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Fenugreek Seed Germination, Time, Process (Methi)

Introduction to Fenugreek seed germination process

Fenugreek  (Trigonella  foenum-graecum  L.) is an annual legume species that used different purposes such as medicine,  food,  coffee, insect control, perfume, and fodder in many countries. Fenugreek is also known as Methi, is credited with having strong blood and lymphatic cleansing properties. For different preparations, Fenugreek is soaked, germinated, or boiled in all parts of the world. The seed germination and seedling properties of Fenugreek were affected by the water regimes.  As the temperature increased,  seed germination and seedling properties of  Fenugreek were affected positively compared to the lower temperatures. Sprouted Fenugreek seeds have amazing benefits on the metabolic diseases and use these seeds as a large number of nutraceuticals. In this article we also discussed below topics;

  • Process of growing Fenugreek from seed
  • Time to take Fenugreek seeds take to germinate
  • How do you germinate Fenugreek seeds
  • Fenugreek seed germination temperature
  • Process for germinating Fenugreek seeds
  • How do you grow Fenugreek from seed
  • Fenugreek seeds germination period
  • Tips for Fenugreek seeds germination
  • Germinate Fenugreek seeds indoors
  • Paper towel germination method for growing Fenugreek

A step by step guide to Fenugreek seed germination

The Fenugreek plant can grow to a height of about 60 cm. The plant produces yellow flowers that form beans containing Fenugreek seeds and the Fenugreek grows very quickly. Growing Fenugreek is very easy, whether you live in a warm climate or cool, both on grounds or in containers. You can grow it indoors on windowsills in small pots. You can plant it in your balcony vegetable garden or patio, terrace, and rooftop with lettuce, spinach, and other greens.

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A guide to growing Fenugreek from seed.
A guide to growing Fenugreek from seed.

Soil requirement for growing Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds grow in the sand- to clay-type soil and good draining soil is the best choice for this herb. Mix well-aged compost into the soil to provide slow-release nutrients to the plant roots. Do not add nitrogen fertilizer, as the plant will collect the nitrogen from the air and fix it into the soil. Check the soil temperature range with a thermometer before planting. Fenugreek seeds need a soil temperature of at least 15°C. Colder soil temperatures retard the growth of the Fenugreek seeds.

Get Fenugreek seeds

Before you can grow Fenugreek for yourself, you will want to obtain the seeds from which the plants grow. If you know someone who already grows this herb, but most likely you will need to buy some. Because Fenugreek is used in Indian curries and homeopathic medicine, you can try an Indian grocery store or an herb shop.

Fenugreek seeds are known for its pleasantly bitter, slightly sweet seeds. The seeds are obtainable in any form whether whole or ground form is used to flavor many foods mostly curry powders, teas, and spice blend. This seed has a central hard and yellow embryo which is surrounded by a corneous and comparatively large layer of white and semi-transparent endosperm.

When to plant Fenugreek seeds

Sow Fenugreek from late spring to late summer, whenever a bed will be unused for more than 8 weeks. Direct seed into the soil about 4 inches apart in all directions.

Fenugreek seeds have a tough outer coat that wants to be softened before planting. Soak the seeds for about 12 hours in warm not hot water. Drain and also replace the water with warm water every 2 hours. Create rows 4 inches apart with about 1/4-inch deep trenches in the prepared soil. Spread the seeds in the trench and then cover with soil.

You may choose to soak the seeds in tap water for 12 to 24 hours. Plant seeds in the soil, rich with compost material.  Seed them densely, not in rows. The seeds will germinate in 1 to 3 days and are ready to eat within just a few days if you’re looking to add nutrient-dense Fenugreek micro-greens to your diet.

Fenugreek seed sowing

First, you have to buy the best quality of Fenugreek seeds. To grow Fenugreek plants, first, buy Fenugreek seeds. The plant does not like to be transplanted after germination, and then the Fenugreek seeds should be sown at the final place. Buy good quality Fenugreek seeds from a garden shop or use the seeds from your previous crop. Also, buy Fenugreek seeds from the grocery shop, which grow well.

Fenugreek hates to be transplanted. Leave 2 inches of space for each plant while sowing Fenugreek seeds. They’ll sprout quickly, and you’ll see seedlings just within 2 to 5 days.

Buy the best quality Fenugreek seeds from the garden center or online. You can buy it from grocery stores or spice shops as its seeds are sold as a spice but beware of poor germination rates.

