Organic Tomato Seedlings

How To Successfully Germinate Seeds?

Since I started to sow my own vegetable garden plants rather than buying them ready-made, I have found that some seeds do not sprout. It turned out that some seeds require a special “push” or “how to use” in order to germinate.  

How to germinate seeds?

Germinating seeds works differently for each type of seed. Have a look on the packaging of the seeds first to discover what treatment is needed to make the seeds germinate. Also, make sure to follow the recommended sowing time for germinating seeds. If you sow out of season, it may explain why seeds don’t sprout or sprout poorly.

When to germinate seeds

The sowing time of seeds is important for good germination. Annuals are to be sown in spring, and will flower in summer. Sow biennials in summer, around July and August and the flowers will bloom a year later. Perennials can be sown and the plants will grow the first year while they will flower in the following years.

Compost Seed and Cuttings: the best soil for germination

Seed requires very little to no nutrition from the soil, so special seed and cutting compost is best to use in this stage. Seedling soil should be moist, but not too wet. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Some seeds, like violets, germinate in the dark. Cover them with an old newspaper until the seedlings emerge.

Organic Seed compost

Tips for germinating seeds

First we need to know a little bit more about seed stratification. Stratification of seeds is the condition in which dormancy of seeds is broken to germinate naturally. Some seeds germinate with the help of heat and moist, these should preferably be sown indoors or in a greenhouse. Soak hard seeds in water for a few hours before sowing. Some seeds will germinate when cold and you can mimic this by putting them in the freezer for a few days before you sow them. This awakens them from their dormancy, allowing the seeds to germinate. Seeds need to be kept in moist soil to make them germinate. 

Here are a few examples:


The secret to successful parsley seed germination is to plant the seeds in a shallow trench or in a single pot of water. The parsley seeds can be left overnight in cold water, or you can fill the sowing trenches with boiling water and place the seeds in them.

Courgette / Zucchini

Zucchini seeds like warmth, so they should be placed in water to soak for a couple of hours before sowing them. Since courgette seeds dislike the cold, the seeds should be sown upright; otherwise, they might rot and the seed will not sprout.

Sweet Pea

The seeds of Lathyrus are quite hard. You can help them germinate faster by softening them first. To do this, just put them on a damp piece of kitchen paper overnight, preferably made wet with rainwater.


The seeds of violets require warmth to germinate; it is best to place them in the dark and cover them with a piece of cardboard or old newspaper until they germinate. Remove the cover as soon as they germinate. Make sure the soil remains moist.

TIP: An egg carton can be useful as you can easily open and close it.

Last but not least: Pay attention to your sowing schedule. Sort your stock of seeds by the month of the first sowing, so you can enjoy your harvest as early as possible.

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