Why didn’t some of the seeds I tested germinate?

By Grant Woods,

  Filed under:

← Grant's AnswersFood Plots
Hello again,

(Sorry asking so many questions) so I purchased some soybean seeds recently and I wanted to make sure they worked so I put some of the seeds in a little tray with some dirt from the garden, put a lamp up (to simulate the sun) and watered them to see how the germination rate was. I was a little surprised that they were not sprouting after seven days so I decided to dig up the seeds and see what was wrong (I planted the seeds 1/2 inch deep). When I dug them up they had just turned into mush. I had also planted some normal garden bush beans (in the same soil) to compare. 3 of the 4 bush bean seeds came up and the other one turned into mush to so I tried more of the soybean seeds but I could not get them to even sprout. So I am wondering if its just a dead package of soybean seeds? or if its because I need to inoculate them?
Thanks for your thoughts on this,


I’m proud of you for testing the germination rate before planting the seeds!  

There are a number of reasons why the soybeans you planted may not have germinated.  Soybeans need the soil temperature to be at least 60 degrees to germinate.  If the soil is cooler than 60 degrees the beans may simply soak up moisture and turn to mush.  

When I test soybean seed germination rates I simply place a paper towel on a plate and soak it with warm water.  I then put the seeds on the towel and add a bit more warm water.  I place the plate in a south or west window so it will receive plenty of sun.  I add warm water daily to replace what’s evaporated or been used by the seeds.

I usually place seeds in rows of 10 so it’s easy to determine the percent that germinated.  Soybeans don’t hold germination rates as well as hard seed like clover or corn.

Give this technique a try and hopefully the results will be better!

Enjoy creation,


February 12, 2016