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Soaking Seeds for Better Germination - Page 2 Toplef10Soaking Seeds for Better Germination - Page 2 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Soaking Seeds for Better Germination

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Post  OhioGardener 2/4/2023, 8:30 am

sanderson wrote:Your results are worth repeating the experiment again using another type of seeds.  You may be on to something.

I might do that when it becomes times to start the peppers or tomatoes or chard.  It would have to be something that I need 6 of the same plants.

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Post  Soose 2/4/2023, 11:39 am

I bought some EM-1 yesterday from the company.  They gave me a 15% coupon code.
THEN after the order they gave me a code to send my friends -- 20%.
I think I should have gotten the 20%, don't you?  But who wants some?
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Post  sanderson 2/4/2023, 6:16 pm

OhioGardener wrote:
sanderson wrote:Your results are worth repeating the experiment again using another type of seeds.  You may be on to something.

I might do that when it becomes times to start the peppers or tomatoes or chard.  It would have to be something that I need 6 of the same plants.
I can't wait. Reproducibility over and over separates facts from anecdotal statements.

My EM-1 expires April 2023 and it has been in the same coolish area in the house since I bought it. [I bought it to fight white flies (which didn't work using the printed instructions.)] If I could use it un-activated, I would like to try some Ziplock baggie method seeds, with and without soaking.

If you could provide me some instructions, I'll start tonight. Very Happy bounce I think I will try 3/3 Snow Fairy tomatoes since I am going to plant at least 10 again. Maybe 2/2 Mortgage Lifter, and maybe 3/3 cucumbers, etc. I use sterilized, sifted MM as seed mix. Can I use EM-1 to re-contaminate the MM once the seedling get their 1st true leaves? Or should I make tea from the MM from a bed? That's what I normally do.

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Post  OhioGardener 2/4/2023, 6:42 pm

sanderson wrote:If you could provide me some instructions, I'll start tonight. Very Happy bounce   I think I will try 3/3 Snow Fairy tomatoes since I am going to plant at least 10 again.  Maybe 2/2 Mortgage Lifter, and maybe 3/3 cucumbers, etc.  I use sterilized, sifted MM as seed mix.  Can I use EM-1 to re-contaminate the MM once the seedling get their 1st true leaves?  Or should I make tea from the MM from a bed?  That's what I normally do.

What I do is mix 1/2 tsp of EM with 1 cup of water. Soak seeds like pepper, tomato, of  cucumber for 1 hour.  After they are soaked I place part of a paper towel on a small bowl and pour the liquid with the seeds onto the towel, then lift the towel and turn it upside down on newspaper to separate the seeds to let them completely dry. Once the seeds are completely dried, plant them in the compost (our your MM) and water with the EM mixture the seeds soaked in.

I used identical compost for both the soaked an the unsoaked seeds for testing, with the only difference being watering the soaked seeds compost with the leftover EM solution after planting.

I think part of the reason the seeds soaked in the EM-1 solution prior to planting germinate faster is because the soaking softens the shell of the seed, but the theory is that the EM-1 soaking penetrates to germ of the seed and causes it to germinate faster and healthier. Testing will tell.

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Post  Soose 2/4/2023, 10:37 pm

Why do you dry the seeds out after soaking them? Only to wet them again.
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Post  OhioGardener 2/5/2023, 7:41 am

Soose wrote:Why do you dry the seeds out after soaking them? Only to wet them again.

To allow the microbes to fully absorb into the seed coating instead of being washed off while planting it.

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Post  sanderson 2/6/2023, 1:40 am

Seeds drying on parchment paper after 30 min soak. The bread poppy seeds were rather uncooperative. The Snow Fairy packet indicates 2016, but I've been using it for the seeds I save each year. The ones that were soaked tonight were 2022.

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Post  OhioGardener 2/6/2023, 7:18 am

Going to be interesting to watch the results.

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Post  sanderson 2/7/2023, 4:22 pm

OhioGardener wrote:I used identical compost for both the soaked an the unsoaked seeds for testing, with the only difference being watering the soaked seeds compost with the leftover EM solution after planting.
Here's round #2 of testing. Soaking the seeds and planting without pouring the extra EM-1 solution over the seeds once they are sowed in the pots. Not soaking the seeds but pouring EM-1 solution over the seeded pots. ??

