How to successfully sprout vegetable seeds the natural way
There are many ways to sprout seeds.
My favourite way is to mimic nature’s process. That is by replicating birds, reptiles and mammals eating the fruit and excreting the seeds.
However, certain plants have their own unique way of procreation like black pepper. Black pepper is usually planted using cuttings and not by seed. In the wild, pepper vine will spread its new tentacle to an adjunct tree and start there afresh with new roots underground and gripping roots on the tree to anchor. So there is a limitation in success ratio by using seeds.
Best time to start sprouting a seed is by end of March. This is the time when most weeds sprout (most part of India receives summer rains) and by June when south west monsoon is expected plants establish themselves.
Sprouting a Vegetable Seed the Natural Way
- Best time to start preparing saplings is by end of March.
- Pick up a fully ripe fruit. For e.g. red chilies
- Place the chilies in an envelope or between newspaper and rub it well so that all the seeds are separated from the flesh. Now collect all the seeds in a shallow container and pour some hot water (Not boiling water, but should be considerably hot) rub the seeds well keeping them in the hot water. Please wear a gloves or cover your hands with coconut oil to avoid burning sensation in hand. Oil dissolves capsaicin attached to your skin, repeat oil application and wash with soap for several times. This will ease the burn.
- Discard seeds that are floating on the water. They are hollow and will not germinate.
- Now repeat the process with some fresh hot water and clean all the outer membrane on the seeds (In nature this process happens inside birds intestines, here we are trying to replicate the same)
- Take the seeds out of water and add some ash from burned leaves (Mango leaf ash is ideal) into the seeds; mix well and let it dry overnight.
- Seeds are ready to be planted. (Above mentioned process has upwards of 95 percent successful germination results. However not all sapling may establish them self and bear fruit).
- You can also preserve the seeds and use after few weeks or months for planting.
- Plant in good porous material so that roots establish well. Study the crop and use water and nutrients accordingly. (Don’t make soil soggy)
- Seeds also need warmth when planted so cover it with a dark material preferably a black polythene sheet which also trap moisture.
- New shoots will have two parallel leaves on it’s crown. Take care that these leaves have to fall off naturally.
- It’s now time to transplant to bags or to the new planting location.
Some hard seeds like pumpkins’ take a lot of days to germinate. Follow the above produce but before planting, moisten them and tie in cotton cloth. Then bury the seeds shallow with very little soil on top. Keep a stone 10 times the weight of seeds altogether on top.