Fenugreek seeds must be sown directly into the soil with not more than 0.5cms deep and 20cms apart. Though the plant leaves grow bushy, the roots are very fragile and shallow. Thus, the spacing will never be a problem. Just ensure you don’t sow many seeds making the pot messy.

Sow seeds about 5 mm deep and 50 mm apart in straight line trenches for seed sowing. Instead of sowing in trenches, you can just sprinkle the seeds on the bed and then cover with soil.

Water well and keep soil well-moistened and seeds will germinate in 3-5 days. In the areas of frost, it can be started indoors 5 weeks before the last frost of the season. The seedlings can be transplanted outdoors when the soil temperature range is around 15°C.

Fenugreek seed sprouts at home

Started with a ¼ pound of certified organic Fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek sprouts are healthy for the digestive system, as they lubricate the intestines. They help with lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar levels, and also good for asthma and sinus problems.

For sprouting use glass jars that can be placed on a 45-degree angle, found them at a local store. Also found some cheesecloth that cut into pieces to cover the mouth of the jar, holding it on the jar with a rubber band.

Keep the soil moist while the Fenugreek seeds germinate, which occurs in 7 to 10 days. Thin the seedlings to about 4 inches apart when the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall. The extra Fenugreek seedlings do not survive to transplant, however, they can be tossed in a salad for consumption.

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Fenugreek seed sprouting at home.
Fenugreek seed sprouting at home.

Let a tablespoon of Fenugreek seeds soak overnight, and then fill the jar about halfway full with spring water. The mouth of the jar must be pointed up and covered with cheesecloth. In the morning drain the jar and rinse the Fenugreek seeds. Then place the mouth of the jar in the 45-degree angle position on a shelf, shaded from the light somewhat.

Rinse my Fenugreek sprouts 3 times a day, filling the jar half full with spring water and draining it out by tipping on end to drain in the sink for a few moments. Repeat this for three days, but for the last half of the third day or when the sprouts are 1 ½ to 2 inches long place the jar of Fenugreek sprouts next to a strong light source, to green up the Fenugreek. Keep the room temperature between 21 to 26°C and the temperature can be as low as 15°C with slower growth as a result.

After 3 days the sprouts are finished, you can let them go 4 days but find that they develop a bitter taste. One tablespoon of Fenugreek seeds produces 1 ½ cups of sprouts. Sprouts are easy to grow and are perfect for beginners to grow, and they are healthy for you.

Soaking and germination of Fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek seeds in 8 portions of 50g each were soaked in 70% ethanol solution for 15minutes at room temperature for disinfection. Soaked Fenugreek seeds were then washed with tap water and distilled water. Washed Fenugreek seeds were then soaked in distilled water (1:10 w/v) for 12h at room temperature. The presoaked seeds were again washed in distilled water and kept for seed germination on flat trays lined with a moist paper towel. The trays covered with aluminum foil for dark germination. The germinating seeds were kept moist with distilled water and germinated for about 7days. Sprouted seeds after each day starting from the first day were frozen to stop the further germination process.

Process of Fenugreek seed germination;

  • To start your sprouts, you will want to soak seeds in a bowl of cool water for 6 or more hours, or overnight, making certain that seeds are submersed and not floating on top of the water. This will soften the seed coat and promote seed germination. After seed soaking, thoroughly drain off all water. It is wise to rinse Fenugreek seeds immediately after soaking to clean them and wash away an extraneous matter, and again drain off all excess water.
  • Rinse seeds with cool, clean water. Carefully drain off all water so seeds at bottom of sprouted are not covered with water.
  • Repeat this process of rinsing with cool water and draining 3 to 4 times per day as your seeds mature and even as you begin to harvest and consume them. As your sprouts grow, they must receive good air circulation.
  • Once sprouts have reached a desirable state for consumption, usually around 3 to 6 days after germinating for Fenugreek, they can be then transferred out of sprouted and located under refrigeration to prolong their lifespan. This is not necessary but will slow down the growth procedure and give you a larger window to eat your sprouts. Sprouts not be allowed to dry out, as they can quickly lose their vitality and nutritional content. Clean sprouted thoroughly after use.
  • Ideally, Fenugreek must be spaced at about 10cm apart and grown in an area that has a lot of sunlight and well-drained soil that is rich and slightly acidic to neutral pH level 6 to 7. Maintain the soil moist but do not overwater.
  • Warm and hot temperatures are required for the seeds of Fenugreek to germinate and grow properly. Though it can take a little chilly weather there is always a danger of pod drying. Large-leaved Fenugreek dies in cold weather but the smaller leaves continue to grow.

