Vegetable Seed Germination, Sowing Time – A Full Guide

Seed germination of vegetable and sowing times 

Seed germination is the process by which an organism grows from a seed. The seeds inside the fruits or vegetables are designed to spread throughout the environment and grow into new plants in a process called seed germination. Vegetable seed germination is mean by which a different plant species grow from a single seed into a plant. A general example of seed germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm. Sowing is the procedure of planting.

Let us discuss the seed germination process and sowing in different vegetables;

Seed germination Stages.
Seed germination Stages.


  • A bean seed begins to germinate when the soil gets to the right temperature and moisture penetrates the seed coat. Bean seeds germinate, or sprout, when water dissolves or cracks open the hard casing around the seed or embryo.
  • Beans are sown from early October to mid-March depending on the climate. The seed is sown from 20 to 40 mm deep, depending on the prevailing weather.
  • Generally, the beans are sown in rows around 500 mm apart and between 50-100 mm between plants.
  • Bean vegetable seed germination temperature will be 70°F to 80°F and this germination is slow and poor when soil temperatures are below 60 F.
  • Germination process may take two weeks or more if soil temperatures are below 60°
  • If been seed is small (3000 per kg) and sown at a spacing 50 x 750 mm, 90 kg of seed is needed per hectare. For larger bean seed (1500 per kg), 180 kg of seed is needed per hectare if germination is 100%.


  • Germinating broccoli seeds takes about 5 to 10 days depending on how warm the soil is. Warm soil will speed up the broccoli germination process, while cold soil will slow it down.
  • Broccoli seeds germinate best in temperatures between 45°F and 85°F, and they can be sprouted in a house, in a greenhouse or in an outdoor garden’s soil.
  • Sow seed ¼ to ½ (6 to 8 mm) inch deep in the seed-starting mix.
  • The optimum time for seed sowing is mid-August to mid-September.
  • Method of sowing in broccoli can be done by line sowing and broadcasting method.


  • Cabbage vegetable seed germination takes best when exposed to a constant temperature of 65°F to 70° At this temperature range, cabbage seeds will sprout within three to four days.
  • The cabbage seed germination temperatures range of 45 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Outside of the optimum temperature range, seeds can take anywhere from four to 14 days to germinate. Cooler temperatures slow the germination procedure, while warmer temperatures speed it up.
  • The sowing of seed directly in the garden should wait for spring when the soil temperature warms to at least 40°F and the soil is tillable.
  • Cabbage seeds need a planting depth of 1/2 to ¾ inch and spacing of inches, with seedlings, later thinned to 12 to 24 inches apart, in rows that are spaced at least 18 to 34 inches apart.


  • Seed germination in spinach will take 7 to 14 days but sometimes seed can take up to 3 weeks to germinate in cold soil.
  • Spinach seeds germinate best in temperatures between 40°F and 75° For proper seed germination, the soil should not be warmer than 70ºF (21°C).
  • Sow spinach seed one-half inch deep and two inches apart in beds or rows. Spinach produces beautifully in cool fall conditions, but it’s tricky to persuade the seed to germinate in the hot conditions of the late summer season.
  • Sow spinach seeds ½-inch to 1-inch deep, covering lightly with soil. Sow 12 seeds per foot of row, or sprinkle over a wide row or bed.
Direct Seed Sowing.
Direct Seed Sowing.

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  • Kale vegetable seed germination takes best in warm soil. Seed germinates will take 5 to 7 days at or near 70°F (21°C); sometimes seed can take up to two weeks to germinate if the soil is cold.
  • Cover seeds with about half-inch of soil and don’t allow the seeds to dry out before germinating.
  • Sow kale seed in early spring or late summer or a fall or winter crop. Sow seed ¼ inches to ½ inch (6-13mm) deep.
  • Sow seeds 4 inches (10cm) apart; later thin seedlings to 16 inches to 18 inches (40-45cm) apart; use the thinning in salads.
  • If sowing kale seed in summer for fall harvest, place the seed in a folded damp paper towel placed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator for five days before sowing.


