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Why Your Seeds Aren’t Sprouting

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Photo: kazoka (Shutterstock)

While our elementary school science classes may have taught us the basics about seeds and how to plant them, if you’ve gotten into gardening as an adult, you’ve probably figured out that there’s plenty more to learn. And unfortunately, growing a plant isn’t necessarily as simple as putting a few seeds in dirt and adding water and sunlight.

For example, even if you seemingly do everything right, your seeds may not sprout. As it turns out, seeds are more fickle than many people realize. Here are some of the reasons why yours aren’t sprouting.

Why your seeds aren’t sprouting

You’ve followed the directions. You’ve waited and waited. And yet, the seeds you planted aren’t even starting to sprout. Here are some of the possible reasons why that may be happening, to help you avoid a similar situation in the future:

Overwatering

Yes, seeds need water to grow, but give them too much and you run the risk of drowning them. Overwatering can also kill helpful bacteria in the soil, and cause waterlogged seeds to rot.

Something ate them

Just because your seeds are in the ground, it doesn’t mean that they’re safe from predators. Sometimes, seeds don’t sprout because critters like mice, voles, birds, and wireworms ate them for lunch.

They were stored incorrectly

Seeds should be stored in a dry, airtight container in a cool spot in your home, garage, or shed. If seeds get too hot, it can leave them unable to sprout. Excessive moisture can lead to the same outcome—even if the seeds didn’t technically get wet, but were in an area with high humidity.

They were planted too deep in the soil

Pay attention when you’re planting seeds: If you put them too far down into the soil, they can run out of steam before getting to the soil, making it look like they didn’t sprout.


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