Germinating Seeds Made Easy
The key to germinating seeds and getting seeds to sprout is…keeping them warm…around 60 °F (15.5 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C). Do this and most seeds will begin to develop in a couple of days. Tomatoes, bell peppers, and a few other plants can take 5 to 10 days. Cucumbers and Zucchini, to name a few, will sprout much quicker.
If the seeds get a little cooler, the germination process gets longer. Poor or no germination will happen if the temperature gets below 50 °F (10 °C).
You can buy a seed starter kit and follow the directions. Or, you can try this:
Use a discarded wash cloth (You can also use a paper towel.). Soak the cloth with warm water, lay it flat, evenly spread the seeds on one half of it, fold it up several times with the seeds inside, place it on a tray or a plastic sheet, and put it on a heating pad…on the lowest setting. (We are not roasting them…just keeping them cozy warm.) Even though the air temperature indoors may be in the recommended range, water evaporation can cool the seeds too much.
The trick is to keep the wash cloth moist but not soaking wet (too much moisture can rot the seedlings). Lay a plastic sheet on top to help keep the wash clothes moist and warm.
Start checking the seeds regularly (maybe every day or two) and pick out the ones that have at least 1/8” to 1/4″ seedlings for transplanting into starter pots. Creative folks with a lot of patience may want to try their hand at making their own Homemade Biodegradable Plant Pots. If the seedlings get too long, they will try to take root in the wash cloth. It happens to me all the time.
I germinate ~25% more seeds than I need. When I try germinating some vegetables seeds, such as bell peppers, I may use twice as many seeds as I need since they are much harder to sprout. Some germinating seeds will just not sprout and, some young plants may not survive the transplanting process.
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So, don’t procrastinate…germinate!