  • Peas will sprout in 21 to 30 days if the soil temperature is 38°F and the germination rate, or a number of seeds that do sprout, will below.
  • At temperatures of 65 to 70°F, the peas seeds will sprout within 7 to 14 days.
  • Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost date, when soil temperatures reach at least 45°F (7°C).
  • Early sowing is done in October month whereas optimum varieties are sown in November in plains of North India. In the hills, the first crop of pea is sown from the middle of March to the end of May through a second crop is sown in autumn.


Tomato Seedlings.
Tomato Seedlings.
  • Sowing tomato seeds must be done at the end of the winter, towards mid-March, indoors and with a temperature of around 65°F to 70°F (18°C to 20°C).
  • Tomato seeds will commonly germinate within 5 to 10 days. Best to keep seed germination temperature range 70 to 80°F (21 to 27°C).
  • The lower the temperature the slower the seed germination. However, temperatures range below 50°F (10°C) or above 95°F (35°C) are poor for germination.
  • Sow seed in late February to mid-March using a heated propagator or a warm, south-facing windowsill. The temperature of the compost should be approx 22°C for the seeds to germinate; young plants will also want to be kept warm until early summer when the soil temperature is above at least 10 degrees.

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  • Onion seed germination would be faster with a temperature of 68 to 77°F (20-25°C), and with slight temperature drops at night.
  • Warm soil temperatures, on the other hand, can trigger onion seed germination in as little as 4 days.
  • Sow seed ¼ to ½ (6-12 mm) inch deep; plant sets about one inch (2.5 cm) deep for large onions, 2 inches (5 cm) deep for green onions and space rows 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
  • Onion seeds should germinate in 4 to 10 days at an optimal temperature of 70°F (21°C) or thereabouts; germination will take longer in colder soil however germination can be slow in chilly soil.


  • Alfalfa can germinate at temperatures greater than 37°F but optimum seed germination temperature is between 65 and 77°F.
  • As the soil warms, the rate of seed germination increases because of increased water movement into the seed and because of increases in the rate of other metabolic activities associated with germination.
  • Alfalfa seed germination and seedling emergence occur in about three to seven days.
  • Sowing is done in spring to summer.


  • Cauliflower vegetable seed germination usually takes eight to ten days.
  • Sow cauliflower seeds half an inch deep and 2 to 3 inch apart. Thin plants to 15 to 24 inches apart; space rows 24 to 30 inches apart.
  • The optimum soil temperature for seed germination temperature is 80°F. Though, cauliflower will germinate at temperatures as low as 50°F.


  • Sow seed indoors 14 weeks to 6 weeks before the last spring frost. Set out seedlings when they reach three inches (8 cm) tall about the time of the last frost and sow seed ⅛ inch deep (3 mm).
  • The seed will germinate in ten days; soak seed overnight in water before sowing.
  • Celery seeds germinate best at 70 to 75°F during the day and 60 degrees at night.
  • The best method to germinate celery seeds is by starting the plants indoors in seed flats. Celery seeds take 14 days to 21 days to germinate and emerge from the soil.


  • The okra seeds generally germinate in 2 to 12 days.
  • Okra seeds take 27 days to 30 days to germinate in the soil at 65°F. If the soil is 75°F, seed germination time is cut in half.
  • Sow 3 to 4 seeds to a pot or across flats; then clip away the weaker seedlings once the strongest seedling is about two inches (5 cm) tall and sow seed ½ inch (13 mm) deep.
  • Optimum soil temperature for germinating okra seed is 85°F (29°C).

Moringa or drumstick

  • Soak moringa seeds in water for 24 hours for the quick germination process.
  • The sowing season for drumstick as it is a warm-season plant, the drumstick tree is usually planted after the end of the cool season.
  • The moringa plant will germinate within 12 days.
  • The planting of drumstick is generally done during June after the first shower of rains.
  • In the sowing method, the seeds should be planted in an area with light, dry soil, and placed in holes dug 30cm (1ft) deep and 30cm wide. In each plant 3 to 5 seeds at a distance of 5cm (2in) apart, and water the soil, such that the topsoil remains moist.


