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Sowing is a generative, ie sexual, type of propagation in which the new plant is extracted from a seed. With this type of propagation, most plants in nature ensure their offspring and survival. In the seeds, the genetic material of both parents is recombined. The resulting offspring are never absolutely identical to their parents - thus preserving the genetic diversity of nature. From the small seeds grow after some time under suitable soil conditions replicable plants. Especially in wild species of woody plants and perennials, as well as annuals of summer flowers and seed-resistant vegetables, sowing as a propagation method in the garden plays a major role.
Good to know: The opposite of a generative propagation is the vegetative (asexual) propagation, in which from a part of the plant a nearly identical plant, a clone, is drawn - be it about cuttings, offshoots, sinkers or sticks. This type of reproduction is often resorted to if one wants to preserve the characteristics of the mother plant.
Selection and storage of the seed
Seed-resistant varieties are grown over years for specific characteristics such as color, taste and shape through crossing and selection. If you multiply these varieties by their seeds, you will get plants with exactly the same characteristics in the following generation. In contrast, there are so-called F1 hybrids that have emerged from a cross between two homozygous parents. You get uniform offspring. The seed for F1 hybrids is more expensive than conventional seeds, but has the benefit of producing higher yields and better quality fruit. The disadvantage of such plants is that the offspring - the so-called F2 plants - may no longer have these positive properties. Therefore, F1 hybrids are not suitable for seed harvesting. Instead, use seed-resistant varieties.
It is best to store each seed in a labeled glass so that there is no confusion when sowing
Even if packaged seed bags are cheap at garden retailers, it is worthwhile to harvest their own seeds: In this case, you can be sure that the plants thrive well at their location and have already proven themselves. The harvest time of the seeds has come when the plants voluntarily give up the small grains. With the help of an unused, air permeable teabag, you can catch the seeds before they fall on the ground. Simply put a bag over the seed pod of the plant and attach it to the stalk. If the capsule bursts, the grains end up in the tea bag. For self-fertilizers such as tomatoes and peas, the seed harvest is the easiest: For example, you can extract the seeds directly from the pulp of the tomato.
To store the seeds until next spring, clean them first and then dry them in a cool and cool place. The best way to store the grains in a screw or paper bag. In addition to the name of the plant, it is also useful to note the harvest year of the seeds. Tomato seeds remain germinable for up to eight years, while the seeds of the carrot only last for one to two years.
The right sowing time
In the house is usually not started before the first of March with the sowing. The reason for this is that it is usually too dark during the daytime. As this is often the case even in March / April, it is recommended to additionally illuminate the seedlings. Otherwise, the seedlings form long thin stems with small, pale green leaves - this process is called Vergeilung. In the greenhouse and cold frame you can sow your flowers and your vegetables a little earlier, as the plants are better exposed there. There, the ratio of light and temperature can be controlled more easily. In the case of direct sowing of flowers and vegetables in the bed, the sowing date depends on the winter hardiness and the germination behavior of the respective plants. Plan the sowing of beans, for example, so that the plants do not germinate in front of the ice saint. You can already sow carrots in March.
Plants with a long development time such as cabbage vegetables and heat-requiring species such as cucumbers are preferred, since otherwise for these plants, the growing season outdoors is barely sufficient to retract a rich harvest. This means that the seeds are first sown under glass in order to later plant the seedlings in a robust development stage into the open. For this purpose one uses so-called seed boxes, small pots and multiplattformen as well as special culture vessels, which are filled with suitable earth. This should be germ-free, nutrient-poor as well as very fine. Such a special cultivation soil is commercially available, but can also be easily mixed by yourself. The seeds are spread or laid out.Carefully wash the fine grains with a small pore watering can attachment or an atomizer so that they are not washed away. After sowing, you should press the seeds with a wooden board and sift with a thin layer of sand. The planters now get a bright and warm place on the windowsill, in the cold frame or in the greenhouse. Even classic balcony flowers such as petunia or hardy Lieschen must be pre-cultivated under glass, so they bloom in time in May.
The germination behavior of plants
In some plant species, a cold and frost effect is necessary to start the germination. Because the seeds contain a plant hormone, which inhibits germination and is slowly degraded only at low temperatures. The hormone protects the seeds to germinate even before the onset of winter. The so-called cold germs are sufficient for this process only a few weeks with temperatures between zero and five degrees Celsius; These plants include, for example, maple (Acer), ornamental quince (Cheonomeles) and primroses (Primula) and tulips (Tulipa). On the other hand, intense frosts are needed to break the dormancy of the seeds of Gentian (Gentiana), Adonis (Adonis), Aconite (Alstroemeria) and Helleborus (Helleborus). Accordingly, such plants, which usually come from the high mountains, referred to as frost germ. Frost and cold germs are already sown in the autumn and overwintered outdoors - but you can also sow them directly in the winter. Alternatively, you can simulate this cold stimulus in the freezer. Lay the seeds in small pots and wrap them in a plastic wrap. Then put in the freezer for a few weeks - cold germination enough refrigerator. Then the actual sowing takes place outdoors.
Above all, eggplants need enough heat to germinate
In addition to moisture and heat, light also plays a crucial role in germination. While the seeds of some species require light, others germinate only in the dark. Seeds of so-called light germs - for example carrot, lettuce and sage - are merely scattered on the growing soil and lightly squeezed. Until germination, the seeding vessel must be in a bright place. Dark germs - for example, Larkspur and Ironhut - are scattered on the substrate and screened with fine soil. In addition, you can cover the seeds with cardboard or just in the field in small grooves scatter and cover with some soil. As soon as the first leaves appear, dark germs need light to grow. If you are unsure of the germination conditions of a plant, use the following rule of thumb: cover all seeds with a layer of sand or soil that is no more than one to two times larger in dusty seeds and three to four times greater in larger seeds.
Seeds of yew (Taxus) and witch hazel (witch hazel) germinate under natural conditions only after several years. Because of this delay, professional horticulture uses a process called stratification. To do this, mix the seeds with a bit of damp sand and then store the mixture for several weeks or months at temperatures around five degrees Celsius, before the seeds are sown in the spring. To facilitate the swelling, you can roast hard-shelled seeds lightly with sandpaper.