There is something fascinating about growing a plant from seed and watching it grow into an edible herb, lettuce or Tomato in your AeroGarden or Hydroponic Garden. But for a seed to successfully grow is needs to go through several stages.
This post is about Introducing a simple way to seed germination using your indoor AeroGarden shows how you can grow just about anything indoors from seed and later transplant your seedlings to your garden.
Can I grow any type of seed using in my AeroGarden?
When I first bought the AeroGarden unit, I was amazed at how quickly the seeds sprouted. I found they germinated much quicker than they do in the garden.
AeroGarden has a Grow Anything Kit in which you can grow your seeds. The kit contains:
- Grow Baskets
- Grow Sponges
- Liquid Plant Food
- Guide to growing and planting
The answer to this question is Yes! Seeds are easy to grow in your aerogarden and include
- Dwarf variety spinach
Some varieties do not have seed pods available, so you may need to make your own. You could try the Grow Anything Kit
What won’t grow in an AeroGarden?
Most seeds germinate in your AeroGarden, but the plants will need to be removed once they grow too large because they need room to grow. For Instance
- Kale grows too large
- Fruit trees
The Seed Germination Process (find some images that I had taken and include)
From seed to plant contains several processes:
- Imbibition is the first step. We insert the seed in the peat, add the pod to the AeroGarden unit, which starts to absorb water which then causes the seed coat to become soft and swollen.
- Activation: Once the seed has absorbed the water, the enzymes inside the seed begins to grow into the embryo phase. As the AeroGarden oxygenates the water, the seed absorbs the oxygen, and the growth process starts once it has accessed the stored nutrients and creates protein which is essential for the growth of the seed.
- The Root and Shoot start to form: the seed coat cracks it creates a radical which is developed into the primary root, in the mean time the plumule develops into a shoot. At this time, the enzymatic activity is relatively high.
- Seedling is Forming: The last stage of the process is the first embryonic leaf, also known as the cotyledon. The tiny leaves gradually sprout, they the true leaves begin to form. As the baby plant develops, it continues to use the nutrients within the seed. Once this part has finished, the plant will start to synthesise its food, and this is when AeroGarden recommends adding the recommended dosage to the unit.
Image of seed germination from sciencefacts.net
Science Facts say there are two main types of germination in plants: The Epigeal (bean) germination and Hypogeal germination (pea). To learn more click on Science Facts.
How long does seed germination take?
The length of time for seeds o germinate in the AeroGarden is much quicker because of consistent
- Bright, broad-spectrum light
Some of my seeds started sprouting between 4 to 7 days, and others began to germinate between 7 to 14 days and be ready for harvest 4 to 6 weeks later. Crops can last up to 6 months.
Seed Germination Facts
Will old seeds still germinate? Yes, many seeds can germinate years later. Seeds must have a growth hormone called “gibberellin”, which is needed by the seed to grow and become a seedling once it has shed the seed coat. If the embryo is immature, it will not germinate until maturity.
Factors that affect seed germination
If you are growing your seed outdoors, they will need the right environment, and if germinating them indoors, they will need a beneficial environment to sprout.
Several factors can affect germination:
- Water, as we have mentioned above water is essential for the seed to start activating
- Temperature: the right temperature is a vital factor for the seed. Seeds germinate much faster in warmer temperature. The ideal temperature range for your seeds to srout is 16 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius. Lettuce seeds require cooler temperatures.
- Oxygen: The AeroGarden pump aerates the water, which is an essential part of seed germination. If the seed lacks oxygen, it cannot be activated and will lay dormant or inactive.
- Light/Darkness: The AeroGarden has an excellent LED light system and timer set to the recommended hours required for seeds to germinate. Seeds that respond to light is called photoblastic seed. Seeds that need light include lettuce. Whereas, Onions and Lilies will grow in darkness, negative photoblastic.
- Some Seeds Fail: if your seeds fail to germinate, you can get a replacement from AeroGarden, but we often wonder why they die in the first place. Some seeds do not germinate, even when the conditions are perfect, also known as seed dormancy. The time period for seeds dormancy can take days, months or years, known as the resting period in plants. The question is still Why does this happen? Well, according to Science Facts, there are some reasons why this happens:
- Tough Seed Coat
- Immature Embryo
- The presence of Inhibitory Chemicals such as ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and coumarin found in the embryo, or the seed coats, induce seed dormancy
How to get dormant seeds to germinate
There are several treatments that we can do to break the seeds dormancy period:
- Steps to breaking seeds that have a Hard Coat: Known as Scarification process, removal of the seed coat by mechanically rupturing them to make it porous to water and gases
- Soften the seed coat with hot water or use concentrated sulfuric acid for a short period. This process will allow water and oxygen to enter.
- Light Sensitive Seeds need exposure to white light. For example, Tomato, once it has consumed 30 to 40% moisture. The Red Light in an AeroGarden is sufficiently low to overcome dormancy. Finally, even treatment of plant growth hormones such as gibberellic acid and kinetin can germinate seeds in total darkness.
- Temperature-sensitive Seeds:
- Stratification: incubating seeds by water, then at low temperature before they become dormant
- After stratification, the inhibitory hormone disappears in the presence of gibberellic acid to promote seed germination. Chilling replaces the application of gibberellic acid.
- Growth-promoting chemicals that can be used to break seed dormancy include potassium nitrate, thiourea and ethylene, and germination. Alternative application to bring on seed germination includes cytokinin and ethylene.
Transplanting your seedlings
Once your seedlings have reached a decent height and are looking healthy, you can transplant them into your garden. However, before doing that, I recommend putting your seedlings into pots filled with nutrient soil mix, carefully pulling out the seedling from the pod, and transplanting into your plant pots and place in the shade and half sun. Gradually add full sun, and as they grow more extensive, you will be able to transplant them into your prepared garden bed.
How long do the plants last?
The recommended advice provided by AeroGarden is four months for herbs. Now when I grew my herbs, they lasted longer than four months. I ended up transplanting my parsley in the vegetable garden bed, and so far, it has survived nine months in the vegetable patch. So really, I believe it depends on the plant itself.
When it comes to finding a simple way to germinate seed using the indoor hydroponic system, you will grow just about anything indoors from seed in your AeroGarden, and later transplant your seedlings into your garden.
In a nutshell, there is something fascinating about growing a plant from seed and watching it grow into an edible herb, lettuce or Tomato in your AeroGarden or Hydroponic Garden.
Everything you wanted to know about Non-Genetically Modified Seeds.
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