  • Chicory seeds will germinate from 41-85°F (5-29°C), but the highest germination percentage will occur around 75°F (24°C), depending on the variety and seed lot.
  • Sow seeds 6 seeds per foot, rows 12-18 inches apart. Cover seed lightly, about 1/8 inch, and firm soil gently.
  • Dry soil should be watered to ensure coolness and moisture, and for uniform germination. Thin the seedlings 8 inches apart as soon as they are large enough to handle.
  • Chicory can be direct seeded outdoors in the early spring season. Optimal soil temperatures for germination are 65 to 70°F and sow seeds ¼” deep in rows 20″ apart.
  • Chicory seeds will germinate in 7 to 21 days.


  • Sow watercress seeds outdoors in spring when the soil has warmed up; minimum temperature 8°C (46°F). Or watercress seeds can be sown directly into the containers where you want them to grow.
  • To start off plants earlier in the year, sow seeds from mid-January to the end of March month in pots or trays of moist seed sowing compost.
  • Watercress seeds will germinate in the soil about 7 to 14 days.

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Brinjal or Eggplant

  • Eggplant or brinjal seeds germinate in 7 to 14 days, depending on the heat, moisture provided, and moisture content and age of the seed.
  • Eggplant seeds germinate at temperatures between 60-95°F. (15-35°C.) and seedlings will emerge in seven to ten days.
  • Sow eggplant or brinjal seed ¼ to ½ inches deep spaced 4 to 5 inches apart.
  • Eggplant seeds germinate in about five to six days.


  • Sow cucumbers from the mid-spring season into small pots of seed starting or general-purpose potting mix. Sow two cucumber seeds about an inch (3cm) deep, and then water well.
  • Cucumbers need temperatures to a range of at least 68ºF (20ºC) to germinate, so either place pots in a propagator for speedier germination, or simply wait until late spring to get started.
  • Cucumber germination temperature range will be 60°F to 90°F and do not plant until soil reaches 65 F.
  • Germination may take ten days or longer at cooler temperatures.


  • Pumpkin vegetable seed germination takes place in 4 to 10 days at 85°F (29°C) or warmer.
  • Sow pumpkins indoors two to three weeks before the last expected frost in spring the transplant them into the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Sow pumpkins outdoors when the soil temperature range has warmed to 70°F (21°C).
  • Pumpkin seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature range below 66°F (18°C).
A Well Germinated Field.
A Well Germinated Field.


  • Optimal soil temperature range will be 7-30°C (45-85°F).
  • Carrot seeds take as long as 14 to 21 days to germinate. Because carrot seeds are tiny, they want to be sown shallowly. The trick is to maintain the top-most layer of soil damp during the long germination period.
  • Direct sow April to mid-July for harvests from July to November month.
  • Direct sow winter-harvest carrots in the first two weeks of August month. Sow at three-week intervals for a continuous harvest.


  • Chard vegetable seed germination takes in 5 to 7 days at or near 60°F to 65°F (16-18°C) but sometimes seed can take up to three weeks to germinate if the soil is cold.
  • Germination will not occur in soil chillier than temperature 50°F (10°C).
  • Sow chard seeds ½ to 1 inch deep and 2 to 6 inches apart, in rows 18 to 24 apart.
  • Sow seeds 1 inch (2.5cm) apart; later thin seedlings to 6 inches (15cm) apart; use the thinning in salads.


  • Seed germinates about 19 to 14 days at or near 70°F (21°C) but sometimes seed can take up to 2 weeks to germinate if the soil is cold.
  • Sow endive or escarole seed in the garden as early as four to six weeks before the average date of the last frost in spring.
  • Endive seed started indoors for transplanting out can be sown 8 to 10 weeks before the average last frost.
  • Sow endive seeds 1 to 2 inch (2.5-5 cm) apart; later thin seedlings to 6 to 9 inches (15-23 cm) apart. Sow seed ¼ inches (6 mm) deep.

