The seed growing process begins with pollination. Once pollinated the plant forms a zygote and endosperm nucleus. The nucleus develops into the endosperm and the zygote into the embryo. The plant provides nutrients that convert into stored food for the embryo. A seed coat forms and hardens due to water loss.
Seeds contain a dormant, tiny plant called the embryo. The embryo includes the cotyledon, one or two small leaves, the stem and in some cases, a radicle (or root). The endosperm, the stored food supply, surrounds the embryo in most seeds. The coat protects the seed and keeps the embryo dry.
Seeds require specific conditions to germinate. They need oxygen, water and particular soil temperatures. Some seeds also need light and a period of cold temperatures. Seeds absorb water, breaking dormancy. The pressure within the seed increases and the seed coat bursts, causing the release of growth hormones.
The root grows out from the embryo. Then a stem develops and grows. The cotyledon open and a recognizable seedling appears. The seed growing process takes around 2 weeks for most plants.
When growing seeds, you must provide all of the conditions required for germination. Starting seeds indoors makes it easy to meet the conditions, but you can sow many seeds directly into the yard or garden.
Seeds benefit from pre-soaking before planting. Soak the seeds in warm water for two or more hours. Scarification increases germination rates for seeds with vary hard coats, such as sweet peas. You can do this by rubbing the seed with sandpaper before pre-soaking.
Prepare the garden bed before planting. Amend the soil by spreading a 3-inch layer of compost to increase the soil drainage and provide food for the growing plant. Then till or dig the soil to a depth of approximately 8-inches. Break the soil into small pieces. Large clumps make it difficult for the seedling to push through the soil toward the light. Plant seeds to the depth and spacing indicated on the packet once the soil has reached adequate temperature. Firm the soil over them and water the soil. The soil needs to stay moist, not soggy, for germination.
To start seeds indoors you will need several things: warmth, lightweight soil mix, a light source, and pots or a tray. Fill the containers with the soil mix. Moistened thoroughly with warm water and allow excess water to drain. Plant the seeds in the soil mix following packet directions. Place the container in a warm place or on a heat mat. Keep the soil mix moist. Once seedlings emerge, provide light with a fluorescent light, a grow light, or sun.
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