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Should I Soak My Seeds

Should I soak seeds before planting?

It is time to start planning your vegetable garden.  Let’s talk about some things you can do to help ensure success.  I have heard that soaking vegetable seeds before you plant them will help them germinate.  So I set out to find out more about seeds.  Should I soak seeds before planting?

should I soak seeds before planting

The first question you might ask is

“Why could soaking seeds make seeds germination better?”


Let’s look into how seeds start to grow.

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Seeds are used by most plants to reproduce.  The seed contains 3 main parts; the embryo, the endosperm (food for the embryo), and the coat.

should I soak my seeds

The coat protects the embryo when the seed is dormant.  This is the part that you see.  It can appear hard.  It is this shell that protects the seed embryo.  The coat of seed has tiny holes in which water and air can penetrate.  When you soak a seed the coat softens and starts to break away allowing even more water and air to get to the embryo.

should I soak seeds before planting

That makes the idea of soaking your seeds before planting seem like a good idea.

As the seeds “wake up”, the embryo begins to feed on the endosperm.  A small root will emerge first followed by a stem.

how seeds grow

Does soaking seeds help this process?

Well, the answer is yes however not a lot!  And there are risks involved.

All plants need air, even just woken embryos of a plant.  As the embryo comes to life and begins its journey to becoming your vegetable plant it needs the right amount of air and water….and other things we will get to later.

Most research shows that soaking makes little time difference.  The tiny holes naturally in the seed coat will break down at the right rate for healthy seedlings.  At most the soaking of seeds prior to planting will quicken germination by just a day.

I have soaked seeds in the past to verify if they are still viable.  Please check out “Are my vegetable seeds still good?”.  My results from planting those seeds vs many others without soaking agree with most of the research….there is no real difference.


If you soaking your seeds you need to not exceed 24 hours!  The most recommended time is 8 to 12 hours.  This is because you can actually drown your plant!  As your seed coat opens up the embryo will need to have air to breathe.


A safer way to give your seeds a little jump start.

soak seeds before planting

If you want to check the viability of your seeds and give them a little jump start try the paper towel method.

Take a wet but not dripping paper towel, place the seeds onto the towel.  Place another wet paper towel on top of the seeds.

Make sure to place the towel in a warm spot.

Your seeds will get the moisture they need to start.  The paper towel will allow some air into the seeds reducing the chances of drowning the embryos.  This is a safer way than soaking seeds.

There is another reason to soak seeds

You can help to tell if your seeds are still viable if you soak them.  Watch this to see how it works.

Once the seeds have sprouted it is time to plant them in a light seed mixture.

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Just plant your seeds in the soil

Nature has a way of taking care of its needs.  If you plant your seeds in moist but not wet soil, they will do just fine.  The moist soil will be enough to open the hard coat.


garden soil
garden soil


The way to make sure you have great success planting your seeds you need to control, water, heat, light, air, and starting soil or other mediums.  Soaking your seeds has no real benefit as I see it.

Keep your eye out for my next posting…What kind of soil to plant seeds in.

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Best seed starting method

For more information on the best way to start your seeds off right please read “best seed starting methods”

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