How to Test Seeds for Germination Before Planting
By: Julie Day
Before you head out to plant your garden this year, it’s a good idea to test your seeds for viability, especially if you’re using seeds you collected or leftover seeds from last year.
If your seeds aren’t viable, you can save yourself a lot of work by finding out before you plant them! Or, if they’re only 50% viable, you may want to plant twice as many, to make sure you have enough plants.
Seed Germination Test
Here’s an easy DIY technique for testing seed germination that can be done using ordinary household materials.
Determining Results of Seed Germination Test
Once the seeds have germinated, count how many have sprouted, then multiply that number by 10 to get your germination percentage. For example, if 7 out of 10 seeds sprout, you have a 70% viability rate.
If less than 5 seeds sprout (under 50% germination rate), you may want to discard the seeds, or plant more than you think you’ll need. If it’s planting time when you conduct the test, you can plant the seeds that sprouted in potting soil, or discard them and plant fresh seeds from the batch.
- How to Determine if Old Seeds Are Still Good for Planting (video)
- How to Start Seeds for Your Garden Indoors (article)
- When to Start Vegetable Seeds Indoors for Spring Planting (article)
- How to Plant Small Seeds in Your Garden (video)
- How to Make Seed Tapes (video)