Eli5: why we need to plant seeds, but in nature they just grow where they fall?


Eli5: why we need to plant seeds, but in nature they just grow where they fall?

In: 28

In nature, the huge majority of seeds don’t germinate. That’s why plants create so many seeds, to swing the numbers in their favor. But by planting and caring for a seed, you can nearly guarantee that it will germinate and grow successfully.

A few reasons:

1) nature is playing a numbers game, most seeds will never grow or will be outcompeted and die young. We’re usually trying to make something orderly. We get greater predictability by ensuring as near to ideal growing conditions as possible and arranging them as we like can improve aesthetics, crop yield, make it easier to maintain and harvest fields, etc…etc…

2) fields and pots are much more controlled circumstances than nature. Nature will often provide some covering in the form of droppings, wind blowing detritus over the seeds, animal action packing the seeds down, rain sinking them in, etc…. Which are often limited or removed in manmade locations.

3) a lot of the ornamental and agricultural plants we use do not and have never existed as part of nature. They were created by human selection and that may or may not have impacted their ability to grow naturally. An extreme example would be fruit trees, many of which are actually cloned by taking cuttings rather than planted from seed because planting from seed would result in unpredictable and often unpalatable fruit.

If you leave it to nature, it won’t produce as much as we like it to. That’s how farming was invented. Humans (and our ape ancestors) had been *gathering* wild plants to eat for millions of years. But at some point, someone had the idea “y’know, if we took the seeds and planted them ourselves we could grow more and in a more convenient location than the plants would naturally.”

That’s farming, baby.

You need to plant seeds *of the specific plant you want*, and *where you want it*.

In nature, the plants which are already native to your environment will successfully grow in the places that are the most viable for them.

Supposedly every tree that you see that grew to a seed bearing age is a 1 in a billion chance.