From Grass to Garden:
A Guest Post from a Green Thumbed Son
Post I: Quickly Germinate Seeds
This Paper Towel method of germinating seeds has served me well since I started using it, with most if not all seeds sprouting.
- Zip Lock Bags
- Paper Towels
If starting multiple different types of seeds, I recommend starting by labeling the bags with a permanent marker since it gets busy quickly. Personally I give each species a number and store which is which on my phone, I consider this easier than trying to fit the full name on a zip lock bag.
Once your organized take a sheet of paper towel run it under hot water, and wring it out so it's only mildly damp. If your unsure, wring it out a little more, best to be a little on the drier side, than the opposite. I've had them more on the damp side and was left with rotted seeds as my prize.
From here evenly scatter your seeds around the paper towel.
Now fold in half, or quarters, or into origami. Making sure that the seeds are surrounded by the damp paper towel.
And zip it up in its predetermined ziplock home.
Now dependent on what type of plant you're starting, some seeds need light to germinate, while others need complete darkness, and some thrive with no heat source, while others need heat to germinate efficiently.
The majority of vegetables I germinate require complete darkness with no heat.
These include but aren't limited to,
- Most Squash (Cocozelle, Scallop, Butternut)
- Swiss Chard
- Walking Stick Cabbage
- Gourds (Snake, Dragon)
- Some Peppers*
These I place in a rarely used wood cupboard, and leave them untouched for 2-5 days to germinate away.
The plants that I've found need warmth to germinate include but aren't limited to,
- Acorn, Straightneck Squash
- Cubanelle Pepper
I place these under a heat lamp double wrapped in a black trash bag to block out light but still absorb heat.
I have not needed to germinate any seeds that require light. However some types of lettuce need light to germinate, be sure to check the package your seeds came in.
Now 2-5 days later you get to marvel at the sprouts that required little else than a tiny bit of water and time.
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