Are you fed up of trying to germinate seeds and facing failures?? Kick Out your frustrations. I'm here to help you out with some easy germination hacks today. From the day I thought of having a home garden, many questions were repeatedly running through my mind. Being a beginner, it took days together rather months together for me to understand something about gardening. Generally, people prefer growing some vegetable plants or flower plants from seeds at home. But due to lack of experience, they won't be knowing the right way to grow those plants. They will try to grow in some random way but it won't work. At this point, they will lose their interest in gardening. By choosing the good quality soil for plants and treating it with organic fertilizer, your dream of having a house garden can be achieved.
Now the question is how to make the seeds germinate efficiently.
Germination is a stage where a seed turns into a plant. Most of the seeds germinate in the soil. But some of the seeds can be germinated in moisture. The most common example for germination is sprouting. If you soak green peas in water for few hours, it will be sprouted. This has to be sown in the soil for the further growth. There are some easy ways to germinate the seeds.
Hack - 1 Soaking the seeds in water
By soaking the seeds in water for few hours, you can enhance the germination of the seeds. Use warm water while soaking so that the seeds sprout well. Soaking for 8 to 12 hours will do the trick for you. Oversoaking will decompose the seeds and spoil your whole effort. So take care of the time while soaking. Once the seeds sprout, you can place them in soil and start growing.
Hack - 2 Wrapping the seeds in wet clothes
By wrapping the seeds in a wet cloth for 24 hours, you can enhance the germination of the seeds. Do not keep it for more than 24 hours, else the seeds will get spoiled. Once the seeds sprout, you can place them in soil and start growing.
Hack - 3 Seedling tray method
Seedling tray method is a best practice to germinate seeds. Due to rain sometimes there are chances of losing the seeds. In the seedling tray method, seeds can be germinated safely and easily. You can maintain the seeds in the tray till it germinates. But when the plant reaches 2 to 3 inches in length it requires some more space to grow. So you need transplant into the pot or directly to the land.
Hack - 4 Direct Sow method
This is the most commonly used method. We can grow plants by sowing the seeds directly in the pots or on the ground.
1. Poke the soil approximately to 2 inch which forms a small hole.
2. Place the seed inside it and close it with soil and sprinkle a little bit of water.
3. Keep sprinkling the water once in 2 days. Within few weeks you can see the germination.
4. Maintain constant moisture in the soil / growing medium.
5. You have to avoid direct sunlight till the seeds sprout.
Hack - 5 Sowing small seeds
If the seeds are very small, sowing them is a bit difficult job. We cannot distribute them equally in the soil. So, take a cup of soil and mix the seeds with the soil. Then sprinkle the soil - seeds mixture so that the seeds will germinate easily.
Hack - 6 Sowing thickly coated seeds
If the seed coat is thick as in the bean seeds, rub off the outer layer gently using a pair of sandpaper and then sow. The seeds will germinate easily.
Hack - 7 Using squeezed lemon peels
You can use the lemon peels after squeezing to germinate the seeds. Its self-composting property adds up the nutrients to the soil. Just make a hole in the peel for drainage, fill the peel with soil and sow the seeds. You can transplant the seedlings once it reaches about 3 to 4 inches in height.
Hack - 8 Using Epsom salt
You can add Epsom salt to the soil for good germination. Add about 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to the hole before sowing the seed. It contains hydrated magnesium sulfate which strengthens the cell walls and leads to a stronger seedling. It also helps in absorbing vital nutrients from the soil.
Hack - 9 Starch gel method
You can also use starch gel method to sow small seeds. Take some cornstarch and add it to a cooking pan. Add sufficient water to make a starch solution. Place the cooking pan on the stove and boil it for about 2 minutes. Let the solution to cool and pour the solution into a zipper plastic bag. Put the seeds into the solution and distribute it throughout the solution using a spoon or a small stick. Make a small opening in the bottom corner of the bag. Pour the mixture into the soil in rows through the opening and cover it with a thin layer of soil and water them. The gel dissolves in few days and the seeds start germinating.
Weather condition plays a very important role in gardening. Generally, plants grow faster in warm temperature. On the other hand, it requires a certain amount of moisture as well. Extreme hot temperature leads to moisture loss and extreme cold temperature affects the growth of plants due to lack of warmth. Even though we cannot control the weather, we can at least create the favorable condition which can minimize the negative effects of weather on the plants up to a certain extent by the process of mulching.
Mulching is the process of covering the soil with certain materials to avoid weather fluctuations. Mulching is done to protect the plants from high temperature. They help the soil in retaining the moisture in the soil, regulating the soil temperature and suppressing the growth of weeds around the plants. Mulch is basically a layer of the soil and the atmosphere.
It can be prepared with dry leaves, pebbles, shredded newspapers and tree bark chips as temporary mulch or using the plastic sheets or recycled tire rubber around the plants as permanent mulch. Mulching can help the plants in maintaining the moisture of the soil and avoiding weed growth. Mulching can also increase the soil productivity.
The optimal temperature varies with the type of plants we grow. Plants cannot withstand wide temperature fluctuation. So here are some easy hacks to protect your plants from extreme conditions.
