How to determine seed germination?
Landing time is approaching. Gardeners and gardeners are increasingly sifting through their seeds, checking stocks to determine what has not yet been purchased. And someone, on the contrary, shows up a lot of packages with seeds that have been lying for more than one year. Everyone knows that the longer the seeds lie, the worse they germinate when sowing. How to check the germination of seeds, we will describe in this article.
Why check seeds for germination?
One of the main indicators of the quality of seed material is seed germination. The number of seedlings depends on it - that is, the future seedlings of vegetables and flowers, and on the beds - the density of plant sprouts. The closer the germination rate is to 100%, the less seeds are needed for sowing.
Unfortunately, it also happens that the seeds have very low germination, or they may turn out to be generally dissimilar. To work on the preparation of the soil, sowing, watering were done not in vain, it is necessary to check the sowing properties of seeds. Such a check will allow us to conclude: are there enough seeds, or need to buy more.
According to GOST, germination is understood as the ability of seeds to produce normal seedlings for a specific (provided for each crop) period under optimal germination conditions. Germination is determined as a percentage of germinated seeds to the total number of seeds sown.
There is a concept of laboratory germination, this indicator is determined by the employees of seed inspections in optimal conditions and is indicated on the package with seeds. We can determine the so-called greenhouse germination.
This indicator is determined in a greenhouse or closed ground, and it is always lower than laboratory germination, since at home it is difficult to create ideal conditions for each crop. Hence the difference between the germination indicated on the bag of seeds and the results of our test. When in the spring we will sow our seeds in open ground, the conditions for seed germination will be even more severe, it will be field germination.
Seeds of different crops have different periods of viability. For example, the shortest (up to two years) shelf life of celery and parsnip seeds. Seeds of asters, delphinium, primroses, salvia, verbena, and godetium quickly lose their germination in flowers.
2-3 years stored seeds of dill, parsley, onions. 3-4 years, the seeds of leafy vegetables, carrots, leeks, radishes, radishes, peppers retain their sowing properties. Up to 5 years, you can store eggplant seeds, tomatoes. Seeds of zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbage, melons, watermelons - 6-8 years.
The ability of seeds to germinate is affected not only by the age of the seeds, but also by their storage conditions. Because of this, the "old" seeds can sometimes be germinating, but with a normal shelf life - not. That's why it is recommended to check the seeds before sowing for germination.
Do I need to check all the seeds?
In amateur gardening has its own characteristics. If farmers occupy entire fields with certain varieties, sowing lasts more than one day, equipment and many people are involved, then in this case it is extremely important to know the quality indicators of the seeds that are used for sowing.
Fans, as a rule, plant many varieties, but several plants of each variety. If a pack of tomatoes or cucumbers was bought for a lot of money, and there are not so many seeds in it, then it is economically unprofitable to spend part of these seeds for verification. In this case, it is advisable to sow these varieties early on seedlings, so that in case of poor seed germination time is left for sowing others. And if we are talking about those crops that will be sown in whole beds (carrots, beets, greens, flowers for seedlings in large quantities, etc.), then in this case it is better to check seeds with dubious germination.
Seed Verification Methods
There are two main methods for checking seeds for germination - preliminary seed germination and testing in saline. In any case, before the test, the seeds must be sorted: remove weak and obviously dissimilar ones - feeble, small, broken. Even if such seeds sprout, they will yield a small crop.
A very important point: the method of preliminary germination determines the germination of only those seeds that germinate during the first three to four weeks, that is, they are not stiff and do not need stratification.
Most often used to determine seed germination method sprouting in wet wipes. Seeds are placed on a saucer between two layers of wet tissue, a paper towel, or two wet cosmetic discs.
The saucer is tightly covered with a plastic wrap or bag and placed in a dark, warm place. At a temperature of 20 ... 23 ° C, a cup with seeds is kept for several days. In this case, you should regularly check the napkin, it must always be wet, but not wet, otherwise the seeds will rot.
Depending on the cultivated culture and the quality of the seeds, the first sprouts may appear after 4-5 days, but mainly for the germination of different crops need from 7 to 14 days.
