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5 Fatal Mistakes For Germinating Seeds

It’s a few weeks before spring, and gardeners everywhere are starting baby plants from seed. Germinating seeds isn’t usually a difficult process, and for most veggies, the process is quite simple.

For complete instructions for starting seeds, get the seed starting guide.

But what do you do if your seeds don’t germinate?

When seeds don’t sprout, you should always take time to evaluate what happened. So I thought it would be helpful to talk about the most common reasons you might have seed germination problems.

Some years our germination is a little patchy, and occasionally whole rows of seedlings will not germinate. It is important to keep up with our germination rate to evaluate our technique and seed health.

For us, a minimum acceptable germination rate is when at least 80% of our seeds sprout. But ideally, 100% of our seeds come up, so anything less than 80 or even 90% germination rate, and we start looking at what went wrong.

Learn the 5 fatal mistakes for germinating seeds

When vegetable seeds are not germinating, there are a few common problems that you should look for.

1. You used old seeds

The first thing to consider is whether the seeds were viable in the first place. If your seeds have not sprouted within the appropriate number days (this will depend on your seeds), then you may want to consider using a pen or pencil to gently dig around in your soil and find the seed.

  • If you don’t find the seed, think back. Did youforget to put the seeds into the mix? Don’t laugh! It could happen!
  • If you find the seed, take a good look at it. You may see that it looks just the way it did when you put it in the soil. In this case, the cause for a low germination rate might be that it was an old seed or not properly stored.

If you have some old seeds and are unsure of whether your seeds were viable, you can always sprout a couple of them in a wet paper towel to check prior to planting.

For new seeds or seeds you saved last year:

  • When you saved seed, did you put them away without letting them dry completely? This can cause seeds to rot or mold.
  • Were they exposed to extreme temperatures during storage? For example, if you left seed packs in your car over the summer. High temperatures over 90 can kill the plant inside the seed.
  • Was the parent plant healthy? Seeds can harbor infection from the parent plant that may prevent sprouting, however, this is not usually the case.

2. You didn’t use new or sterilized containers

Disease issues can be a factor in seed germination. Think back to last year and whether you had any disease issues with your seedlings.

  • Most plastic containers can be reused for several years, but they need to be sanitized.

We clean ours by submersing them in bleach water at the beginning of the season.

If you are looking for a bleach alternative, try the environmentally friendly bleach alternatives that use hydrogen peroxide as their active ingredient.

Fungal and mold infections are the most common infection from dirty containers. If infection occurs you will notice a fuzzy growth on the top of the planting medium.

  • You may also see that a seed sprouts, but then rots at its base and falls over.

This is called damping off and is caused by a funal infection in your soil. A hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver solution can help treat fungal disease on your tender plants.

3. Your technique is not right

  • If you started seeds in any mix that includes non-sterilized soil from the yard, your seeds may have been affected by disease organisms in the soil.

In order to use garden soil for starting seeds, you should sift it carefully to remove sticks and clumps. Then bake it on a cookie sheet in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. That should kill most weeds and pathogens.

You’re better off using a seed starting mix. Seed starting mix is usually a soiless mixture that has a finer grain and is free of clumps, sticks, and pathogens.

  • Did you plant your seeds too deep?

Planting your seeds too deep can cause problems with sprouting. You should also avoid pressing down on top of your seeds after you plant them. If the soil in your container is too compacted, the seeds cannot sprout or form healthy roots.

4. You didn’t provide the correct temperature

The temperature of your soil is of utmost importance in getting a good seed germination.

  • Temperatures that are too high or too low can cause problems germinating seeds.

Given all else is equal, even tray germination requires even temperatures. If temperatures plunge at night, or peak over 100 for a prolonged period, seeds will either remain dormant or die.

  • Did you leave the heat mat too high or too low?

Even when using seed starting heat mats, accidents happen. If you forget to put the temperature probe into the seed tray, the heat mat can overheat and cook the seeds.

Sometimes heat mats get accidentally turn off, or you forget to plug it in.

An alternative to the heat mat is to put them in a sunny south facing window or on top of the refrigerator. You can also use grow lights to provide heat above, and I have even seen people use rope lights to generate warmth.

