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Seeds don't germinate -- Help
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Patricia
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November 2, 2010 - 2:26 pm
Member Since: October 25, 2010
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Hi,

I have planted some seeds of capsicum, karela and bhendi in separate pots. I never seem to have any luck with seeds. This time after reading the posts I have used perlite, compost and vermiculite in the ratio 1:1:1 as the potting mix. I have also soaked the seeds in water overnight before plantinh. I have covered the pots with plastic bags and can see the moisture inside.

I have kept the pots in semi shade.

Its been two weeks now and no signs of germination yet. Where did I go wrong? Could it be because the seeds are old. I had bought them last year.

Do I give up and try again or should I wait?

Is there anything else I can do at this stage?

Please help.

Patricia

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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November 2, 2010 - 4:28 pm
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Patricia,

 

Two weeks is a long time. Those seeds should have come up. Sometimes Karela takes a little longer because of its hard seed coat but I would expect Bhendi and capsicum to come out soon.

May be the seeds are old. Ok. Do this, just poke the surface and check if you can see the seeds. Sometimes, ants just eat away the seeds inside while you are patiently waiting. Check if you can spot the seeds gently. If you see them sprouting or sending out white radicle. Put them back in tact. Seeds could have rotten as well. Ensure there is good drainage and the medium is not soggy wet. Just good moisture is enough.

Where did you buy the seeds from?, Were they treated?

Let us know. You can also parallelly have a another setup ready for sowing incase these are goners.

 

GG

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Sri
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November 4, 2010 - 7:45 pm
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Hi,

 

Try putting seeds on a wet tissue paper and cover that in some airtight box with a plastic lid. Ensure that light can enter the plastic box so the inside is humid. I have tried germinating seeds this way and have almost 100% germination rate with Namdhari seeds. Good luck!

 

Cheers,
Sri

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Patricia
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November 8, 2010 - 2:04 pm
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Hi GG and Sri,

Thanks for the suggestions.

GG - I did check out the seeds but I there was no signs of germination, so I guess they got rotten. The capsicum and bhendi seeds were the Namdhari pre-treated seeds that I had bought long back but had not used (after reading all the posts I decided to try my hand at growing vegetables), so I guess they were too old.

 

I had soaked another batch of seeds (from same pack) for one more try. I will wait and watch one more time else I will go out and buy some fresh seeds. I will grow some in a potting mix as before and also try some on the tissue paper. Lets see what happens this time.

 

Will keep you all posted.

Thanks

Patricia

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Gardenia
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November 8, 2010 - 7:52 pm

This is just my openion and if this reply is against the rules of forum, please feel free to delete.

 

Hi Patricia,

I have similar experiace with chilli seeds from Namdari.  From that packet not even one seed germinated. Also one thing i noticed is on some of the packets they mention expiry date. Just check is this lot is old. I have stored some seed for more than 2 years, and even today i am confident of more thatn 95% germination.  In case of INDAM i have good experiace where i have seen 100% germination ( may be that is the reason it is bit expensive compare to others).

 

Thanks

Gardenia

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Satish
New Delhi
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February 24, 2011 - 5:16 pm
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Gardenia said:

This is just my openion and if this reply is against the rules of forum, please feel free to delete.

 

Hi Patricia,

I have similar experiace with chilli seeds from Namdari.  From that packet not even one seed germinated. Also one thing i noticed is on some of the packets they mention expiry date. Just check is this lot is old. I have stored some seed for more than 2 years, and even today i am confident of more thatn 95% germination.  In case of INDAM i have good experiace where i have seen 100% germination ( may be that is the reason it is bit expensive compare to others).

