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I bought some seed-starting contraptions from the home center and planted vegetable & herb seeds in them. That was on Sunday (four days ago). The packaging said that sprouts should emerge within 7 days. Things were starting to happen within two days, and as of this morning (Thursday 4/16), here's what's going on:

sprouts_1

sprouts_2

Is this normal, or are these seeds precocious for some reason? Or maybe I planted them too shallowly?

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Well, 'within 7 days' is exactly what some of them have done, so they are bang on schedule; it means during that time period, not at seven days, so it might be day two, three, four or whatever. It's fine, seeds are clearly healthy and keen to grow, the conditions are optimal for germination and that's a good thing. The time to worry is if nothing has germinated after two weeks...

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And, most seeds sprout according to temperature ( if damp). So your location was relatively warm , compared to the garden soil which may be about 60 F depending on depth and location. I used to sprout seeds in an oven that had a gas pilot light which kept the oven at about 90 F, most seeds were up in 48 hours. Caution: do not turn the oven on at this time.

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