5. You watered incorrectly

Seeds need to be moderately moist to sprout.

  • Seed germination is highly dependent on watering. Too dry and they won’t get the message to sprout, too wet and they will rot in the dirt.

Very young seedlings are even more tender. Seedlings do best in what we call the “Goldilocks zone.” You know Goldilocks. She likes her porridge not too hot and not too cold, but juuust right.

  • Tender seedling babies can’t tolerate drying out. While young, even a short dry period can mean death after the first wilt.

On the other hand, their tender roots will be the first victim of conditions being too wet. They can’t get the oxygen they need to carry about their business, and it will stunt or kill the seedling.

What other problems have you had germinating seeds?

If you’ve had troubles germinating seeds and this article didn’t answer your question, leave me a comment below. I’m happy to help you work out what’s going on.

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Crop King Seeds

Crop King Marijuana Seeds is a Canada-based marijuana breeder which features 20 high quality cannabis strains in feminized, autoflowering, and regular varieties. The company has 30+ outlets in Canada and growing.

Crop King genetics can be purchased from any of their Canadian retailers or their online store.

Similar Companies

DISCLAIMER: The professionals and companies described are not associated or affiliated with Medical Jane, and they may not endorse Medical Jane or the information provided. The names of other companies, products and services are the property of their respective owners.

Where to get cannabis seeds in Canada for your first at-home grow

Are you thinking about growing your own cannabis plants at home but not sure where to buy quality cannabis/marijuana seeds from? Not to worry, we’ve created a list of places from where to get cannabis seeds in Canada for your first at-home grow.

Pacific Seed Bank

Pacific Seed Bank has a large selection of high-quality cannabis seeds and they only sell 100% feminized cannabis seeds. They are quite old in market and have been in this business for the past 20 years. Pacific seed banks supply seeds both in the USA and Canada.

Dr. Seeds

Dr. Seeds offers a wide range of seeds from different strains and fertilizers for your plant. You can signup for their seed club for special offers or join their affiliate program if you are looking to make some extra bucks. They also create a beginner’s tutorial explaining how to start marijuana seeds. You can read their tutorial here.

Crop King Seeds

Crop King Seeds is a very reliable seed breeder located in Vancouver, Canada. Over the years, they’ve built up their reputation and is now known as one of the best seed breeders in Canada. Crop King Seeds has an online chat feature and is available 24/7 to help you choose the type of cannabis seeds you are looking for.

Vancouver Seed Bank

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Seed Bank has been selling and shipping high-quality seeds to Canadians since open. If you cannot find the strain you are looking for on their website then you can also request special delivery by contacting them.

Did we miss your favourite place to buy cannabis seeds in Canada? Let us know in the comment section below and don’t forget to follow us @cannalifenet.

Farmers Lab Seeds

Farmers Lab Seeds is a Cannabis seed shop based out of Vancouver, British Columbia Go to full description.

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Farmers Lab Seeds , Vancouver Reviews (14)

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No free seed even tho it was my first purchase and it said on the website I get 1.

False advertisement, didn’t come in the box.

Not gonna order again. No germinization instructions too.

Just seeds. Wow. Nice service.

Response from JENNIFER

Thank you for your feedback. The packaging looks like that to get into your hands as fast as possible. I am sorry that it is not as pretty as on the website, but Cannabis Seeds are still not legal everywhere. We need to take precautions to ensure you receive your seeds as quickly as we can so you can get them in the ground for spring. Regarding the free seeds, we are not giving free seeds but if we have a lot of stock, we do. As much as we want to give you free seed, are stock is just enough for our customer’s order. I hope you understand, we don’t want to ignore you, it’s just we are receiving a high volume of emails every day and there might some time we missed some.

I added a link below on how you can germinate the seeds. If you still need some info, just let us know.

The Farmers Lab Team

THIS IS A FREAKIN TEMPLATE. Didn’t mention a word about the free seed and I live in CANADA DUMMY.

They threw in a BLANK thank you card. The envelope had TOO much room could fit 10 of those boxes (which wasn’t included for some reason) and I guess there wasn’t enough room for 1 seed.