Arugula or Rocket

  • The arugula seeds take five to seven days to germinate in the soil at 40 to 55°F, but at room temperature, around 70°F, the seeds will germinate in a few days.
  • Sow seeds 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) apart; later thin seedlings six inches (15 cm) apart and Sow seed ¼ inch (6 mm) deep.
  • Arugula seed germinates in 5 to 7 days at or near 60°F (7°C) but the seed will germinate in the soil as chilly as 40°F (4°C).
  • Keep the soil evenly moist until seeds germinate then maintain the soil moist until seedlings are well established.


  • Turnip seeds can germinate at a temperature as low as 40°F. Sow the seeds about 1 inch apart and cover them with a 1/4- to half-inch layer of soil.
  • Sow seed ½ (12 mm) inch deep and be sure to stamp the soil firmly in; turnips often fail to germinate when there is insufficient contact with the soil.
  • Sow seed 2 inches apart and later thin to 4 inches to 6 inches (10-15 cm) apart for large storage turnips, and 2 to 4 inches apart for greens.
  • The seeds should germinate in 3 to 10 days at an optimal temperature range of 70°F (21°C) or thereabouts; germination will take longer in colder soil.


  • Sorrel can be grown from seed sown in the garden as early as 2 weeks to 3 weeks before the average last frost date in spring.
  • Sow seeds for the sorrel plant in spring season when the soil has warmed up.
  • Sow sorrel seed half an inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. Thin successful seedlings from 12 to 18 inches apart when plants are 6 to 8 weeks old. Space rows inch 18 to 24 inches apart.


  • The soil temperature needs to be at least 25°C for the Tinda seeds to germinate.
  • The Tinda vegetable seed germination takes place within the first 6 to 8 days.
  • Sow the seeds on one side of the channel. And the seedlings after 15 days to maintain two/pit at 0.9 m spacing. The seed sowing to harvest time will be about 45 days.
  • Soak the Tinda seeds overnight. Sow 2 to 3 seeds at a depth of about an inch (2-3 cm) keep damp.

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  • Sow lentils in spring as early as two to three weeks before the average last frost date.
  • Lentils can be started indoors before transplanting to the garden; lentil seeds will germinate in ten days at 68°F.
  • Lentil is sown in the plot directly in seed holes in spring and is harvested in summer.

Guar or cluster beans

  • During the rainy season, seeds are sown 2 to 3 cm (1 in) deep on ridges and in furrows during summer months.
  • Guar must be planted when the soil temperature is above 70°F; the optimum soil temperature for germination is 86°F.
  • Complete guar sowing time from mid-July to mid-August. Sowing use row to row distance of 30 cm and sow seeds at depth of 2-3 cm.
  • For guar, sowing uses seed drill, Pora or Kera method.


  • The optimal temperature for basil seed germination will be 21°C (70°F).
  • Seeds should sprout in five to ten days and sow basil seeds one centimeter deep.
  • Basil seeds take between 8 and 14 days to germinate and emerge from the soil.
  • Basil seeds will germinate well as long as temperatures remain between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Lavender seeds can take as long as a month to germination process, although sometimes they’ll sprout in as little as 14 days. Help the germination process by placing seed trays in a warm spot about 70 degrees F is an ideal temperature.
  • Sow lavender seeds from February to July month on the surface of moist seed compost.
  • Lavender seed germinates most evenly if the seeds can be collected in the autumn and sown on the surface of a seed tray with bottom heat maintaining 4 to 10°C (40-50°F).
  • The seedlings will germinate in about 2 weeks and will take a while to look like lavender.

Cilantro or Coriander

  • Cilantro seeds germinate in about 7 to 10 days.
  • Seeds will germinate with soil temperatures of 55 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Cilantro plants can withstand temperatures down to freezing.
  • The Cilantro seeds will germinate within two or three weeks and quickly produce leafy growth.
  • Sow coriander in spring as early as 2 to 3 weeks after the last expected frost date.
  • Coriander is sown from late March until early September month.

That’s all about different types of vegetable seed germination process and sowing time.

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