Soaking the seeds before sowing is a very simple pre-sowing method that reduces the waiting time for a seed to start germinating. Using water to break the seeds’ natural dormancy ahead of time. Why seeds are soaked in the water before sowing? Let’s discover it.
Why seeds are soaked in the water before sowing?
The seeds are also provided with natural chemical inhibitors, such as some phytohormones, which prevent or delay germination. This is an evolutionary response to give the interior of the seed a good chance of survival. Read more: How to plant in a pot
Before conditions are right, the seeds go dormant. Most seeds have an external layer that protects them from the environment, allows them to resist extreme temperatures of cold and heat, humidity, friction, animal digestion and other processes that suffer in nature. This natural protection allows germination does not to come before the right time. If you want to know a little more biology of seed germination, take a look at Seed Germination: The Secrets.
By soaking the seeds in water, the hydration process of the seeds and their activation is accelerated. The water helps to break the natural defenses of the seeds allowing them to germinate in less time.
How to soak the seeds?
Fill a container with water. It is better if the water is hot (not boiling), but since the tolerance to high temperatures depends on the type of seed, use warm water for greater safety.
Put the seeds into the container with water and leave them inside while the water cools down.
How long to soak them?
For most seeds, it is recommended to soak the seeds in water for 12 to 24 hours, some up to 48 hours, but not longer than this time. Otherwise, they could be unusable for sowing.
Scarification (step prior to soaking coarse seeds)
Large seeds or seeds with very thick outer layers will hydrate earlier in water if they are scarified before soaking.
Scarification consists of sanding the surface of the seed with fine-grained sandpaper, or making a few cuts or hitting it so that it opens, taking care not to damage the interior, allowing the water to reach the seed embryo easier and faster.