First of all, seeds of tomato, cabbage, radish, radish, pumpkin (zucchini, cucumbers, etc.) can germinate. The seeds of carrots, parsley, onions, and dill sprout longer. As a rule, such germination is carried out within 3 to 4 weeks.
The older the seeds, the later they germinate. Many gardeners know that “their” seeds germinate faster than store seeds. This is due to the fact that agricultural companies specially dry seeds to certain values so that they are better stored.
At the end of the inspection period, sprouted seeds are counted and their germination is determined. If 16 of the 20 seeds sprouted, then germination is 80% (16:20). And yet - the faster the seeds germinate, the more they have germination energy. This is the second important indicator of the sowing quality of seeds.
Germination of crops with large seeds: zucchini, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, peas, corn can be determined by germinating their seeds in sawdust. For this, sawdust should be scalded 2-3 times with boiling water. Then lay them moist in low containers or drawers and sow seeds. Sprinkle the seeds with sawdust, tamp a little, cover with a film. Place containers in a warm place.
Similar to the previous method, you need to daily control the humidity of the substrate. As in the previous method, after a certain time it will be possible to calculate the number of germinated seeds and determine the percentage of germination.
At Roll method Seed germination tests using paper such as from a school notebook. A square sheet 25x25 cm in size needs to be placed in water for several seconds, removed, allowed to drain excess water.
Put the sheet on the table, place the seeds on it in one or two rows. Seeds must be pre-calculated. Roll paper and put in a container of water in a dark place. Prerequisite - the seeds in the roll must be above the water level. After a certain time for each type of plant, the roll is removed from the water and the result of germination is calculated.
Another verification method is seed control. A layer of soil is poured into boxes and containers, seeds are sown, which are sprinkled with a small layer of soil. Crops are moistened, covered with film or glass, then they will need to be put in a warm place.
As in all previous methods, it will be necessary to regularly check the humidity of the substrate, as well as to remove condensation from a glass or film with a cloth. The result is also determined by the ratio of germinated seeds to sown.
Using this method, specialists not only calculate the number of seeds sprouted, but also count the seedlings from the time of emergence to the period when the number of sprouted seeds ceases to increase within two days by more than 1-2%. Based on the numbers obtained, it will be possible to navigate about what will be the germination of seeds in real conditions of open ground (that is, determine field germination).
Checking the germination of seeds in a solution of salt
The second method for determining seed viability is to use a solution of ordinary table salt. Typically, this method is used to test seeds of tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, radishes, cucumbers.
As a rule, verification is carried out several days before the expected date of sowing. Seeds are lowered into a container with a 3-5% salt solution (1 teaspoon of salt per 1 liter of warm water) and mix well. After 30 minutes, all emerging seeds are discarded. Seeds that have settled to the bottom are suitable for sowing.
Without fail, the seeds must be washed with running water and dried. It must be borne in mind that this method may have an error when very dry but viable seeds also float. When sowing, they would sprout, but would sprout longer than the rest.
What to do with scan results?
Knowing the seed germination rate, you can correctly calculate the sowing rate and find a replacement in time for absolutely non-germinating seeds. Seeds are considered conditional (suitable for sowing) if the number of germinated seeds is 90% or more. Such seeds do not need to use methods to increase germination. Although modern means for presowing seed treatment also have a prophylactic effect - they increase the resistance of seeds to diseases and different growing conditions.
If the germination rate is within 50%, then the experts recommend that the seeding rate be increased by 2 times.
With an indicator below 30%, sowing seeds is impractical. Of course, if we are not talking about valuable or rare plants that need to be preserved.
Is it possible to increase seed germination?
You can increase the germination of seeds using a number of techniques:
- Soaking them in a solution of growth regulators - "Epine", "Zircon", "HB-101", preparations "Sprout", "Potassium humate" or "Humate sodium" and others.
- From folk remedies, soaking in melt water, aloe juice, honey solution, ash infusion is effective.
- Seed germination also increases after bubbling (soaking in oxygenated water), and also after hardening of the seeds.
Dear readers! If you have a large supply of seeds, then do not rush to throw them away. And until the hot spring time comes, do a test of their germination. Perhaps they will still be useful to you, and you will not have to spend money on buying new ones.