It’s a fact! Many seeds sprout faster if soaked in water before planting. Soak them just before planting to increase the germination rate. This technique is helpful for both indoor and outdoor plant starts.
In general, seeds with hard seed coats, larger seeds, and slow to sprout seeds, will benefit from this technique.
Small seeds can benefit, too. However, they are more difficult to handle, and plant when dry. When they are wet, it is even more difficult to work with them.
Soaking seeds before planting helps water to soften and penetrate the seed coat. Water penetration is essential, to awakening the seed germ inside, and causing it to sprout.
Note: Water penetration is one essential ingredient to begin the seed sprouting process. The other is warmth. Once the seed has sprouted, other factors are important, among them air, light, and nutrients.
For most seeds, just place them in a container of warm water. As a rule of thumb, soak seeds for 2 hours. That should be enough. It’s okay to soak them a little longer. If you lose track of time, don’t worry. The seeds should be fine.
Larger seeds, and those with hard and thick seed coats (also called “jackets”), can be soaked longer. We recommend soaking them for 4-8 hours. Giant pumpkin growers will soak their large, very hard-shelled seeds for up to 24 hours!
Seed Sprouting Tip: Put 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide into one quart of water, to improve germination and sprouting times.
This technique is often done in conjunction with nicking seeds.
After soaking the seeds, immediately plant them indoors or out.