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How-To

The Science of Seed Starting

For success with seeds, it helps to understand a few key factors

Fine Gardening – Issue 191
Photo: Carol Collins

Seeds are little miracles that transform the world. In the wild, these tiny amalgamations of DNA can be stored away for years, waiting for the right conditions to turn a barren desert, a fallow forest floor, or a trampled prairie into an oasis of bloom. In our gardens, starting seeds is one of the easiest ways to make more plants. Volunteer seedlings can be blessings, appearing year after year to fill holes in the landscape, or they can be curses, in the form of weeds that seem to spawn out of nowhere. I teach students with little to no background in growing plants, and it is always inspiring to witness their wonder when they see the first little leaves emerge from seeds they have planted. In that rich moment, they have become gardeners. What do seeds require to germinate? Here’s what you need to know.

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