Steps Of Seed Germination

This page gives a brief, written and visual description for Steps of Seed Germination.

When starting seeds, the most important thing to remember is not to plant them too deep.  Placing the seeds in less than 1/4 inch of soil will do. 

The seed is a living embryo that contains enough energy to germinate and break the surface of the soil.  If planted too deep, the seed will run out of energy and die before it breaks the surface.  Once it breaks the surface, it produces the energy it needs through Photosynthesis.

Keep the soil moist, but not wet with a temperature of at least 70 degrees. Over-watering will drown the seed.  A good rule to follow is the dirt should be moist so it feels like brown sugar up to your first knuckle.  If it feels dry like salt, it is too dry.  If it feels like wet flour then it is too wet.

The best watering for germinating is bottom watering.  Put your starter pots in a tray, fill 3/4 with water and let them soak up the water they need until the seeds germinate.  Watering from the top can dislodge the germinating seeds and kill them.

Seeds should germinate in about 7 to 14, and sometimes even 21 days.  But chili pepper seeds can take as long as 30 days from the day the first seedling comes up.

If starting indoors, seeds need 14 to 16 hours of daylight a day.  A grow light will be needed.  A regular florescent or lamp light will not do the job.  If you are going to start indoors, you will need to make a small investment.  Putting pots on a window sill will not work in most cases. If the seeds do not get enough light, they will grow tall and thin.  Then they will die.

If using a planter with a cover, do not use a heat pad.  The cover and heat pad combination will create too much heat and humidity which will cook the seeds, thus killing them.  One or the other is enough.

Keep in mind that most planters have holes pre-drilled from 3/4 to 1 inch deep, which is too deep for many seeds.  You may have to put a bit of filler in there.

I would not use potting soil/garden soil from Home Depot/Walmart/Lowes as these contain more organic material (lighter than soil so cheaper to ship) than they do soil which is OK for mature plants but not seedlings.  Go to a nursery and see what they recommend.  Some nurseries have a germination/garden mix which works really great.

Also, know that in the garden, birds, ants and other insects like seeds for dinner.  It is possible to plant them and have them stolen, especially smaller seeds.  Even worms will eat the seeds. 

Do not use any fertilizer until plants are six inches tall.  Then only use half of what is recommended until plants are a foot tall (12 inches).  Use an organic fertilizer.

When transplanting outdoors, plants will need to be hardened off for 7-10 days.  If you take the plants from the controlled environment to outside without hardening off, they could flounder and die or not grow very well.

Click here for information on how to harden off plants.

Go to grower's library from steps of seed germination.

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Here at David’s Garden Seeds, gardening is our passion. We provide top quality non-GMO seeds so families can learn to garden and love it.  In turn, we hope they will pass this passion down to their children and grandchildren, teaching them to grow  delicious food, fresh herbs, and beautiful flowers.


"I bought just one packet of Beefsteak Tomato Tycoon and I never had 100% germination before.Every seed that David sent has sprouted. And the blue colored seed makes it so much easier to see. Excellent quality."  --Jack G.


There are not enough characters available to describe the integrity of this seller and the willingness to please the customer that I was blessed with when I ordered from David's Garden Seeds. David has gone above and beyond and then some more to be sure I was a satisfied customer.(I am) I will always shop here first when buying my seeds in the spring. Class act all the way! Thank you very much!!!" --Gail, Texas


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Cajun Jewel Okra by DavidsGardenSeeds
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Tomato Rainbow Pack features 10 different beefsteak tomatoes.
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