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What Happened to My Germination?

Q & A

Part 4 of 4

And finally, a few questions to answer to help us help you in determining what went wrong and how to correct it:

  • Did you follow the germination instructions on the seed packet? Go back and read them again; we sometimes spend hours researching and experimenting to find the best methods, temperatures, etc.
  • What was the soil temperature? Not the air temperature, but the soil temperature? Were there fluctuations? If so, how much? Not knowing this is a critical error that is a major cause of seed germination failure.
  • How moist/damp was the soil? For seed starting, the soil needs to be damp to the touch. You should be able to see a small pad of moisture on your fingertip after you lightly touch the soil. It shouldn’t be a drop of water, but an easily observed spot of dampness. Was it too dry/too wet? Did it get dry during the day/night, or was there constant moisture?
  • What seed starting mix are you using – a complete soil, Miracle-Gro mix, sterile seed starting mix, home-grown, or something else?
  • Are the seeds still physically in the ground? If you don’t know, dig a few up to check. Are birds, squirrels, rodents eating/stealing the seeds or seedlings? Many times we have heard that our seeds aren’t germinating when they have been eaten! You may need to use a paper cup with the bottom cut off to protect the seedling from birds/rodents until it is more mature.

Once you have answered these questions, we can help you determine what has prevented your seeds from germinating. More often than not you will know what to change just from reading this.

An excerpt from “What Happened to my Seed Germination?“, courtesy of Terroir Seeds.

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