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How to deal with seeds that propagate in darkness?

Morning all! I'm quite a prolific seed grower but one thing has always stumped me. For the seeds that need darkness to germinate, what do I do with them once germination has taken place? I germinate in a propagator (no greenhouse yet, boooo) and because there naturally are different rates of germination even in the same seed I either have to take the whole propagator out of the dark at once before some have germinated, or prick out seeds as soon as they've germinated and leave the rest under cover. They're obviously tiny at this stage so it makes it quite tricky and doesn't feel right to be removing from the propagator at this stage. Does anyone have any advice? Gill x


  • B3B3 Posts: 25,155
    edited February 2021
    Isn't it dark under the soil covering the seeds? In any case, it's dark at night unless your propagated has lights.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • gilla.walmsleygilla.walmsley Posts: 285
    edited February 2021
    The seeds only need to be covered with a sprinkling of vermiculite which still allows light through - they then need to be put under darkness eg a black bin liner. Keeping out in daylight will prevent the germination  :)
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,155
    On I see. I wonder how they germinate in the wild,then😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • I would use compost rather than vermiculite ... not many seeds are covered with vermiculite in the wild 😊 

    Either that or sow thinly in small modules that you can remove individually from the dark when a proportion of the seeds in each one have germinated. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,088
    @B3 Seeds have defence mechanisms against germinating at the wrong time.   Ones that need darkness sit about on the soil waiting for an accumulation of debris and organic matter to cover them and cut out the light.   The seed has enough energy to send a stem up to make the initial seed leaves and start to photosynthesise and feed the growing roots and true leaves.

    Other seeds are triggered by temperature, including those needing cold stratification to trigger them into thinking spring is on its way, most need the right moisture levels and some need light.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks both! I'm a bit nervous about not following the instructions as I'm still a relative newbie! I think you're right about using individual modules in future! Thank you :smile:
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