GROW: The Book
What would you recommend for seed starting for seeds that seem to have a low germination rate? Ie, what type of potting soil or seed starting soil?
All info so much appreciated.
I would try to sprout them by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and put in a baggie - not totally closed - in a warm spot. Once they started to sprout, I would VERY CAREFULLY put each one into its own starter pot and cover with a dusting of soil (or more depending on the recommended planting depth for the seed) and treat like any other just-germinated plant. I don't think I would use any particular type of soil medium other than one recommended for seed germination - most seeds do just fine with this. If they thrive and need transplanted up, then you can look at more specific soils...
This article seems to have good information. I did not know that seeds have a legal germination rate that must be met for interstate sale! So, I followed the link in the article above, and found this:
The papere towel method of germinating seeds works if you keep the chemicals and preservatives etc and treated water -- use distilled or Reverse osmosis water and not the treated city waters! The soil is also important!!! Several years ago I tried composted soils and commercially purchased garden and potting mixes. Extremely revealing!!! I used grass seeds like corn, sensitive seeds like tomatoes and peppers as well as broad leaf seeds like beans. Most of the community compost samples had one or more seed varieties fail to germinate due to probable chemical residues from lawn chemicals or wood chips from tree trimmers using defoiation chemicals. The same was true of simple potting mixes, garden soils and bargain brands,
Soil from my own compost pile and the more expensive brand name sterilized seed starting mixes provided 100% germination. Other samples produced mis shapen seedlings or poor producing plants when it was time to transplants. Conclusion: Lots of products are contaminated with all kinds of chemicals etc. Chemical tests aren't cheap -- Simple sample seed germination tests are relatively quick and can make the best use of germinated seeds of heritage or expensive hybrid seeds.
@silvertipgrizz in addition to the mentioned paper towel method and keeping chemicals to a minimum you might want to consider the natural rythm of the seed. Sone need certain stimulus like a chill period to break the dormant status that can be the reason for poor germination.
I just tried the paper towel method and it works great. Now, there are still some seeds that are more difficult, but it does work. I finally got some sprouts on peppermint seeds. If you are doing hot peppers, then you can do the same method, but they will need greater heat and they take a little longer. I put my seeds that were on a damp paper towel on heat mats and I just planted 6 Carolina Reaper peppers.