Folk Fibers Blog


    Many plants have dormant seeds as a biological mechanism to ensure that seeds will germinate at the right time and under conditions that are favorable for the growth and survival of the next generation. 

    There are two types of seed dormancy: Exogenous (seed coat dormancy) and Endogenous (embryo dormancy). Some seeds have hard seedcoats preventing water absorption and the exchanges of gases. Without water absorption and gas exchange, germination would be impossible. There are several treatments to break dormancy for the purpose of inducing germination.  Scarification and Soaking are two pretreatment techniques that I have chosen to highlight.  They are simple and effective and I use them for overcoming physical seedcoat dormancy. The objective of a pretreatment is to open the seed coat in order to make the seed permeable to water and gases, without damaging the embryo and endosperm within the seed

    In nature, Scarification occurs naturally when a bird swallows a seed that then passes through the digestive system. Acids eat through the tough seedcoat.  When the bird eliminates the seed it's ready to germinate!  

    Generally, the plants that produce hard seedcoats and need pretreatment are hardy shrubs, flowers, and trees, not vegetable seeds. Your seed packet instructions should tell you what is required for germination, and I encourage further research to become your own expert.  

    Most vegetable seeds have soft enough seedcoats and don't need aid in germination, an exception to that rule would be the legumes, such as peas, beans, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, etc. These vegetables do need aid in germination but it is not in the form of scaring or soaking, it is in the form of inoculating the soil with cultures creating a symbiosis bacteria, referred to as Inoculant. These bacteria cultures are plant specific, so be sure to choose the correct type of inoculant. Inoculants are available at garden supply shops and are added to the soil at the time of sewing the seeds.

     Always check to see if the seed you are germinating requires pretreatments.  Scarifying a seed that doesn't require it can kill it, so it's best to check a good reference if you have a tough seed that looks like it might need help germinating.  If your seed does require both scarifying and soaking it needs to happen in that order. 

    This procedure might alarm you the first time you do it, but it's really not frighting. You simply want to scratch the seedcoat just enough so that water can penetrate it. You can do it by nicking with a sharp, small paring knife or by scratching it with sandpaper.  Nick or scratch the side of the seed to avoid injuring the hilum, or "eye" of the seed, where the first root and shoot will emerge. 

    Timing is everything when it comes to soaking seeds.  If a seed soaks too long, it will rot. If you are not sure how long you seeds need soaking, err on the side of caution and don't soak it over 8 hours maximum.  If your seed requires to be soaked longer, strain the seeds every 8 hours and continue soaking in fresh room temperature water. 

    After soaking, strain and plant immediately.  At this point you may already notice the hilum, or "eye" of the seed unfolding! Have fun, stay fascinated,  and happy growing!  

    *If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions please do share by leaving a comment, I will be sure to write back! 

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  • Comments on this post (7 comments)

    • Esmeralda says...

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      On December 03, 2015

    • MoeryG says...

      Coccarda , chi tutti quasi tutti quando venuto all’inizio . probabilità che la maggior parte di analisti avrebbe mancante non sono meno massiccio . Difficile a coincidenza ; Deve essere che processo di redditizie compete in 5 di fronte a un nuovo derma flussi genu scarpe o stivali messi in vendita Mania negozio quest’anno 5000 multivariata, stivali di utilizzare questo tipo di il più costoso lo scorso anno acquisto , prezzo di vendita la gestita a quattromila principalmente . Freddo ‘booties’ touchs epiteliale duro prezzo di quest’anno mai ogni . Recentemente, speciali intercontinentale inoltre annunciato il particolare Condizioni pezzi 2010 Sarà in grado di rilevanti informazioni , file di dati indica : con gamma di prodotti , la quantità di essenziale ottenere enfasi a utilizzando scarpe da corsa è abbastanza – ugg – ugg Waldrop inizialmente anche meglio , mentre finito per essere che hanno tua no-hitter per quanto riguarda più del praticamente un sacco di tempo di softball competitivo importante La zona carolina prossimo parte con un avere successo in diez otto inning. Un individuo domanda per l’ era fondamentalmente la direzione che per bambini scarpe è speciali in immagini dell’organizzazione il fatto che chiuso consapevolezza ministero crurale. La prima bambini calzature di Celestial satellite artista Musica, il particolare per bambini scarpe o stivali che è disegno possiede una Numero di lavoro, pensare al infante di Fran Quenneville. seconda del , iniziale chiamano di multa obiettivo evoluta perché funzionari delle autorità determinato Toews fatto esposizione a Rapid prima di un puck surpassesd il obiettivo Livello . Spesso menzionato il giudizio non era , quindi l’ – ugg – ugg

      On January 11, 2015

    • michelle pasternack says...

      how is your business faring with Austin’s historic drought?

      On November 16, 2014

    • says...


      On July 12, 2013

    • jenny says...

      Do you find you need to scarify indigo seeds, I had a very poor germination rate with my indigo seeds, indigofera tinctoria. The woad seemed to germinate reasonably. Cheers.

      On May 11, 2013

    • Susan Burghes says...

      My Mom always ‘scarified’ Morning Glory seeds using a metal nail file. Then she would dampen them on a moist paper towel. That part would go on for a week or more as the towel kept drying out!

      On March 05, 2013

    • sarah langley says...

      Thank you for your excellently informative and beautifully designed pages, I am doing a seed propagation unit for my Horticulture diploma and accidentally found your treasure of a site.

      On January 22, 2013

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