Germinating Bulk Seeds: From Dry Seeds or in Trays

To produce a bulk amount of crops, you must first start with germinating a bulk amount of seed. There are various methods for starting a lot of seeds. The one that works for you will depend on your time, your patience, your equipment, and your space. Here is a look into a few methods of germinating bulk seeds.

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Trays

Starting seeds in trays is the best way to ensure that you will have sturdy plant starts. Germination rates are often not one-hundred percent using this method, but will save time and effort in the long run.

Fill your seed starting tray with loose, properly balanced soil. Then, gently press the soil down with your fingers to the planting depth recommended for the type of seed you are planting. Fill each planting space with 1-3 seeds, depending on how successful these seeds have been for you in the past. Starting with more seeds per planting space with increase the chances you get a start in each space, but too many will make it difficult to split apart multiple starts in each plant starter.

Keep moisture levels constant by filling the lower tray filled about ¼ to ½ inches high with water. Check the water level every day or so. You can use a clear lid on top of the tray to keep moisture and heat in while the seeds are germinating. Take the lid off when you see that some of your seeds have sprouted.

This is one of the best methods to starting seeds because of the time and effort used. You mess with the tray once to plant seeds in it, maintain moisture levels, then in two-three weeks, you will be ready to transplant into the field.

Dry seed

Dry seeding is the long practiced method of germinating seeds directly into the ground where the plant will grow. Proper spacing and seed planting depth must be maintained in order to get a good row, or patch of garden. There are many elements that may deter a full germination such as soil quality, air temperature, wind, seed eating predators, diseases, and others.

This is the fastest and least time consuming method of germinating seeds. The tradeoff is that you are often left with areas that didn’t germinate and look like holes in your field. People who look for a whole section of perfectly placed and ordered plants, will be disappointed by this method.

You can also sprout seeds in a bag or paper towel. Check it out here.

Photos: Patrick Yaeger, Dwight Slpler

PrintBy Jake Frazier

Jake Frazier is an outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Residential Ecology, a sustainable ecological resource management company. He uses existing natural systems to improve the quality of life for both humans and the Earth. Jake is interested in permaculture, living systems and exploring. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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