How to Grow Plants From Seeds – Germinating Seeds

by Lettuce Be | Last Updated:

Our goal in this article is to show you when and how we like to germinate seeds. In this comparison, we will compare two methods: the paper towel method and germinating seeds in soil method. We will give you some helpful tips we have learned along the way. You should check out the tips since there is one thing you shouldn’t copy from the nurseries!

Seed Germination On Paper Towels

seed germinationAn airtight medium or seed containers with a plastic or glass lid is all you need. It could be potted plastic, plastic flats, peat pots, yogurt cups, or even eggshells. Clear ones are easier to see through, but not necessary since seeds don’t need light to send out roots. Place a piece of paper towel on the bottom of the container, add water until the paper towel is thoroughly moist, but without puddles. This will ensure that you control the moisture content and avoid plant diseases.

Then sprinkle seeds in groups onto the damp paper towel, pop the lid back on, and make a mental note which seed is which, especially if you have vegetable seeds of the same group, for example, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

This is extremely important since a closed container will get a really hot temperature, and all the seeds in the container would die in the heat. Keep an eye on them the next day. Some types of seeds will germinate overnight, and others can take up to a week. Vegetables such as daikon radish, lettuce, and all cabbage-related seeds germinate quickly.

Onions, tomatoes, beets, squash, peppers, and fennel will germinate the quickest, taking about three days. Pepper, eggplant, fennel, and celery, not so much, may need more than five days to germinate.

Seed Germination In Pots

Ready With Pots and Potting Soil

If you see roots starting to emerge, you should plant them right away. If they get too long, it is impossible to separate the paper towel from the roots, so plant the paper towel for good measure! Even though it seems like it would be hard to pick up a tiny seed, it is quite easy with a toothpick or with your fingers.

Plant At The Right Depth

It is best to plant your seeds at a depth of 1 to 2 seed sizes. A shallow depth is perfect for smaller seeds while a little bit of depth is best for larger seeds. After planting the seeds, you should gently mist them daily for the first week.

The biggest advantage of this method is that the plants from seeds get full sun to grow healthy and strong. They just need a lot of water until the soil is saturated. Once the leaves appear, we will need a whole lot more sunlight for them to grow quickly.

Germination On Paper Towel Vs Germination on Planting Mix

The process of pre-sprouting seeds in pots with holes or seed trays with drainage holes is relatively straightforward. Place some seeds lightly into the pot, cover the soil surface with a thin layer, and water thoroughly. Then sit back as your seeds begin to grow.

Getting started with seeds on a paper towel is less stressful and less time-consuming than using quality soil. Here’s why.

Pros Of Germinating Seeds On Paper Towels

Great Success Rate

Why do you think there are only three plants that survive after you scatter 300 seeds from a seed packet? Because the soil tends to dry out while the paper towel maintains consistent moisture levels. If we are sprouting seeds on paper towels, we will need to sow 12 seeds if we want to grow 10 broccoli plants, because almost all of the seeds will germinate. With fresh seeds from a quality seed company, germination is almost 100%!

Testing Old or New Seeds

A germinating seed on a paper towel will ensure you have seeds that are still viable if they are a few years old. Using this technique, we can grow healthy plants from cabbage or tomato seeds that are well over 5 years old. Stored correctly, seeds will last quite a long time. We also use this method to determine if new garden seeds are healthy.

Faster Growth

A cabbage seed can take 2-3 times longer to sprout if sown directly in the preferred type of soil as compared to if it is sown on a paper towel and grow leaves in a couple of days.

Cons Of Germinating Seeds On Paper Towels

The germinated seed must be planted in fresh soil. Therefore, if you want to plant a full field of flowers or vegetables, this method is not feasible.

Seeing the pros and cons, it is easy to see which method is best for the home gardener!

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