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Post  OhioGardener 2/13/2023, 5:37 pm

Since this post got a little off topic with discussions about how many plants a person needed, I split it into a new post of that title, "How Many Plants per Person" which can be found here:

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t23838-how-many-plants-per-person#306791

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Post  lovey 2/14/2023, 3:43 pm

I think I would only ever go to the trouble of soaking seeds if we were having a shortage.  My seed soaking experiences have never been  super successful.  Now I only soak seeds that I am suspicious of - like a pack that was left in the bottom of the basket.
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Post  OhioGardener 2/18/2023, 2:16 pm

OhioGardener wrote:I love a challenge, so I decided to do another short experiment with photos.  This time I am only doing 6 seeds, 3 soaked with activated EM, and 3 not soaked. They were planted on January 25th in one 6-pack Cow Pot with the same sifted compost in all 6 cells, set on a heat mat with a plastic dome over the tray. I marked the 3 soaked seeds with a tag showing "EM", and the 3 that were not soaked with a tag showing "N". All 6 have germinated now, and this picture shows them on the 8th day after planting.  I will continue following them until they are transplanted into the raised bed.  The EM soaked ones show a significant advantage right now.

Soaking Seeds for Better Germination - Page 2 Bok_ch12

Soaking Seeds for Better Germination - Page 2 Bok_ch13

As a conclusion of the seed soaking experiment I started on January 25th, I checked the development of these Bok Choy seedlings 1 1/2 weeks after they were transplanted into the greenhouse raised bed.  The only difference in the plants was the starting of the seeds by soaking half of them in an effective micro-organisms (EM) solution before planting, and not soaking the other half of the seeds. The seeds that were soaked germinated faster than the non-soaked ones, and grew faster. (Note: I did not test a 3rd set of seeds by soaking some in plain water, which would have been a more complete test.)

Today, three and one-half weeks after the seeds were planted shows the ones that were soaked in EM-1 still growing at a much faster rate than the ones that were not soaked - noted in the picture below.  Since transplanting them, they have both received the same light and water. One week ago I also applied a soil drench of EM at the ratio of 1:500 to the entire bed, including these Bok Choy. The Bok Choy on the left in the picture will be ready to harvest in another 2 to 3 weeks at the rate they are growing.  (Note: The plant in front of the right-side Bok Choy is a Swiss Chard plant, and not part of the experiment.)
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Post  Soose 2/26/2023, 8:44 pm

OhioGardener wrote:Today, three and one-half weeks after the seeds were planted shows the ones that were soaked in EM-1 still growing at a much faster rate than the ones that were not soaked - noted in the picture below.

@OhioGardener,  how is that experiment progressing?  A friend asked what EM was and then wanted to know if it would affect fruiting vs greenleaf plants differently.   (I wasn't thinking so.)

If you do another experiment with a control group of water-only soaking, would love to see results!  I bought some and am going to try it out this week.
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Post  markqz 2/27/2023, 12:00 am

Soose wrote:If you do another experiment with a control group of water-only soaking, would love to see results!  I bought some and am going to try it out this week.
Yes, I was thinking the same thing. I usually soak hard-shell seeds in water before planting. Actually, I think that's the standard seed-starting advice. I'm sure they grow better than seeds dry-planted.
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Post  OhioGardener 2/27/2023, 7:42 am

Soose wrote: how is that experiment progressing?  A friend asked what EM was and then wanted to know if it would affect fruiting vs greenleaf plants differently.   (I wasn't thinking so.)

The experiment has ended, primarily because we ate the larger Bok Choy plants this past Friday. Very Happy 

There is no reported differences between using Effective Microorganisms (EM) on fruiting or leafy plants.  There is a wealth of info available via google searches on using EM for soaking seeds or transplants, such as this one article:
https://www.permaculturenews.org/2016/01/19/what-are-effective-microorganisms/

If you do another experiment with a control group of water-only soaking, would love to see results!  I bought some and am going to try it out this week.

I was planning on doing this with some new seed starting, but now that I have decided to use the AeroGarden Seed Starting System to start my vegetable seeds this spring I am not sure that I will be starting any on heat mats as I normally do. I do like experiments, though, so who knows....

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