Water the Fenugreek seeds

For the Fenugreek seeds to germinate (that is, begin to sprout), you will have to water them in the soil. Make sure that the soil is evenly moist and the excess water should quickly drain away, but you will want to continue to keep it well-moistened over the coming days. Sometime between the third and fifth days, they must start to bud.

Because of the rainy environment that Fenugreek adapted to, it’s advised that you keep a steady slow drip watering method instead of pouring water on the surface periodically. Not only will this make water delivery constant and even, but it also allows the water to penetrate the soil deeper and more effectively.

The spacing of Fenugreek seed/Fenugreek plant spacing

Seeds are sown at a spacing of about 20 X 15 cm. Fenugreek seeds must be sown directly into the soil with not more than 0.5cms deep and 20cms apart. Though the leaves grow bushy, the roots are fragile and shallow. So, the spacing will never be a problem. Just ensure you don’t sow many seeds making the pot messy.

Fenugreek plant care

Fenugreek is usually pest-free. Though, damp soil can cause the roots to rot. After sowing the seeds, care must be taken to avoid birds eating the seeds digging into your pot or container. Use a net to prevent bird attacks.

Fenugreek seed Germination in a paper towel

Paper towels, filter paper, or even newspaper provides a good medium for germinating seeds. They are pathogen-free and make it easy to control the moisture content for proper seed germination.

To use this paper towels method;

  • Tear a paper towel in half and moisten one of the halves. Place 4 or 5 seeds on half of the paper and fold the other half over the seeds.
  • Blow open a clear, sandwich size zip-close bag and place the paper with seeds inside and reseal the bag.
  • Then, set the bag anywhere out of direct sunlight that stays at room temperature. The bag acts as a miniature greenhouse that retains heat and moisture. You should observe seeds sprouting in about 4 to 6 days.
  • The main drawback to the paper towel method is that the delicate, sprouted seeds must be transplanted manually to soil or another moisture-holding medium such as vermiculite. The main root is delicate and should not be touched. Use tweezers on the seed body when moving them to moist soil.
  • Do not push the seed into the garden soil. Instead, make a hole in the soil for the entire root, hold it in place, and push soil over it. If the seed is showing true leaves, make sure those remain above the soil. In a few weeks, the seedlings must be ready for outdoor planting if the weather has warmed up.

Harvesting Fenugreek seeds

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Harvesting of Fenugreek seed.
Harvesting of Fenugreek seed.
  • The plants will produce beans containing seeds. If you want to make Fenugreek seeds, continue feeding and watering till the Fenugreek plants start to die.
  • Collect the seed pods and thresh them to extract the seeds. Leave the Fenugreek seeds in the sun to dry.
  • Save the pods until you sow the Fenugreek seeds next time.
  • Store the Fenugreek seeds in an air-tight container and keep in a dry and dark spot.

Commonly asked questions about growing Fenugreek

How does a Fenugreek seed look like?

Fenugreek plant is the small stony seeds from the pod of a bean-like plant. The Fenugreek seeds are hard, yellowish-brown, and angular. Some are oblong, some rhombic, other virtually cubic, with a side of about 1/8 inches.

How many days does Fenugreek take to grow?

It takes Fenugreek 3 to 5 days to germinate (sprout) and about 2-3 weeks before it is ready to be harvested, sometimes longer depending on the weather.

What is the seed rate of Fenugreek per acre?

Well, it depends on the type of sowing, variety of fenugreek seed, however, on an average, a Fenugreek seed rate of 10 to 12 kg per acre is preferred.

How tall does Fenugreek grow?

Fenugreek plant is a tender annual that is a member of the legume family. This plant can grow up to 2 feet in height from a single hollow hairy stem, with stems that branch at the base.

Where can I apply this seed germination information of Fenugreek?

This information is useful for growing fenugreek from seed in pots, containers, indoors,   terrace, balcony garden, backyards even in the Polyhouse.

Is Fenugreek a perennial?

Fenugreek’s tidy, upright habit and rounded, blue-green leaves make this herb quite attractive as an addition to perennial gardens and border plantings. Fenugreek plant is a tender annual with lightly hairy, wiry, hollow stems and has a delicate, slender appearance.

Conclusion of Fenugreek seed germination process

Germinating fenugreek seed is a very easy task and one may try this at home for their kitchen garden. You may also like the Basil Pests and Diseases, Control Methods.


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