Why seeds don’t germinate

If you’ve been following my blog over the last 5 months you’d have seen that I’ve been quite prolific in my sowing. However, not all have been successful – prompting me to sow more in a few weeks time.

Why carrots and parsnips don’t germinate

I’ve gone with Early Nantes 5, and I remember sowing quite a thick stream seeds into the ground, however, sadly not all of them have come through as I’d hoped.

I suspect soil crusting maybe at fault here. Soil crusting is when a thin layer of rugged and thick soil emerges on top of the bed. This makes the bed compacted and harder for carrots to poke through. It’s also one of those bed conditions whereby the bed looks smooth and soft, but is actually quite hard. Too much rain can cause crusting, as the droplets will eventually push down on the bed.

I think this has also had an effect on my parsnips.

Why cabbages don’t germinate

Cabbage Savoy KingSadly, I’ve only got two Savoy King Cabbages to my name – and I checked the packet and it’s out of date. Out of date seeds don’t  necessarily mean they won’t germinate, but it does mean that the success rate is cut significantly.  There’s certainly no harm in sowing out of date seeds – just remember that they may not germinate.

There’s nothing worse than waiting for seeds to germinate, only to find that nothing happens and you realise that you should have checked the seed packet – lesson learned.

Other reasons seeds don’t germinate

Too Dry: Water is crucial for germination. Preventing you soil drying out will help maintain a soil moisture.

Too Hot: High temperatures result in soil drying out which can injure seeds and seedlings.

Too Cold: Cold temperatures can kill seedlings and prevent germination. A frost can wipe out any seedlings that poke through.

Planting Seedlings Too Deep: Seeds may not be able to grow enough to reach the surface on the limited food storage from inside of the seed.

Soil Too Firm: Seedlings need oxygen to germinate and a soil that is too firm will reduce oxygen from getting to your seed. Soil that is too firm will also have an impact on drainage.

Sowing Parsnips: White Gem

Last year, I didn’t grow any parsnips and I regretted it.  I don’t know why I didn’t grow parsnips, I think I just forgot about them.

This year will be different. I’ve chosen to sow White Gem, which will perform well in shallow beds and is a good all-round ingredient to use in a roast dinner or in a casserole.  White Gem is recommended by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany because it’s good for use in all soils – making it the go-to variety for growing at an allotment.

I dug over the bed quite thoroughly as parsnips do well in weed-free soil with good drainage.

So that I don’t have to thin out the parsnips, and in the hope that this will save me time later on, I measured out four string lines and made the holes for seeds every 15 centimetres or so. The rows are 30cm apart, giving me the opportunity to sow something in between the rows later on.

The rows I’ve created for my White Gem parsnip seeds are 30cm apart, giving me the opportunity to sow something in between the rows later on.

I planted around two seeds per hole, with a view to remove the weaker seedlings.  Germination is slow and can take as long as 30 days, so I’ll have to be patient.  By that time at least – hopefully we’ll be well clear of the frost and the bad weather won’t wipe everything out.  This also means that I have to keep the bed weed free so that I can see the seedlings poking through.

Fingers crossed!