 

Thanks

Gardenia


Hi Gardenia:

I think that instead of presuming some fault with the seeds, we would do betterto look for what we might have done wrongly while sowing the seeds. It is very unlikely that if you do things right NOT A SINGLE SEED germinates! All of us beginners have to learn the importance of various factors the hard way. If it is any consolation to Patricia, I have gone through similar experiences a number of times. In fact afterthe initial setbacks I even gave up on gardening!! Knowing the right time for each variety is very important (GG has promised a calendarof sowing time for different varieties!). For example Bhendi needs a minimum night temperature of 20 C. As GG has pointed out above, the moisture content of the medium and the medium itself are very important. Actually, I find it very difficult to judge the right moisture content of the soil. If it is too dry and you water the soil again, it tends to form a hard crust. If the soil is 'glooy' with excess water the seeds will probably rot. To overcome my inability to judge the right moisture content, instead of putting soil on the sown seed, I put a generous 'helping' of moistened cocopeath on top of the seed. This gives me the freedom to water the sowings again if required as cocopeath does not form a crust. I have got very good results with this method. Once I had ants eat up my brinjal seeds. After that before sowing any seeds I treat the soil with a solution of a formulation called 'Challenger'. Soaking the seeds overnight has always helped me a lot but I learnt the hard way that if you leave seeds in water for more than twelve hours they just 'drown' and can not germinate thereafter. To hasten the absorption of water in seeds like all the gourds, I 'clip' (Yes, with a nail clipper!) the outer hard covering of the seeds at some point to allow the ingress of water into the interior of the seed. This really speeds up the germination. I have a very good experience with Namdhari flower seeds. Unfortunately they do not market their vegetable seeds in Delhi. I have tried 'Century' & 'Bejo' and found them very good too. Actually, I again say that the quality of seeds is rarely the reason for a 100% failure in germination. I am sure Patricia too will get 100% germination very soon! Let us all wish her lots of Good Luck in her next attempt! Regards.

SatishSmile

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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February 24, 2011 - 6:57 pm
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Excellent response. Thanks a lot for taking the time to give a detailed writing with tips on hastening the germination.

I am sure most of you must have given up on that calendar considering my speed in posting it. I will make sure I put something first and then go on improving it.

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greenenthu
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February 25, 2011 - 9:57 am
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Hi GG 

I wish I could wait for this write up of satish before putting my seeds for germination. Anyway, I had put seeds almost a week back and that very night it rained and has been raining off and on. Though tray and pots were covered with plastic sheets but still due to drop in temp. there was condensation and I could see water drops sticking to plastic sheets. After reading this note of Satish I dared to remove plastic sheets with my fingers crossed. 

I was disappointed. No germination! Cry  What do you suggest? Should I sow them again or wait and watch and if yes for how long? Seeds are of INDAM and Naamdhaari. I have put some coco-peat hoping it will absorb excess water. Do you think it wiill work?

Please give your expert advice. 

Happy gardening

Confused

Greenenthu

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Satish
New Delhi
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February 25, 2011 - 1:29 pm
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geekgardener said:

Excellent response. Thanks a lot for taking the time to give a detailed writing with tips on hastening the germination.

I am sure most of you must have given up on that calendar considering my speed in posting it. I will make sure I put something first and then go on improving it.


Hi GG:

THANKS A LOT for your very generous praise. Some people are born generous and you are surely one of them!! I knew you will take the hint regarding the calendar. I am sure everyone is keenly awaiting the same. There is no question whatsoever of giving up on your promises. I am sure each one of us appreciates your efforts and keeps praying for your days to be longer! Regards

Satish

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Satish
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February 25, 2011 - 2:10 pm
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greenenthu said:

Hi GG 

I wish I could wait for this write up of satish before putting my seeds for germination. Anyway, I had put seeds almost a week back and that very night it rained and has been raining off and on. Though tray and pots were covered with plastic sheets but still due to drop in temp. there was condensation and I could see water drops sticking to plastic sheets. After reading this note of Satish I dared to remove plastic sheets with my fingers crossed. 

I was disappointed. No germination! Cry  What do you suggest? Should I sow them again or wait and watch and if yes for how long? Seeds are of INDAM and Naamdhaari. I have put some coco-peat hoping it will absorb excess water. Do you think it wiill work?

Please give your expert advice. 

