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How to prechill your seeds

By: Garden Gate staff
Get a head start on starting seeds with this easy chilling method.

Sometimes prechilling the seeds can improve germination, especially when you have tough-to-start seeds like the lupine (Lupinus hybrid) here.

Though you can chill seeds by just placing the paper packet in the refrigerator, you’ll get better results if the seed is damp. Moisture helps prepare the seed for germination. For instance, these lupine seeds have a hard coat. So nick each one with nail clippers and soak them overnight to soften. Roll them into a damp paper towel so they stay moist, then place them in a plastic bag to chill in the refrigerator for seven days. Check the towel every two to three days for seeds starting to germinate. Plant those that are sprouted, like the seed in the inset photo above, then remoisten the paper towel. Discard any with mold forming.

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