I planted a 72-spot tray with a variety of things, mostly herbs, some veggies. I've had only a handful of things germinate. About 10-12 of the peat pellets have sprouted. I'm concerned that I probably planted the seeds too deeply, so I'm wondering how I can fix this? The tray has been planted for about 2 weeks, perhaps a little more.

Is it likely that the ungerminated seeds are mouldy by this point? Should I leave them undisturbed in the environment they're in and keep hope that they'll pop up?

  • Environment: Basement, in my computer server room.
  • Temperature: 81F (held constant by environmental control equipment)
  • Relative humidity: 34% (but the plastic lid is on)
  • Lighting: Four 32-watt T8 fluorescent bulbs hanging about 3" over the tops of the seed trays.

Seeds planted:

  • Tomato
  • Basil
  • Kale
  • Fennel
  • Cucumber
  • Artichoke
  • Winter squash
  • others

For comparison, here is a different seed tray with some different stuff planted, but the seeds are nowhere near as deep; they are almost sitting on the surface. This second seed tray is in the exact same environment, the only major difference is the planting depth. Both trays have a wide variety of stuff in them.

(I have a web cam taking 1 picture of my seed tray every minute, to be compiled into a time-lapse video after I'm done growing stuff)

Taken at 2015-05-01 23:00 other tray #1

Taken at 2015-05-02 11:00 (12 hours later) other tray #2


1 Answer 1


Wait, or plant new seeds higher up (leave the ones below), or toss the pellets and start new ones with seeds higher up.

FWIW, in an earlier question on sprouting basil, particularly, I found some research that indicated variable (cooler in dark period) rather than steady temperatures and 16 (13?) rather than 24 hours of light were beneficial, at least for basil. Basil & Catnip Fail to Germinate

  • 1
    I will try moving the tray to a different location. Ironically, the basil is one of the few things with 100% germination.
    – William S.
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 4:40

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