Happy gardening

Confused

Greenenthu


Hi Greenenthu:

Success after failures is the sweetest of them all!! I am sure the seeds you sowed earlier will germinate one of these days but just to be on the safe side follow GG's advice to Patricia on November 2 (See above). There you will find the answers to all your questions. I have learnt that nature can be really strange. I think Robert Bruce must have been thinking of gardening when he wrote "Try & try again boys till you succeed at last"! Last November, one of the good gardening stores in Delhi told me that 'Century' had developed a new variety of bottle gourds that could be sown in the November cold and it will bear fruit in February. I followed his advice and sowed the seeds.Let alone bearing fruit, there was no germination till three days ago. In the meantime I had given up on these seeds ever germinating and sowed new seeds. Lo and behold, now the seeds that I had sown in November have started germinating!! Now I don't know what I will do with so many bottle gourd plants. On the other hand, I planted a lot of Okra seeds in the soil just five days ago and this morning I was greeted by the wonderful sight of a lot of those seeds having germinated. I have also sown bitter gourd and sponge gourd and am keeping my fingers crossed! I have never even heard of Indam but I personally have a lot of faith in Namdhari. BTW what did you sow? Are Namdhari vegetable seeds available in Gurgaon? Hope you have more luck with your next sowings. Regards.

Satish

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greenenthu
GURGAON
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February 25, 2011 - 4:58 pm
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Hi Satish

Thanks for keeping my moral high. I had sown tomato (both cherry and normal), capsicum and green chilli and all summer vegetables(all gourds).Lets hope they come out.For lady finger ,I thought let the weather become little warm. I'll wait for another week for seeds to respond positive and if they still behave stubbornly I will follow GG's advice.

I bought INDAM and Namdhari from Argosy in Yashwant Palace(where chanakya cinema used to be). This guy has a good collection of seeds of all flowers and vegetables of all the prominent companies. But for compost , coco-peat, vermiculite/perlite etc. i found Balaji much reasonable. In Gurgaon , I find nurseries are not so good and pretty expensive.

Happy gardening

Smile

Green enthu

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Satish
New Delhi
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March 9, 2011 - 12:12 pm
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Sri said:

Hi,

 

Try putting seeds on a wet tissue paper and cover that in some airtight box with a plastic lid. Ensure that light can enter the plastic box so the inside is humid. I have tried germinating seeds this way and have almost 100% germination rate with Namdhari seeds. Good luck!

 

Cheers,

Sri


Hi Sri:

I am taking the liberty of suggesting a small change in your method of pre-germinating seeds & hope you dont mind my doing so. You are likely to get better results if you use a filter paper instead of the tissue paper which tends to hold too much water. Further, it is advisable to put another damp filter paper on top of the seeds before closing the air-tight box. It is also very important to keep the box in an area that has the required germination temperature for that particular variety. Your post inspired me to try these different variations and what I am now suggesting is the conclusion I have arrived at. Please try out the changes and post your own experience. Thanks a lot for the 'seed' idea !! Regards.

Satish

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Satish
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March 13, 2011 - 8:08 pm
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Hi Sri:

I just had to 'talk' to you and my fellow amateur gardeners about something else I tried in pre-germinating seeds. For us amateur gardeners, the main problem is to correctly judge the amount of optimum moisture for germination (or pre-germination) of seeds. What I did this time was that I kept the box containing the filter papers and the seeds a little tilted while ensuring that the filter papers touched the end of the box on the lowest side. What this did was that in case there was excess water, it just flowed down to the lower level while ensuring that the filters never dried up as the filters could 'absorb' the water from the lower end. In fact I feel that this ensured a 'stabilisation' of the moisture level. I have just tried this with bottle gourd and sponge gourd seeds and the results have been phenomenal. BTW, I used a coffee machine filter leaving the top & bottom attached only on one side. Hopefully I have been able to explain myself ! Tomorrow I will attempt this with Tomato and Pepper seeds and report the results after a few days. Regards.

Satish

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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March 15, 2011 - 7:42 pm
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I am just super excited looking at the kind of discussions that happen here :D. I always used tissue paper for the lazy seeds. But I want to try out the filter paper as well. Thanks for all the ideas.

Satish, will it be asking for too much if i request you to post a picture on your filter paper setup? Take your time.

