One of the most important factors that determines good harvest under favourable conditions are the seeds and the seedlings raised from them. In this post we’ll discuss the properties of good seed, proper storage of seeds and how to raise healthy seedlings from them.
Good harvests starts with good seeds. Good seeds come from reliable sources. Properties of good seeds are listed below:
Good seeds germinate well. Seeds from reliable sources often list this metric as the germination rate percentage. The higher the percentage the more of the seeds will germinate. For example, in a packet containing 1,000 seeds that list the germination rate as 90%, we can expect to germinate 900 seeds from the packet.
Aside from the percentage indicated in the seed packet, germination rates can also be determined by germination test and floatation test.
Germination test can be performed by attempting to germinate a counted sample from a lot of seed and determining the percentage of seeds that actually germinated.
Most seeds sink in water. Flotation serves as a method to separate viable seeds from seeds of poor quality.
Produces Normal Seedling
Seedlings that sprout from good seeds have healthy radicle, strong stem, healthy cotyledons and vigorous growth.
Good Physical Purity
A good lot of seeds are free from debris like sand, stone, chaff, husks, soil, etc. They are also free of seeds of other varieties or species; immature, broken, undersized, shriveled, diseased and infested seeds.
High Genetic Purity
Good seeds are produced from plants that are bred to preserve the desirable traits and suppress the undesirable traits for a particular crop. Good seeds with high genetic purity consistently displays these traits.
Appropriate Moisture Content for Storage
Good seeds are not too moist that it supports the growth of pathogens and not too dry that seeds lose viability during storage.
Free of Disease and Pests
Seeds that are free of diseases and pests is the start of a good harvest.
- Sterilized growing media – sterilized coco peat works well
- Sowing tray – a shallow plastic tub with drain holes at the bottom works well
- Fill the sowing tray with a layer of moist growing media 2-3 cm thick. Level the media.
- Scatter the small seeds uniformly and thinly. The amount depends on your need. Consider provisioning for extra seedlings by about 15% to account for the seed germination rate and other factors that can result in seedling loss.
- After sowing, water liberally as needed. Expect germination in 3 to 5 days.
- Water the seedlings as needed until they are ready for prickling.
Seed packets usually indicate the batch date or the sow-by-date of the seeds in the packet. When buying seed packets select the ones with a recent batch date or with a sow-by-date that is months into the future. The freshness of the seeds have significant impact on their viability and these dates are a reliable measure of how fresh the seeds are.
To maintain high germination rate of seeds in an open packet, keep them in their original foil packets with the open end folded shut. Keep them in a sealed plastic container and keep them refrigerated.
That’s it! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below. Good luck and happy growing!