Plant Seeds are essential for the reproduction of every plant. Seeds typically contain an embryo (the fertilized egg), a supply of nutrients, and some stored food to give the young plant the energy it needs to begin growth. Some plants have very hard and thick seed coats that make germination difficult; these seeds require a period of after-ripening or stratification before they will be able to germinate. Seeds also need correct conditions to successfully grow, such as moisture levels, temperature range, oxygen level, soil nutrient content, light intensity, atmospheric composition (especially carbon dioxide concentration), and protection against predatory organisms. Seeds use chemical signals to trigger their own germination in response to these environmental factors or cues.

Seed Dormancy

Seed dormancy is when a seed fails to germinate even when all the environmental factors are good. Seeds produce hormones that prevent them from growing and they may be released at different points in their life cycle. They can be dormant within the seed coat, within the embryo, or totally or partially dormant. Those plant seeds with partial dormancy will germinate if they are exposed to appropriate environmental conditions; seeds with total dormancy will not germinate under any circumstances. Those seeds with no dormancy (or after-ripening) need a period of cold temperatures, warm temperatures, chemicals, or light before they will be able to germinate.

It is important when selecting seeds that don’t have any chemical methods applied as it would render them useless. Seeds should be harvested from an organic source, as chemicals will affect the growth of the plant in some way. It should also be properly dried after harvesting so that they won’t rot or mold inside their own structure. They can be dried with paper towels and laid out on a flat surface to decrease moisture content quickly.

 

Storing Seeds

Seeds are ready for storage when their color turns completely dark brown/black without any green parts left at all. Seeds may have visible holes. This means it’s time to replace them, as it is an indication that fungi got through due to poor drying practices before storage. Seeds should also be stored in small bags rather than large ones because fungi tend to grow very well where moist conditions exist and large bags offer optimum conditions for fungal growth. Need to be stored in small amounts within a larger container to avoid moisture build-up. Seeds can have up to a 10-year lifespan if stored properly, as long as they are regularly monitored during that time. Must be checked for signs of rotting or mold at least once every 6 months.

Fruits and seeds need time to ripen before harvesting because if picked too early then the plant won’t have enough reserves left to produce new ones and it needs some growth built up before it dies off, forcing a replanting cycle. Seeds should also not be harvested when fruits or vegetables are wet because doing so will corrode the seed’s cells and affect their ability for germination. Seeds collected in autumn may take 2 – 3 months to dry properly.

 

Need Air

Seeds should be stored in a warm dry place that has good airflow to prevent mold and fungus growth. This can cause the seed’s cells to rot. Seeds kept too moist for too long will also begin to germinate themselves because conditions are right for them to do so. These should be sorted for ripeness, dried quickly, and then stored immediately afterward in glass jars with metal lids, away from heat sources and sunlight. And should be labeled with plant name, date of collection, any needed stratification requirements, and how they were harvested/dried.

 

Environmental Factors

The seeds of all plants need correct environmental factors or cues (moisture level, temperature range, oxygen level, soil nutrient content, light intensity, atmospheric composition (especially carbon dioxide levels), etc.) to germinate and grow into healthy new plants. Seeds use chemical signals to trigger their own germination. But these chemical signals can also be used by humans to control seed dormancy. Seeds with no dormancy are called ‘after-ripening’. Those with partial dormancy will germinate if they are exposed to appropriate environmental conditions; seeds with total dormancy will not germinate under any circumstances (you must scarify the seeds first).

Seeds have a limited life span and most do not survive beyond 1 year in good storage conditions unless stratification. A process of cooling below 18 C/64 F for some time before the plant goes dormant and then warming above 21 C/70 F for some time before the plant comes out of dormancy, to mimic changes in seasons. Seeds must be selected when they are fully developed and ripe, but not yet rotten. They should also be harvested when they have reached their full color (unless you want to grow a white flower); seeds that change color as they ripen are often not viable. Seeds should be collected as soon as they are ripe to prevent rotting or loss of viability.

 

Conclusion

There are several reasons why we should look into the seeds before harvesting anything for our garden or crops. Seeds are essential for the garden or the crops that we are willing to harvest. That is why you are suggested to look into the seeds before spending your time maintaining the garden. If the seeds you have chosen are correct, it will take less maintenance effort and give greater results.

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