Big and good quality harvest is the dream of any gardener. Bad weather, mistakes in care, pests and illnesses could damage any harvest! And very often seeds already infected by bacteria, viruses and fungi. This is the most important reason for seeds preparation, especially disinfection.
But not only disinfection is important! Germination, tempering and nutrient enrichment before planting also very important.

How to provide correct and easy preparation for planting read in this article.

1. Sorting (calibration) of seeds
2. Heat treatment of planting material
3. Seed disinfection
3.1. Wet disinfection
3.2. Dry disinfection
4. Soaking and germination of vegetable seeds
5. Hardening
6. Enriching seeds with nutrients
Cases where seed preparation is not required

This information is not about a seeds which was already prepared in factory condition, before selling. Often after treatment, seeds cowered by shell of pesticide, microelements and nutrient so they don’t need in any treatment. Information about it should be on the label.


1. Sorting and calibration of seeds

Before any processing, seeds must be sorted - only the best should be used for cultivation. Salted water is the easiest way! 3 grams per 1 liter of water must be mixed then seeds put into this mixture. After 3 minutes bad seeds will surface, they should be thrown away. Good must be watering and dried.


2. Heat treatment of planting material

Heat treatment (warming) of seeds is a controversial issue; it has both supporters and opponents.

Heat treatment is used to disinfect future plants from fungi, viruses and bacteria diseases, pathogens of which could be on the seeds.
Procedure also helps to form women’s flowers. There are several types of this procedure: dry and wet. Dry heating may be long (1 – 2 months next to the radiators) or short (4 – 5 hours in dryer, gradually increasing the temperature up to 55 °C). Seeds must be in textile bags for air ventilation when heating. After heating they must be put into cold water for 2 – 3 minutes.

Heat water (not higher than 70 oC) used for wet heating. Seeds, in textile bags, put into heat water for 30 – 35 minutes. Thermos is convenient for this. Immediately after heating seeds should be put into cold water for 2 – 3 minutes like after dryer.


3. Seed disinfection

More often gardeners use disinfection instead of heating.
Seeds disinfection either could be wet or dry.

3.1. Wet disinfection

The most often used 1 – 2% aquatic solution of potassium permanganate (1 – 2 grams per 100 ml of water). Cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, zucchini, squash, eggplant, carrots, cabbage, dill disinfected in 2% potassium permanganate solution for 20 minutes. Onions, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, corn, celery, legumes – 45 minutes in 1% solution.

Harmful microflora perfectly neutralized by:
1% acetic acid solution for 2 hours,
3% hydrogen peroxide for 10 – 12 hours,
solution of boric acid (0.5 grams per 1 liter) – 12 hours,
solution of copper sulfate (0.1 grams per 1 liter) – 15 – 20 minutes,
ready-made solutions for disinfection according to the instructions.

This procedure must be provided inly in glassware. After disinfection seeds must be cleaned by water.

3.2. Dry disinfection

Good method of dry disinfection is to put seeds under direct sunlight for 7 – 10 days. Seeds just put on a wide plate made of glass or wood, but it is necessary to ensure that there is no wind, especially if the seeds are small. Direct sun rays destroy pathogens and stimulate better germination. The method is well suited for pumpkin crops, as well as for beets, turnips, carrots, rutabaga. Ultraviolet lamp for 2 – 3 minutes is the perfect way to kill any pathogens.

There are special chemical preparations for disinfection, they sold in garden shops and should be used according to instructions. Seeds are powdered with chemicals, the procedure is quite dangerous and requires personal protective equipment.


4. Soaking and germination of seeds

After disinfection, seeds often to soak for its faster germination. Often gardeners germinate seeds outside the soil. When small root appear, young plants planted in boxes with soil or in the garden. To do this, the seeds are laid out in a thin layer on a damp textile or paper, covered with the same material and left in a warm place (+25-30 degrees).

Melt or defended tap water is preferably for seeds soaking. Very helpful activators of growth on the base of humate or heteroauxin (some drops according to instruction).

Legumes are soaked for 6-7 hours, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin – for 17- 19 hours, onions and celery – for 30-35. Seeds of cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce can be immersed in water, adding a few drops of aloe juice.


5. Hardening

Hardening provided not only for cold resistance, some vegetable (not all!) give more and earlier crop if hardened!
Seeds and young plants applies hardening by holding them at changing temperature. This procedure provided after soaking. At first seeds soaked at temperature +18 +20 oC about 1 day, then they placed for 1.5 hours (sometimes for 1 day) at temperature 0 +3 oC. Warm and cold rotated about 1 – 2 days, cucumbers up to 7 days, tomatoes up to 5, other crops – up to 10.

Large seeds, especially for long time hardening, it’s better to mix with sand to prevent mold.

During the cultivation of seedlings at warm temperature, the immunity acquired by the seeds hardening will be lost. Therefore, seedlings of vegetables grown in the house, must also be hardened.

Not all seeds need to be tempered. Radishes, beets, radishes, spinach, lettuce should not be subjected to hardening, as it can cause early flowering of plants.


6. Enriching seeds with nutrients

Feeding seeds by microelements provided for soaking them in nutrient aquatic solution. Wooden ash could be used for this (1 – 2 tablespoons about 6 – 12 grams of ash per 100 ml of water). Solution must be filtered and seeds put into it for 3 - 4 hours before planting.


Cases where seed preparation is not required

Not all of the mentioned methods of seed preparation for planting are strictly required. As mentioned above, they are not needed if the producers have carried out preparation of seeds in full. In addition, even those seeds that are obtained from own garden, do not always need all methods of processing. Very important for each culture to choose only what is really necessary. But to obtain good harvest sorting, disinfection and soaking of seeds useful in most of the cases.