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Satish
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March 15, 2011 - 8:31 pm
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Hi GG:

Your generosity with praises just has no end ! Anyway THANKS again. I have been wanting to post some pictures and tried to do that with some of my Bougainvillea but failed. I have created the Picasa web albums but have not been able to use the link correctly. I am trying to learn. In the meantime I will surely take some pics of the 'filter paper set-up' as you call it ! Regards

Satish

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Srikanth
Serilingampally, Hyderabad
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March 15, 2011 - 9:51 pm
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Satish said:

Hi GG:

 I have created the Picasa web albums but have not been able to use the link correctly. I am trying to learn.

Satish


In Picassa click on your album. Now hover you mouse over the picture and right click and select 'Copy Link Location'. Paste in the forum here.

 

Another option is if you have an album to share in the web client of picassa after you open the album on the right side of the page you will see a 'Link to this album'. Click on it and copy the address in this forum.

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Thanks,

Srikanth

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Satish
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March 19, 2011 - 11:09 am
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Hi GG:

As desired by you I am posting here some very recent pics of what you have called my "filter paper set-up" ! Actually the last pics with the fully germinated Okra seeds were shot just 5 minutes ago. I will be happy to provide any clarification.

https://picasaweb.google.com/108184095189913552151/OkraSBirthInAPencilBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCIyqu7uiupT-WA&feat=directlink

I hope the link works. I am still not very confident of my capability to do this.

Allow me to mention here that I have used coffee machine filters just because I had some lying around. Any filter paper will do. In fact the round filters used in labs placed in round boxes might be easier to use because the problem of 'fitting' will be avoided.

Another point to remember is that for seeds that germinate in darkness it is important to use opaque boxes while transparent boxes can be used for seeds that germinate in light. I learnt this the hard way when my beans failed to germinate in a transparent box but started doing fine after I tucked the box into a black garbage bag !

Regards.

Satish

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dwaipayandc
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March 19, 2011 - 8:34 pm
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I find this method execellent. I'm using tissue paer. but the seeds are germinationg so fast. sweet basil seeds started germinating after 24 hours.

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snorkel4u
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June 20, 2012 - 9:19 am
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Hi All, 

 

I got a seeding tray and used coco peat as the medium and planted some Zinnia and Double Balsam seeds. made the medium a little moist and sealed the tray with a transparent plastic sheet. By the next morning I could see condensation happening under the sheet and also water droplets sticking to it. Now this is the part where I am confused. Some people here say that the plastic sheet should be tightly stuck to the tray to retain the moisture. thats the main intent. 

But if this coupling of the sheet to the tray cuts off the air circulation, is it OK? I mean do the seeds need air for germination? What I know of is they need moisture and warmth. 

Seniors, please comment about the presence of air?

 

Second problem that happened with me was I had sown seeds in 4 rows of 5 holes/ row. the bottom right corner three holes had germination in 2 days itself, and the germinated seeds grew up too long, through the entire height of the tray hole and started touching the plastic sheet covering it. Now here I went wrong again. Its mentioned clearly in the seeds and also many places of blogs etc, as soon as you see signs of germination, remove the plastic sheet and keep the seedlings in partial shade. I was worried about what if I take out the plastic, what happens to the moisture of the other 17 holes where seeds havent shown any growth so far. Yesterday I took out the plastic sheet to see only that the 3 seedlings have died because of excess moisture from touching the top of the plastic sheet 🙁 bummer!

 

This time I planted some more seeds and made sure the plastic sheet is 2-3 inches above the level of the top of the tray, so that, when the seeds germinate they have some breathing space above the rim of the seeding hole as well. Lets see how it goes. Also sowed some Spinach seeds after seeing GGs videos. Germination has happen, but I guess I need to wait a little more to let them gain some strength. They are still very feeble. 

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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June 20, 2012 - 12:49 pm
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Here is the thing, when we cover the tray with polythene the idea is to retain moisture and it also creates warm humid environment that fastens germination. It doesn't mean it should be airtight. As long you see condensation happening, most probably it is tight enough. Tightly tucking in wouldn't hurt either.

oxygen is needed for the root. That will be used from the media (due to air porosity). Dont worry about it. 

 

For your 2nd problem, usually only one variety is sown per tray so that all of them germinate at the same time ( give or take 2 days). If you see a sign, remove the cover. the rest of them will germinate with no problem.  ..

 

Sometimes too much attention is also not good. Just give it time, they will germinate just fine.

 

Good luck

GG

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