P91030Hooey! It’s a bunch of hooey! Sweet pea seed that gets sown this time of year for next spring does NOT need to be soaked before sowing. In fact, unless there is some strange species of plant that has become that dependent on human intervention, NO seed need to be soaked prior to sowing. Not only is the technique completely unnecessary, but it is completely unnatural as well.

Think of it. In the wild, plants grow, bloom and produce seed. This seed does what it can to disperse and get into or onto the soil to germinate and grow into new plants to repeat the process. Some seed appeal to squirrels for burial. Some prefer to be partly digested by animals who eat their tasty fruit. Heck, some are reluctant to germinate until heated by a cleansing forest fire.

Plants employ quite a range of techniques to disperse their seed and promote germination. As strange as some of these techniques seem to us, they are all justified. They all exploit processes of the respective ecosystems they naturally inhabit. For example, seed that crave heat know that the fire that provides such heat also incinerates competing plants, leaving them vacant soil.

Regardless, there are NO plants that produce seed with an expectation that anyone will collect and soak them. Dry seed that need to rehydrate can and actually prefer to collect the moisture they need from the moist soil in which they grow. If the soil is too dry for them to rehydrate, they do not waste effort trying. They merely assume that they should wait for rainier weather.

Furthermore, seed that are needlessly soaked prior to sowing must be sown shortly after rehydrating. Unlike dry seed, rehydrated seed can not be returned to their original packet and stored for later.

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11 thoughts on “Horridculture – Soaking Seeds

  1. I so agree. It’s such a hassle to soak seeds and then be under pressure to plant them Immediately. I was so relieved a few years back to read somewhere that it was not necessary. Heard it again recently on Gardeners’ World.

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    1. There are a few seeds that like to be nicked or scarified, but only if they get it in nature. Those that are normally digested by animals before they germinate appreciate it. I scarify canna seeds because they naturally get chipped by parrots that eat their fruits. However, it probably is not necessary.

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      1. That is useful information. Some insist that it is necessary, and others say that it is not. I suspect that it might be useful for some of the more primitive species that are ancestors to modern garden varieties, but I really don’t know. Because I have so many seed, I will likely sow a few early without scarification to see how many germinate. Even if only half grow, that would be enough. It would actually be better if some germinated later, even a year or two later, after the earliest were pulled up and relocated.

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      1. You can do both and compare the results. You can start soaking some at the same time you sow some, and then sow the soaked seed accordingly. They should all germinate at the same time.

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