Germination, what the what?

Germination is sweeping the nation!

But what the f is germination anyway?  It’s pretty simple really.  It’s two parts science (which I don’t get), and three parts magic (which I TOTALLY get).  Ok, there are more than five parts to germination, but basically all you need to know is that germination is the seed’s process of sprouting from a dormant embryo into a baby seedling--it’s crazy voodoo magic.  

The nitty-gritty:

illustration by  Rachel Rolseth

illustration by Rachel Rolseth

The type of germination we are talking about is when a seed sprouts into a plant, such as your common garden veggie (pollen germination and spore germination are all together different, but equally magical).  All seeds contain an embryo and reserve "food" inside of them or in their seed coat.  When given the right conditions; soil, warmth, water and oxygen, seeds sprout into seedlings and eventually become mature plants, which produce off-spring of their own.  

A seed needs soil along with warmth and moisture to germinate.  Most common vegetables have optimal germination temperatures between 75-90 F degrees.  Some crops such as radishes or spinach can and actually prefer much lower temperatures to germinate, as low as 40 F degrees.  

Water is the most crucial part of germination, without it, the seed would lay dormant.  Water is absorbed into the seed coat, which then swells and breaks open.  Once this  happens, the magic occurs and the plant embryo can grow.

Once the seed coat has cracked open, the plant sends down an embryonic root (radicle) to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, and simultaneously sends up an embryonic shoot (plumule) through the soil to absorb sunlight and turn the sunlight into food through photosynthesis.  

The first leaves you see on most vegetables are actually not the true leaves, but cotyledon, which have stored food for the embryo's journey.  Once the first true leaves have developed, germination is complete, although the plant will need more time to finish its life cycle, usually ending on your plate. 

The fluff:

The word germination has been used to describe ideas coming into being and is synonymous with these  awesome words and phrases:  Appear, arise, be born, bud, come forth, come into existence, come out, commence, crop up, dawn, derive from, emanate, emerge, enter, get going, get show on the road, get under way, grow out of, happen, issue forth, kick off, occur, originate, proceed from, result from, rise, sail, send off, set, spring, sprout, start, and take off.  source

Hands On:

We hope you have started your seeds  and they are taking off!  Show us you germination folks!  #growtootieanddotes