Planting seeds is one of the first steps to having a successful garden. But sometimes they can be tricky to use! Here are 6 reasons your seeds aren’t sprouting in your garden.
The weather here in Arizona has been beautiful the last few weeks – while the rest of the country was digging out from snow the last few weeks, we were basking in the summer sun (and very hot summer sun, I must add!)
We are very fortunate that we can enjoy our garden all year long – but in many areas of the U.S., the winter weather puts a damper on the garden leaving you with a short spring/summer growing season.
Three weeks ago I pulled out my seed box to prep my small garden and over the next few days, planted all of my seeds – from cucumbers to tomatoes, peppers to melons – several weeks later, they are sprouting and growing like crazy (and I’m patting myself on the back another year!)
I’m so excited to see them vibrant and alive ~ I just pray that they continue to flourish as time progresses.
Guess what though? I don’t always plant from seeds!
This year I planted 75% of my garden from seeds, though I did hit my nursery for strawberry plants and mint plants because they were already established and they looked pretty incredible. Planting from seeds can be a tremendous gamble – while I usually save my seeds from year to year, there are some instances that I buy a pack of seeds from a reputable retailer to bring some variety to my garden.
When you buy a pack of seeds and put the time and energy into planting them, you expect them to grow. But what do you do when those seeds remain dormant? Sometimes seeds don’t sprout and you don’t see any action which can lead to feelings of disappointment.
The good news is that you can troubleshoot those stubborn seeds quite easily yourself. Here are 6 reasons your seeds aren’t sprouting, and see if one of these reasons could be the culprit.
1. The seeds are old/expired
Seed packets are marked with expiration dates just like food packets are. Seeds may still grow even if planted past these dates, but some seeds have a shorter shelf life. Be sure to check the corners of your packets for a “plant by” date, so you can be sure the seeds are fresh and haven’t dried out.
2. You didn’t soak them first
Larger seeds in tough coatings may need to be soaked first. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours in water can help soften up the shell and stimulate growth. If dealing with thickly coated seeds, be sure you soak them for 12-24 hours before planting in order to help them out.
3. They aren’t getting enough sun
Plant seeds in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day. This warmth is important to the seeds and will give them a strong starting boost. Moving any dormant seeds to a sunnier space may help give them a kickstart.
4. They aren’t getting enough water
It takes lots of water to help soften the shell of the seed and get the little sprout active. Be sure you planted seeds in nutrient rich soil and are keeping the soil moist with regular waterings. Many times people don’t water on a regular basis until they see a sprout. Instead, keep watering every few days until the sprout appears.
In addition to water, sometimes a good biodynamic compost drench works wonders for your new seeds too. Though there are so many out there on the market, I love using Bu’s Biodynamic Compost Tea in my garden. Each tea bag can can steep 2.5-5 gallons of water. Use that water as a soil drench on new or existing plants.
5. You didn’t buy them from a reputable seller
Sadly, there are lots of con-artists out there. Many online retailers are selling seeds for things like rainbow tomatoes and rainbow roses. If it sounds too good or cool to be true, it is. These types of flowers and vegetables simply don’t exist, and there is no telling what kind of product you received under these promises. Buy from reputable seed catalogs only.
6. They were improperly stored
Store seeds in a cool, dry location. If not, they can dry out, rot, get disease or struggle to sprout. Properly mark the storage date for future reference. You can even use silica gel packets to discourage sees from attracting moisture.
Should you have dormant seeds and think one of these issues might be the culprit, try moving it to a nutrient rich, sunny space and give it regular waterings. You can even try soaking the seeds in water to help soften and jumpstart them.
Give these reasons your seeds aren’t sprouting your consideration and see if they can help!