Why Do Seeds Fail To Germinate? the Same Seeds, In the Same Compost, In the Same Conditions & One Fails To Germinate. Why? Here’s One Reason.

A lot of people ask me, Why Do Seeds Fail To Germinate? The answers are many and are, in part, related to why many people have problems with peat free compost. So to explain the issue I conducted an experiment.

Seed germination experiment.

I sowed the same seed in the same compost and placed it side by side in the greenhouse. All the conditions were exactly the same except one. And that one condition made the difference between a very good germination rate and an very bad rate where only one seed germinated on a whole module tray.

When posted in gardening groups on Facebook gardeners came up with lots of answers. But not a single one was correct .. though a few got fairly close to the answer.

Why Do Seeds Fail To Germinate? The Answers Offered Online

People suggested the following: –

One tray had pre-soaked seed

One was closer to the glass and overheated

One watered and one not

I talked nicely to one tray

One watered from the top and one from below

One used a prop lid and one didn’t

Rainwater v tap water

One on a heat mat and one not

Cling film over one tray

One tray in the sun and one in the shade

Different sowing depths

The above are just a small selection of the suggestions. None are actually correct. Both trays had the same seed, the same conditions etc.

The answer is very basic and goes to the heart of why people have problems with peat free compost.

Seeds Need Air

To germinate seeds need air, warmth, moisture etc .. and a lot of the gardener’s patience.

And in one of these trays the air was excluded due to poor watering. It had the same amount of water, at the same time, temperature etc. But the watering can rose was the wrong size.

I’m sure that many people will find this answer incredible and say that this isn’t going to make a difference. But believe me, I spent decades germinating and growing half a million lettuce a year, and the watering rose can make a huge difference. It is detail like this that sorts gardeners out.

In this case I watered one tray with fine rose and one with a coarse rose.

Watering can roses

The coarse rose meant the compost received a deluge of water and it “slumped”. This prevented air getting into the compost and the seed couldn’t grow. It really is that basic, that simple. This was the only difference.

Research Versus Myths

I see many gardening myths online, in magazines and even on TV. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate fact from fiction and is the reason I often put references to research articles on many of my posts.

I’ve also conducted hundreds of experiments myself, in both commercial and gardening situations. Checking out things like yields from different growing methods, watering methods, nutritional trials, pest and disease trials etc. but each time growing enough plants to ensure the results aren’t down to chance. Results need to be repeatable and verifiable.

In this case I only grow one tray by each method and that doesn’t match the above conditions. But I did spend two decades making my living from growing millions of lettuce, hundreds of thousands of tomatoes and other crops. So I can say that the experiment shown here verifies my two decades of experience.

Finally, a message for those that wanted an instant answer to this experiment. Gardening requires patience and takes time. If you aren’t prepared to wait 24 hours for the answer then you’ll find gardening very frustrating.

For those with patience and wanting to learn feel free to come back to this website anytime. I post articles every day to various gardening and allotment groups .. join them, or you can join the ones below.

Join the Facebook Groups Here

To join the How to Dig For Victory Facebook group follow the link.

And here is the link to UK Garden Flowers, Trees, Shrubs & More

#BiteSizedGardening #Gardening #Vegetables #veg #fruitandveg #allotment #biointensive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.