Why and How to Soak Seeds for Faster Germination

If you want to give your seeds the greatest chance at sprouting, try soaking seeds in water.

This is the secret to boosting germination rates and getting more plants to grow, even if your timing is a little off in the garden or you forget to water as often as you should.

I’ll share with you an easy little trick I like to use that gives my garden a jumpstart.

The benefits of soaking seeds before planting

The seed itself is actually a seed coat that protects the embryo (future plant) inside. The seed coat stays intact until the proper conditions (temperature, moisture, lightness, or darkness) present themselves for the plant to emerge.

Once the temperature feels just right, and there’s enough moisture to cause the seed coat to swell and rupture (thereby releasing its food stores and coaxing the embryo to develop), you have germination.

If the seeds are already wet, and the seed coats have absorbed enough water for the first root to emerge, that could mean a much earlier harvest than sowing seeds that were dry.

How long to soak your seeds in water

Throw your seeds into a small bowl or cup filled with warm water (just enough to cover the seeds).

For thick-skinned seeds like peas, aim for 8 to 10 hours (or overnight, assuming you soak them right before bed and sow them first thing in the morning). For thin-skinned seeds like snap beans, soak for 2 to 4 hours.

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