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Is it advantageous to germinate all your seeds in water till they sprout before planting in the soil? Or only some? If some, which ones and why?

I have seen people do this online to tomato seeds mainly... wondering if other seeds could gain from this treatment.

I had a dream last night where I received the idea that you actually gain MORE seeds than if you just sow directly into a seed bed. Germinating in the water has a higher success rate? Has my David Lynch inspired dream gotten it right? Is this true?

closed as too broad by J. Musser, Sue, Patrick B., kevinsky, Niall C. Mar 24 '15 at 0:46

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    I think this would be impossible for any one person to know this answer. How can all seeds be tested like this, there are too many. I have never germinated any seeds like this. I have soaked some seeds over night and they sprout faster than ones just put right into the soil. I can see where some seeds may like the treatment and some may drown. You can test them yourself, put some into water and some into soil and see what happens. – Lori Mar 22 '15 at 5:25
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    If you're looking for practicality, I recommend just keeping your soil warm, soaking before planting, and planting in loose, new, well-aerated soil. Less seeds seem to germinate in compact soil, and cold, cool, or old/used soil. My guess is that germinating in water gives the appearance of better results because you actually see them start to germinate. Kind of like rooting cuttings in water: it's actually more hassle, takes longer, depletes the plant's nutrients, and can be riskier, but you can see the moment it starts to work. So you know it works without as much faith first. – Shule Mar 24 '15 at 8:11
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Your dream left out the part about the initial root being rather fragile and prone to damage. So you may lose a good many from not surviving the transfer from sprouting to soil.

If you want absolute maximum number of plants from a number of seeds (well, without going off into tissue culture, which is the undisputed champion there) planting one seed each into tiny soil blocks is probably the best method, since each block either will or will not have a single plant (except for the tricky seeds that are really multiple seeds) in a format that is easily transplanted into a larger block or pot.

Most seeds are inexpensive enough that thinning is far more practical.

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