Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Germinate Seeds the Paper Towel Way!!!

How many times have you bought a packet of seeds, spent an hour or so enthusiastically planting them in little pots, tended them lovingly for a couple of weeks only to be rewarded by 3 or 4 weak looking plants that die the minute they're transplanted??? Sound familiar? I know the scenario well and was put off gardening time and time again by the disappointment of seeds that either didn't germinate or that didn't survive transplanting.
I recently discovered the cunning but very easy way of germinating almost every seed you sow without a pot or soil in sight! How is this possible, I hear you ask.... Well, all you need is a roll of kitchen towel, a spray bottle of water, some seeds and a few small plastic bags (I use sandwich bags).

Once you've gathered everything you need you can begin. First, tear off 3 or 4 squares of paper towel and put them in a pile so you have one square of 3 or 4 layers thick. Using the spray bottle, spray the towel so that the whole pile becomes damp but not sopping wet. The towel mustn't disintegrate when you pick it up but it should feel well and truly damp.
Now comes the exciting part ...drum roll please ....
(We gardeners are SO easily pleased!)
Sprinkle a few seeds into your hand and scatter them across the damp surface of the paper towel.
Try and spread them out as evenly as you can and try to ensure that they don't touch each other -
This will make sense later on, believe me!
If your seeds require light to germinate (not many do but check first) then leave the towel lying flat open. However, if they need dark then carefully fold the paper towel lengthways to make a folded strip with all the seeds on the inside.
Make sure they are all covered well.
Now write the type of seed on one of the plastic bags in permanent ink and slide the folded towel into the bag.
Fold the top of the bag over and put it in a warm dark place.
I usually gather all the bags together with different seeds inside and put them all in a shoe box which I then put in my cupboard. You can get alot of little bags in one shoe box,
otherwise you'll end with coriander instead of carrots or pumpkin instead of peas!!!

And that's it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy (as my kids would say).
Give your seeds a day or two before you check them.
Depending on the type, they probably won't begin to germinate for 5-10 days but you need to ensure that the towel remains damp and doesn't dry out. If it feels dry, then just spritz it with your spray bottle.
Try it and let me know how you get on !!!!!

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