Experienced and professional gardeners will use the term 'sowing seeds' when they talk of raising new plants from seed. We rather like the term 'growing seeds' for it immediately reminds us that the seed is actually a plant. An embryo plant maybe, but a plant nevertheless - simply waiting for the right conditions in which to germinate, and subsequently grow.
The term 'growing seeds' makes us a little more aware that the speck of dust is in fact a living thing. A plant in waiting!
As with all living things, the young need special care and nurturing to allow them to develop into healthy 'adults'. Plants are no different. Give them that care they need and they will reward you proportionally by way of a relatively trouble free start to life.
Of course there will be setbacks and things that can go wrong. Hopefully we have the answers on how to deal with those problems, but more important, advice on how to avoid the problems in growing plants from seeds.
Get it right - most of the time - and you will produce many plants successfully to the envy sometimes to fellow gardeners.
Successful seed growing starts with the acceptance and knowledge, that many seeds require different growing conditions, as do the plants into which they will grow.
Some seeds grow easily - simply throw them on the soil and they will turn into young plants in a matter of a few weeks. That ease of growing some seeds is the reason why farmers of many crops can scatter the seed on huge fields and subsequently feed us all. That is also the reason why virtually all reasonable fertile soil is covered in plants, grasses, bushes or trees, without help – or hindrance from man!
Why we as gardeners find it so difficult to grow a wide range of ornamental plants from seed, is that we do not fully understand the different germination requirements of the various seeds. And of course, the plant we want to grow for ornamental – or edible – purposes, are not always indigenous to our country, or our climatic conditions. We may know the right conditions for the plants that we buy from the nursery or garden centre, but growing them successfully from seed often deludes us.
Some seeds require more heat than others; some seeds require light rather than dark to germinate; other seeds may have specific dormancy problems that are not broken simply by the addition of heat and light. Wouldn’t it be good if they were as easy to germinate as the bean seed trapped between blotting paper and glass that was probably our introduction as to how a seed grows into a plant – potentially!
Whatever seeds we chose to grow into plants, they will all require the same basic ingredients, being moisture, the right temperature, air and a growing medium.
Moisture is required to enable the seed to start its activity inside the seed case, and normally has to soak through that seed case before any action takes place.
Moisture in itself is not enough to start germination progress. If it is to cold – or in some cases too hot, then the dormancy will be locked and no germination will take place.
Air – or more accurately Oxygen is also required for the seedling to start growing and for its continued growth after germination.
All the plants that we grow in the garden will require compost, or soil for a variety of reasons. Firstly for anchorage, and then to provide the nutrients from which the growing plant will feed.
Give all those three – in the right proportion – and at the right time, and you will indeed be growing seeds!
Sowing Seeds - The practicalities in a two page article!
Germination - The start of the plant's life.
Seeds - Sexual propagation. It's what life is all about