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How Nail Clippers Can Give You A Fuller Garden This Spring
Most seeds germinate on their own, but some need specific environmental conditions to be met first. You can help them get going by using nail clippers to “scarify” their shells.
Scarification is when the seed coat is weakened, allowing water in to help germinate the seed embryo, which can happen naturally by environmental action and ingestion by animals.
Seeds that need to be scarified usually have a thick, smooth shell that’s too hard to crack with your fingers. These seeds struggle to absorb water unless their shell is weakened.
Hard-to-start seeds like morning glories, sweet peas, nasturtiums, moonflowers, alliums, spinach, and some beans have physically dormant seeds that can benefit from scarification.
To find out if your seeds need scarifying before planting them, soak one in water for several hours. If it doesn’t swell, it means water is not being absorbed through the shell.
To scarify your seeds with a nail clipper, lightly clip the side of the shell to expose the embryo, taking care not to cut too deeply and damage it, then plant and water the seeds.
Artificially scarifying seeds encourages a fuller garden, as it increases the number of seeds germinating. These seeds also set roots and grow faster than
non-scarified seeds.