Presoaking Seeds DIY Quick Tip

Many moons ago, a friend of mine, who is a gardening guru, suggested that I presoak my pea and sweet pea seeds before sowing them.  Why in the world would I do that?  Well, because seeds require moisture for germination.   Moisture breaks down the seed coat, hydrates the seed’s enzymes, and hydrates the food supplies.  When these things happen, the seed begins to grow.  In the cold ground, this process can take days, sometimes even weeks, to occur.   However, in a bowl of water in a warm house, this process is drastically accelerated, and gets those delicious peas in my belly much sooner.

Ever since my friend explained this to me, I have been presoaking my pea seeds the night before I plant them.  It’s oh so simple to do.

Place the seeds in a small bowl, add warm water, and soak for about 12 hours.

WARNING!  Back when I was a new mom with a needy infant, I left the seeds soaking on my counter for 3 days.  That third morning, my kitchen was overwhelmed by the smell of nasty, rotting peas.  They had burst open, fallen apart, and were foaming and bubbly.  I dry heaved as I threw them away, and I never again left them soaking for too long.

When the seeds have properly soaked, you will see the root, also known as the radical, begin to emerge from the seed coat.  This root tells you it is ready for the ground.  Some seeds, like sweet peas, have a harder seed coat and the root will take a little longer to emerge.  Keep them soaking for about 24 hours, but watch for signs of over hydration.

Peas aren’t the only seed you can presoak.  It also works for large seeds and/or seeds with thick seed coats like:

  • Beans
  • Melons
  • Squash
  • Okra

The beans have a very thin seed coat and will only take a few hours for the root to emerge, but the other seeds will take 24 – 48 hours.

You can also soak some of the smaller vegetable seeds.  However, their small size makes them extremely hard to handle while wet, so be prepared.  They will stick to your fingers like glue.  Some examples are:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Give this quick tip a try and let me know if your peas produce sooner than usual this year.  Happy germinating!




Leave a Comment