Seed Germination Times

alamo5000February 15, 2010

I am taking much more of a scientific approach to my seed starting this year. I am trying to keep track of dates and temperatures and so on and so forth.

For example my soil temp in my cups has been at a low of 69 degrees and averages about 72 to 73 degrees. I know because I measured with an electronic probe oven thermometer :o)

I planted my seeds on the night of Feb 6 and on the morning of Feb 14 I had sprouts. It was roughly a 7 day week plus/minus (more like minus) a day.

Some of my seeds have not germinated (yet) or are taking a little longer to germinate. For example of my various cherry tomatoes many of them are up, however only a couple of brandywine suddith are barely breaking the soil now.

Early Girl and others like that are mostly up already...

I did notice some different germination times for some different tomatoes varieties... however has anyone ever done a full study of this?

Last year my brandywine suddith for example were very slow starters as related to growing once I set them in the ground. Once they took off though they really went to town but it just took longer to get to that stage. For example I was already eating cherries when my Brandywine Suddiths were just starting to take off.

Again, has anyone ever done studies of the various tomatoes in both germination and growth times?

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My fresh tomato seeds have been sprouting in four days, and my old eight year old seeds six to ten days. A few laggards can take two weeks. But I am keeping them at around 85 degrees, and using either Pro-Mix BX with biofungicide or plain Pro-Mix PGX as the seed starter mix, and I also soak the seeds in water for about 15 minutes before I plant them, or until they sink. I poke holes about a quarter inch deep in my seed starter mix with the eraser end of a pencil and drop my seeds in the holes and then cover the holes with pure medium grind vermiculite.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:05PM
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I know that temperature matters A LOT. A whole lot. If I could keep mine up to 80 plus degrees I know they would probably germinate a lot faster. That being said, 6 days vs 4 days ain't bad.

I do not use grow lights or shop lights or anything. I just have my stuff set up and sitting next to a big window at room temperature in my living room. Also I didn't soak or do anything to any of them. Just straight into the potting mix.

All other things equal though, do different varieties germinate at different times? I have evidence of this hypothesis by merely by looking at my stuff this year.

Carrying that out, obviously some plants will mature and bear fruit faster (hence the early, mid, late varieties) they have some differing development times.

I am just wondering if this carries on to seedlings and if anyone has a full blown study of this that they have seen.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:18PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Again, has anyone ever done studies of the various tomatoes in both germination and growth times?

Germination times? Yes, several studies are available and all are based on the conditions provided. Soil temp, soil moisture levels, seed age, planting medium used, amount of planting medium used, etc.

So while getting consistent results within the study is possible, drawing any conclusions that would apply across varieties or nationwide are not. Instead you find general germination recommendations such as: "cherry varieties grow faster than beefsteak varieties" or "For best results provide a soil temp of 70-75, use a light texture well draining soil-less mix, fresh seeds, shallow planting, etc. = germination in 4-7 or 5-10 days." Vague and general.;)

Growth times? Yes, that is how you get the DTM listed for each variety and how varieties are classed as in Early, Mid-Season, Late Season etc. EX: Brandywine is normally classed as a Late Season 80-90 day variety while most cherry varieties fall into the early and mid-season classes. So one would expect to be eating cherry tomatoes long before Brandywine would produce.

But again, DTM is easily affected by individual growing conditions so as is often mentioned here, DTM is just an estimate.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 4:03PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I can't speak to a full study but some of the variables are seed age, depth of sowing seed, specific artificial mix used, degree of contact of seeds and mix, amount of water used and also there are differences with specific varieties.

An woe to those who use those domes and don't leave them ajar b'c too much heat and accumulation of moisture and many have cooked their seeds.

Back to seed age. For instance, with Mirabell, even using fresh seeds I saved myself so I do know the exact seed age, it takes about two weeks to see germination.

It's tough for folks to know the exact seed age when they buy commercial packs b'c all that's given is the packed for date, not the date when the seeds were produced. And it's even harder if one is an avid seed trader, which I'm not, b'c seldom do those who trade seeds put the date on the pack, or so I've been told.

In Europe they put a best used by date on the pack.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 4:09PM
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alamo: In my experience, cherry tomato varieties will germinate in as little as 3-4 days, while other tomato varieties may take from 7-14 days. For instance, in my Germination Station heated greenhouse seed starter thing, almost all of my Sungold have come up, 2-3 of my Amish Paste, but no others yet after almost 4 days.

- Steve

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 5:10PM
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erlyberd(Z5 CT)

Here is what I got...
Seeds started 2/4/10

Yellow Pear 60 hours

Branywine 6-7 days!

2nd fastest
Siberia 4 days

All started in starter mixture, 80-85 degrees, Branywine was the oldest seed (saved 2007) and Yellow Pear was purchased this season off seed rack.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Started 1/14/10
78 deg.(+-.5 deg.) waterbed.
This is what I have;
Bellestar - 7 days paste type, older seed
Sweet Million - 7-8 days cherry type, older seed
Red Alert - 4-5 days early type, fresh seed
Park's whopper - 5 days fresh seed
Big Zac - 3 days fresh seed
Brandywine - 3-4 days fresh seed
Delicious - 4-5 days fresh seed
My numbers indicated age of seed to be more relevant than early/full season or cherry/paste/beefsteak variety. I was rather surprised that the B.Z.& Bw. popped up so quick. The fresher seed had a higher success rate also.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 11:35PM
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4-8 days for me normally. I had one odd ball this year though. One of my Indian Stripes I decided wasn't going to do anything and it shared a tray with 5 brothers and sisters that had to get under the grow light. After the other were just budding true leaves, this guy decides to sprout. I think he was about 20 days from planting to sprout, which was likely delayed because one under lights, I keep them in a very cool garage. Slower growth, but they get stocky and don't seem to care.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:36AM
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I've been starting my Tomatoes from seeds the last several years. I use a 72 spot (6x12) tray with a transparent plastic cover. Above the cover is a double fluorescent light which is on continuously and below the tray is heat mat which is on continuously. I've noticed that germination rates are significantly higher around the outside of the tray, where the inside seeds take considerably longer to sprout, if they do at all. This is true for other plants, like peppers, as well.

Logicically I would think that the seeds on the outside of the tray would be the coolest, with the inside being the warmest, although I have no evidence.

Does anyone have any insight on my results?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 11:22AM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

I used to plant tomato seeds quite shallowly, and they often sprouted in 3 days, but i've been putting them quite a bit deeper of late, to make sure the seed coats come off cleanly, i think they still sprout in the same time, i just don't see them for a few more days.

I've also had oddballs that take a couple weeks!

Bigtomato, i was checking some of the cartons i germinate in last year, and got distracted and left two in a stack. The closed egg cartons were crossways overnite sitting on a heat mat, and the seeds in the middle cells of the bottom carton mustve gotten cooked, the few that came up didn't show for weeks.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 11:42AM
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I do my seed starting on heating mats outside under a porch - I have the temp set to bring the soil temp to 70-85 degrees at night - with a dome on
In the AM the heat mats are turned off and I remove the domes - the seeds germinate just about like every one says - after they do sprout I put in a seed growing cart (outside under same porch) that has a clear "tent" over it open during the day and closed at night 4 sets of 4 florecent lights 1 for each of 4 shelves are on in the AM for 16 hrs and shut off at night for dark cycle


    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 6:38PM
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