While the Saturday6 was touring Chef’s Garden, Inc., Bob Jones, Sr. met us in the lab. This high-tech space is fit into a retired shipping container, but has some very high-tech stuff inside. One topic he spoke on was the germination testing they do on their seeds. Chef’s Garden is a business, after all, and poor germination can result in poor earnings from the greenhouse and the fields. The same is true in your garden.

In this short video you can see one of their lab-based germination tests while Bob talks about the importance of the length of the seed radical in judging overall seed health. It is of first importance that the seed germinates, but also important that the seeds are healthy enough to carry the plant to full growth.

Watch “Germination Testing at Chef’s Garden” – iPod Ready Video

Here is a close up photo of the germination test seen in the video.

Germination test at Chef's Garden, Inc.

Do it yourself!

Of course, you can do some quite similar germination testing in your own garden. it doesn’t take a fancy lab. As you may have seen before, you can place the seeds on a wet paper towel, folder half the towel over and place the entire pack in the fridge or on your kitchen counter. After a few days, depending on the germination time of the given seed, you will start to see something very similar to above.

If you test germinate 10 seeds from any given variety you can quickly gain a percentage of good seed in each batch i.e. 1 germinated seed = 10% germination rate, 2=20%, etc. If you have old seed lying about, you may want to test it before committing it to seed starter trays or your garden.

Years ago, I did this germination test with my young son as a home science project to give us something to do on a lazy day. You can see the results of that test in this blog post — The Seeds of Time. In this test I simply laid the seeds on some damp paper towel in a tray.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.