Vegetable Gardening

How to Increase Seed Germination in your Kitchen Garden?


As the world is witnessing increased urbanization, urban gardening is also getting common, new issues are arising daily related to kitchen or urban gardening, and people want solutions. This is because, kitchen gardening is different from open field practices. In open fields, the behavior of weather parameters is different and they impact the crops differently as compare to backyard gardens or urban garden systems.

Today I am going to write on a common question I am asked on my Facebook page (Arid Agriculture and Kitchen Gardening), through email and queries on my website that how to increase seed germination in kitchen garden? Germination of seed is a complex process. Even if you have top notch and branded store seeds, there are various other factors that hinder optimal germination. This includes the soil health (soil type, fertility, organic matter, pH, drainage etc.), the environmental conditions in your area, the farming practices you are following etc. These issues require a separate article to discuss in depth. The agenda of this article is to guide urban gardening lovers and amateurs with three simple and easy ways that will surely help them in achieving increased seed germination in kitchen garden.

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How to Increase Seed Germination?

Soaking Seeds

First step in how to increase seed germination is the soaking the seeds before sowing. You can’t believe how a small duration of soaking the seeds in water can increase the germination rate of seeds. Soaking helps in softening the outer coating of the seed thus allowing easy germination. The water enters inside the seed, and elevates the process of germination after it is sown in the soil. Usually when you buy seeds, the information on it suggests soaking them in water. But how many of us follow that instruction? Even if it is not mentioned on the seed pack, water soaking is always beneficial. During winter season, soaked seeds harness more benefits. This is because, soaking seeds in water at room temperature (25oC-30oC) not only soften the coating but optimum temperature treatment is absorbed by the seed. So when you plant it in the soil even in the cold season, the germination rate improves. As far as soaking time is concerned, I recommend at-least two hours of soaking. However, an overnight soaking treatment will definitely increase seed germination in your kitchen garden.


Next step in how to increase seed germination is scarification. When I am in a hurry to sow seeds in my kitchen garden, I use the process of scarification. It is a process to damage the outer coat of the seed so that the entry of water get easier that will eventually aid in increase seed germination. For scarification purpose, I use various tools including nail file, sand paper, a triangular file and nail clippers. There are few experts that support using hot water treatment or even acid treatment to the seeds but I am against these. Hot water treatment can cause permanent damage to the germinal hormones of the seeds while acid treatment is harmful for your skin. So my recommendation, do not use these.

Seed Scarification Tools

Now coming back to the tools I mentioned, they are pretty easy to use. For example, in case of sand paper, take two sand papers, and place the seeds between them. Rub the two sheets and your work is done. If there is large size seed, I use triangular file. For this, hold the file in one hand, and rub the seed on one edge. That’s it. Urban gardening is all about experimenting with new things, so you can use knife on your seeds especially the seeds that  are of medium size.

Manure or Compost Application

Being a big proponent of organic farming especially in kitchen gardens, I give a delight of farmyard manure or compost to my vegetable seeds at the time of sowing. If you are sowing in containers, pots or even in a plot of your kitchen garden, mixing manure or compost in the soil increase the germination rate of seeds. What I generally practice is, if I am sowing my vegetables in an open plot of my kitchen garden, I use trowel for plowing the plot and soften the soil. Then I mix the farmyard manure or compost in the soil and sow the vegetable seeds. The reason is that adding manure or compost increases the moisture carrying capacity of soil and makes it easier for the seeds to break their coat. As the coat breaks, they have ready-made nutrients available that help in speeding the germination process. Even the weak ones can show good germination due to nutrients availability.

Trowel for Plowing

There are many other methods of increasing the seed germination in urban gardening system. However the above three are easy to understand and application is swift. An integrated approach of using all three or any two above methods will bring great results. Hope this article has solved the problem of how to increase seed germination in your kitchen garden. If you have another query, write in comments below. Don’t forget to share this article for betterment of everyone.

Happy growing and Cheers 🙂

Cite this Article in APA Style as:

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 23). How to Increase Seed Germination in your Kitchen Garden?[Blog Post]. Retrieved from[/box]