Q&A with Jorge
I run a grow operation for a compassion clinic. Recently, I planted six germinated seeds and threw them in the dark, but they did not come up. Then I put them under two small desk-lamp fluorescents. It is Day 4 and no seeds have come up yet. Is there a problem with my setup? I’ve been using 24 hours of light a day, and the garden is bordered with Mylar. It gets pretty hot in there. The lights are providing warmth and lumens. Also, I found a small worm about a millimeter long and removed it.
Germinated seeds are very delicate and should be “placed” in the dark rather than “thrown.” Your choice of language indicates rough handling of the germinated seed. You also say that it “gets pretty hot,” but you don’t say how hot. The ideal atmospheric temperature range for germinating seed is 78ÂºF to 80ÂºF. Keep the soil a few degrees warmer to speed root development—but if it gets much hotter, growth is impaired. Most importantly, a hot environment will dry out the soil and the new tender roots. The roots must remain moist at all times; if they dry out, growth will be stunted. As the moisture dissipates, the severity of the problem progresses, growth stops altogether and finally death occurs. Keep the surface of the soil or growing medium evenly moist until the germinated seed has broken through the soil surface and grown for a week. The first two weeks of growth are the most critical, because seedlings have a small, delicate, developing root system and must receive proper moisture.
If the worm you removed ate any part of the seeds, you will find evidence in the form of physical damage to the germinated seed. If the seed is affected or dead, you must replant. This time, use store-bought soil that is guaranteed to be “sterile” and you should have no problems with little worms.