Hack - 1 Covering the plants
You can protect the plants from direct sunlight by covering them with plastic or by shade cloth. They not only protect the plants from high temperature but also protect them from freezing cold. You can buy them from nearby gardening stores or you can make use of old clothes or plastic sheets to create shade.
Hack - 2 Drip irrigation
Drip irrigation also helps to keep the soil moist and protects the plants during hot weather. It not only helps in conserving the water but also reduces human effort.
Hack - 3 The right time to water
Water the plants early in the morning or early in the evening during the hot season. If you water during the midday or in the afternoon, the water evaporates and the plants won't get the required amount of water to grow.
Hack - 4 Protecting the saplings from direct sunlight
If you are transplanting the saplings from the seedling tray or small pots to the soil, make sure to place them behind the bigger plants so that they will be protected from direct sunlight.
Hack - 5 Keeping the soil moist
Take a used water bottle and make a bunch of holes in it. Bury it besides the plant and fill it with water. The water flows slowly into the soil and provides sufficient moisture for the roots also during summer. It works similar to drip irrigation.
Hack - 6 Hardening off
During cold nights you need to keep the potted plants indoors where the temperature is comparatively high such that the plants won't suffer from cold. You can make your saplings comfortable in any season by the process called "Harden Off". This can also be called as the seasoning of the saplings. Introduce your plants to sunlight for a shorter time in the beginning and increase the duration gradually and decrease the frequency of watering. But make sure the plants are not wilted. Similarly, exposing them to cold weather by gradually increasing the duration. Once the saplings are hardened, they will be adjusted for any temperature fluctuation. So you can transplant the saplings. Make sure to nurture the transplanted ones with water and fertilizers in order to avoid transplant shock.
CARING FOR PLANTS
a. Selecting a good Growing medium
You need to select good soil to place the saplings. Nutrient-rich soil helps the plant give a good yield. Once the saplings are transplanted to the soil, you need to provide sufficient water and sunlight. You can also use coco peat instead of normal soil.
Coco peat is an organic growing medium made of coconut fiber. It can be used as a substitute for soil. It has a capacity to absorb water and hold it for a long time. Its antifungal property helps the plants to grow healthy. It is the most convenient growing medium as it is lightweight. But when compared to normal soil, it does not have any nutrients in it. You need to add the nutrients externally. You can use either vermicompost or any organic fertilizers.
For a better germination, it is suggested to use a lighter growing medium. You can use Cocopeat as the growing medium as it is lighter compared to the normal soil. The seeds can be compared to a fetus. It will not be having the capacity to absorb any nutrients from the soil. It just needs a loose growing medium so that the germination happens easily. Once the saplings reach a considerable stage, it needs nutrients to grow. So we need to transplant them to a fertile soil or growing medium. We can feed them with nutrients like compost, perlite etc.,
b. Providing essential nutrients to the soil
Fertilizers play a very important role in the growth of plants. They contain proteins and minerals required for a plant to grow healthy. Fertilizers are used to enhance the effectiveness of the soil by modifying its water retention and aeration. You get organic as well as artificial fertilizers in the market. Artificial fertilizers contain chemicals in it which may help the plant to grow well. But it affects the soil in long run. Due to chemicals, the soil loses its natural essence and turns out to be infertile. So make sure to use organic compost. It is easy to prepare in your household. You can prepare organic compost using the kitchen waste and animal waste by composting method. To know how to prepare organic compost, please refer to our product Trustbin.
Water is an essential component for plants to grow healthy. Some plants require more water and some require less. So, you need to take care of watering according to the requirement. Keep this in mind, plants won't grow faster by overwatering. You need to maintain the moisture content in the soil / growing medium.
d. Providing sufficient sunlight
As you all know, plants convert the nutrients present in the soil to the essential form through Photosynthesis. Sunlight is essential for photosynthesis to take place. Some plants require more sunlight and some require less sunlight. So, depending on the requirement you need to decide where to place the planted pots. If you have planted directly in the ground, you can avoid direct sunlight by covering the plants with plastic with a small hole for air to circulate.
You can place the pots on your balcony or terrace as per the requirement of sunlight. For any seed to germinate healthily, a sufficient amount of warmth is required. But you need to avoid direct sunlight during the time of germination. Once it germinates and the saplings reach 2 to 3 inches in height, you need to provide sufficient sunlight.
e. Pest control
Generally, plants are prone to pests and diseases. Pesticides are used to keep the plants healthy. Artificial pesticides contain chemicals in it which may help the plant to get rid of diseases and pests. But it affects the yield in long run. So it is better to use natural pesticides.
Neem oil is a natural pesticide. It avoids the disease-causing pests on one hand and also enriches the soil on the other hand. Add about 30 to 40 ml of neem oil to 1-liter water and sprinkle it on the plants. You can also use a salt spray, Eucalyptus oil, Garlic spray etc.,
You can cover the plants with used big plastic bottles or jugs to protect them from bugs. It also protects your plants from cold weather and keeps them warm.
Use Sticky Cellophane Tape to get rid of Garden Pests. Instead of using water to remove the small insect pests which sticks underneath the leaves and on the stem, wrap the sticky tape in such way that the sticky side on top and remove the pests easily.
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