Monday, April 19, 2010

To Soak Or Not To Soak

That was the question when I prepared to start seeds indoors under lights, especially when it came to the nasturtiums. This packet came right out and said to do it... ...but this one didn't. (Funny how different seeds for the same plant can look so different.) I figured that soaking them can't hurt ....so I did. (Plus I have the wintersown ones that were not soaked to compare somewhat, though growing methods differ.)

There! These were set in a tray that went on the heat mat, so I'm hoping they'll germinate soon. (Still nothing from the wintersown seeds.)
I have two more varieties of nasturtium that I'll direct sow outdoors later, and I will soak them...
....but I decided to go ahead and try some of the 'Alaska Mix' and 'Spitfire' soaked seeds out right now in small pots.

Let's see what happens :)


"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project, thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds."

14 comments:

meemsnyc said...

It's always exciting to see seeds germinate and leaves sprouting!

lisa said...

Absolutely! It's a miracle every time, IMO.

Bangchik said...

It seems that seeds with thick seed coats require soaking to help with germination.
~bangchik

lisa said...

That's what I'd always heard, but I'm surprised in the varying information on seed packets of similar type. This season I'm comparing soaked to filed seeds of a sweet pea to see which method seems most successful in my climate...should be interesting.

Mr Brown Thumb said...

Did you do an extra post or is this early?

Anyway, I like soaking my nasties because it really does help give them a head start, especially if we're having a particularly dry spring like we are this year. Otherwise just direct sowing them and letting nature rain on them works pretty well.

lisa said...

This is an extra post, and I'm getting ready to do another: my wintersown 'Spitfire' germinated :)

Anonymous said...

I've always soaked my seeds, and I file+soak the really tough ones.
Howard Garrett suggests that you soak your seeds in fish emulsion for hardier, healthier seedlings. I've been doing that for years, but I've never done a comparison test. I do know that I don't have damping off problems, but is it the compost I use or the fish emulsion. Hmmmm, I think this is a job for Lisa, the super slueth... :)
v.

lisa said...

File AND soak? That would certainly improve the odds! The sweet pea seeds all germinated on the same day (filed or soaked), and they all seem to be the same size...no tie-breaker there! The fish emulsion sounds like a great idea! Is it full strength, or diluted as per the label? I would love to test it out next year...super sleuth for sure! :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I'm bad about not measuring.
I'd say about a 1 to 3 ratio of fish emulsion to water.
I always mix my fish emulsion to look sort of like a strong glass of tea.
v.

Anonymous said...

Btw, that's good to know about the sweet pea seeds!
v.

lisa said...

Thank you for clearing that up! My sweet pea experiment was just the beginning... ;-)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

The nice thing about winter sowing, especially if one starts early, is that even seeds that DO require soaking don't when WSing... the moist soil mix will soften the seed coat over time. The only way Ive ever done morning glories is winter sowing and I had no idea they needed stratification otherwise!!

Mistress Gardener said...

I soak all seeds...just to cut the time down to germination...I figure it takes 3-10 days off the process; I've heard some use hydrogen peroxide, and others use chamomile tea to prevent damping off. I use whatever standing water I have in the sink, soapy or not.

For peas and sweet peas, I sometimes let it soak for days...until it's moldy, lol...still, pretty much all germinate.

lisa said...

Monica-I suppose one could soak even wintersown seeds, they should still germinate when they're ready. The best part of wintersowing is the simplicity...hate to mess with that! :)

MG-Even the tiny ones? Funny you mentioned moldy...my mom forgot her soaking pepper seeds once and they were moldy so she tossed them in the flower garden for "compost". They all germinated! Soapy water for seedlings?! You are braver than I!!