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So, again being a newb as I am...

I planted some spinach seeds in these black plastic pots that I transplanted other plants from. There is a good 3 inches of height in the planter with no soil. It's been over 10 days at this point, and I've seen nothing make its way up.

Could this be happening because the seeds aren't getting enough light because they were planted too shallow in the pot? For more context, I've got another container with spinach right next to these that are doing just fine.

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That seems very unlikely. Seeds actually don't generally need that much light to sprout. They need warmth and moisture. If they've been on your deck as they are now, they are almost certainly getting enough light. And, actually, 10 days isn't that long to wait for spinach to sprout. It tends to take a bit longer than some of the other garden seeds. I'm impressed that you have one pot that is already sprouting. That said, there are a few things which could cause them to take longer than your other pot:

  • Did you plant them at the same depth under the soil? If they are buried deeper in the soil, they will take longer to emerge.
  • Are the seeds from the same packet? If you mixed seeds from different packets, it could be that some are fresher or have better viability than the others. If you still have extra seeds from the packet, you can test their viability by placing a few in a wet paper towel and then keeping them in the towel in a ziplock bag. Do they all spout or do you have a high number that do not sprout?
  • Are the pots kept at the same temperature/moisture level? I know you said the pot that sprouted is next to these, but is it possible that it has a spot that gets a little more sunlight or is a little closer to a source of heat (the house, a dryer vent, etc.)? Is it getting a different amount of water than these two?
  • Did you pre-treat any of the seeds? Spinach has a very thick seed coat, which is why it tends to take a bit longer than other seeds to sprout. People sometimes soak the seeds before planting to help the seed coat split easier. If you soaked some but not all of your seeds, this could explain why some sprouted earlier.
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    Ha! I already had an answer written, but it was almost identical to this one. +1 – J. Musser Sep 12 '14 at 3:59

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