Category Archives: germination

Vegetable Seed Soaking/ Presprouting

The seeds of some common garden vegetables are known to be difficult to germinate. They frequently fail completely, or take so long to emerge that the crop is a useless waste of space.

Many of these items are in the Umbelliferae family, such as carrots, parsley, fennel, and celery/ celeriac.

Others are commonly among the Chenopods: Chard*, beets*, and spinach.

Pre-sprouting these seeds in water saves a lot of time and effort, as well as space in the garden.

A few days before their normal outdoor sowing date, soak the seeds overnight in a jar of water. The next day, drain the water, and place the seeds on a damp paper towel. Roll it up, place in a plastic bag, and let the damp roll sit for a few days at room temperature. Check the seeds twice a day.

As soon as you see any signs of life on half the seeds, such as tiny rootlets, sow the bitty plants into their row in the garden as you would normally have done seeds. If it’s too early for them to go outside, sow them into flats or sixpacks.


*Chard and beets sprout from hard fruit cases containing three seeds each. Ordinarily you would pinch out two seedlings from each trio after germination, leaving the third to grow on. By pre-sprouting, quite often you are able to separate the seedlings from the case and get many more beets/ chard out of one sowing.