (e.g. if you started 50 seeds, and 40 sprouted, you have an 80% germination rate). If a majority of seeds sprouted, the seeds are strong and you can plant them freely in the coming season. If only a small percentage of seeds germinated, you can still grow them, just be sure to take note so that when you go to plant them, you can plan to over-seed. If the seed is rare or you only have a small amount of it left, this is the season to re-plant it, enjoy the produce, and even save more seeds for future seasons!

**Sometimes, when I have a lot of certain seeds, I do germination testing in soil, because I like to have things sprouting around me, especially in winter. It’s not as scientific, but can still give you a good sense of how strong your seeds are!

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