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I'm just getting into gardening, and while the first round of seeds I planted a couple months ago mostly germinated, the second round I planted two weeks ago have produced almost nothing. I start them off them indoors as it's too cold outside this time of year. I water daily, as the soil goes dry by the end of the day (they're near a radiator). One thing I noticed is that the soil appears to have gone kind of crusty and hard, unlike the first round. Could the choice of potting soil cause this problem?

Whatever it is, any recommendations on how I might save them?

Some of these I think are hard to grow, like aubergine, asparagus, rhubarb, but most are easier, like herbs and strawberry.

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  • Asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberries are normally grown from sets / plants.. It will take roughly a couple years longer to get production from seeds. Apr 10 at 15:21
  • I knew that about asparagus and rhubarb, but not strawberries. I'm totally fine with waiting. For comparison, I'm also raising trees which take several years.
    – moinudin
    Apr 10 at 15:41
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If your soil is marked for seed germination or even regular potting soil you should be ok. Most likely it is the choice of location to germinate. An alternative would be to research each seed type carefully and determine if the seed needs light to germinate and if so be prepared to move between dark and light as needed. Find a location in your living space that maintains a moderate temperature say 20-22 degrees C (even if totally dark such as a cupboard), use moist but not wet soil, sow seeds and enclose in a plastic bag to keep the moisture in and check daily for germination. Some seeds require hotter conditions and if they don't get it the germination might take longer or not happen at all. Once germination has happened move to the light where the temperature can be a bit cooler. Just get as close to ideal conditions as you can. Above all, be patient.

Maintaining humidity is important. The risk is that seeds may germinate but then dry out - and at that point nothing will appear.

Update: Once sown in moist soil and in plastic bags it should not be necessary to water at all until you open them up to the light.

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  • Thanks! I put them in plastic bags in the cupboard to see how that goes. I checked and none of the seeds are on the list of "needs light". How often should I water them while in bags like this? I presume less frequently?
    – moinudin
    Apr 9 at 11:52
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    As long as they are in closed bags, there’s no evaporation and so no need to water.
    – Stephie
    Apr 9 at 16:27
  • I wasn't able to fully seal them as the ziploc bags I used were a tiny bit too small. I ordered some larger ones, will see how they work. Thanks for the help!
    – moinudin
    Apr 10 at 15:47
  • It sounds like your pots are a bit too big. I regularly germinate 20-30 seeds in a 3.5" pot and I can get two of these pots side-by-side in one ziploc bag. My goal is to get them germinated and then prick them out into larger pots once the true leaves are showing. Apr 10 at 16:55

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