Germination is the process where a seed opens to allow the plant inside to come out and grow. While seeds don't look too lively, they are living things. Each seed has a living plant embryo inside, waiting to emerge when moisture and temperature conditions are just right. If you're planning to grow herbs or vegetables from seed, you'll have better results if you germinate seeds before planting them outdoors or in containers.
You don't need fancy equipment to begin germinating seeds indoors. A cardboard egg carton filled with compost
makes a suitable germination bed, as do peat pellets sold at garden centers. Sow seeds in the container and cover with 1/4 inch of compost or potting soil. Keep the soil consistently damp, but not soaked. Seed roots can rot when the soil is too moist.
Cover the container with plastic wrap to create a small greenhouse and place the container near a sunny window. Seedlings need between 12 and 16 hours of light daily. Remove the plastic as soon as seedlings are visible. Transplant to a larger container when the first true leaves appear.
Advance seed germination
is a great way to get a jump start on the gardening season. Begin seeds indoors while it's cold outside and they'll be the right size to transplant when spring temperatures arrive.
>>Read more about planning your garden