Moisten a paper towel or paper coffee filter but don't leave it dripping wet. Space out your seeds a little bit on the surface and then fold it up and put it in a baggie. Cheap Baggie brand will do. Do leave the baggie open at the top to allow a little air flow. Place the baggie in a warm place (not over 75 degrees or so) but not in the sun. If your seed needs to be stratified (needing a cold spell), you can put it in the refrigerator for a few weeks (or however long the seed needs). Check on the baggie every couple of days to make sure it's not too dry and to check on the status of germination. You can plant in soil once you see some germination. You may not see any germination on seeds that are being stratified until they come out of the refrigerator and are planted in soil. It's just that the stratified seeds need a cold spell to break dormancy.
I sow all my seeds this way with excellent results. However, I do disagree with the following in quotes.
CindyMzone5 wrote: Do leave the baggie open at the top to allow a little air flow.
Instead, zip the baggie to 1/2" from the end. Blow into the bag and quickly zip it up. It will remain like a balloon if the tracks are sealed correctly. This prevents the plastic from laying on the seed package. It will also prevent the seeds from drying out.
Perhaps I should have modified "leave the baggie open at the top" to "Fold the Baggie several times so that evaporation of water from the towel is inhibited, yet leaving ample access to air to insure aerobic conditions." Deno warns that Ziploc bags (and other PE bags) of thicker film are permeable to oxygen but not water, which could inhibit aerobic conditions. Up to 20 paper towel packets of seeds can be stored in one Baggie. After a couple of weeks in the fridge, I start checking seeds. Checking once a week, I can also keep an eye on moisture levels.
I started a lot of seeds last year, but planting them in soil right in the baggies. By the time the seedlings reached the top of the baggie, they were big enough to transplant into pots. It saved a lot of space for me.
I didn't allow for drainage. When I soak my seeds overnight, I only use a couple of ounces of water. Then I dump seeds water and all right into the soil in the baggie. Then I seal it and put it in a warm spot, or under lights depending on the seed.It was so easy I will never start them any other way. It worked for everything I started.
Hope you like it. Linda
The beauty of starting seeds Deno's way is there is no wasted seeds. You sow only what you need and a few extra.
Last winter, I tested seeds that were from 2002 and had much better germination count using the paper towel method. On tiny seeds, I used dampened fine peatmoss in the baggie and mixed the seeds in it. Once sprouting, I placed the peatmoss/seed mix on the surface of a seeding pan where they continued to grow. Worked great with Delosperma seeds (iceplants) Needless to say, I will not sow seeds directly in a sowing tray of dirt.
I don't put more than 5 paper towel seed bags in one baggie. Nor have I had any problems with the lack of aerobic conditions. I allow the seeds to germinate in the paper towel. Once germinated, I will transplant them to a seeding pan with soil and allow them to grow. I space them 1" apart.
Below is my bee pollinated Daylily seeds. Started on Sept 30, 09 and stratifyed in fridge for 3 weeks in the kitchen towel/baggie, then placed on my East window sill where it was about 50 degrees. Two germinated on Oct 22, the other on Oct 27. I now have 2 Daylilies growing in their 3" pot under lights. The third was an albino which did not survive once it used up the food stored in the seed.
Edited to add that the photo was taken just prior to replanting in seed mix. I used a tweezer and carefully guided the root into a premade hole in the mix.
My old Hibiscus seeds sprouted in 2 days after nicking and soaking first. Amazing!!
Have plenty more seed packages in my fridge that I am waiting on. This is the only way to go!!
The only time I had problems with rootlets growing into the kitchen paper was when I didn't catch the germination early. With those I just tore the paper around the roots and planted the sprouted seed with the paper. The sprouted seeds in the photo above didn't grow into the paper.
Ibarto, I like your fuss free method and want to try it too. Did you use seed starting potting mix?
Blomma, I haven't learned what folks mean when they say peat moss, much less fine peat moss. The only peat moss I can find around here is stringy and it's usually found in the area where orchid supplies are kept. What am I missing?
Deebie, That sounds like spaghnum moss that you are seeing with the orchid supplies. Regular peat moss is usually in big bales, like the potting soils.
I like to use 3 b professional potting mix because it is so light, but I have used regular organic potting soil too. If I can find my pictures I will post some for you.
It works so well for me, that I won't germinate them any other way now.
Deebie, yes it sound like spaghnum moss. Peat moss comes fine, and rougher cut. The fine is usually offered in smaller bag. Walmart used to carry it. However privately owned nurseries or garden centers may.
Peat moss sold in bales are cut in larger pieces and not as fine. However, since it is easier to find, you can still use it. Although it is rougher cut, there are parts that are fine also. You can even make it finer by rubbing it between your hands or against a brick. That is what I do.
If you prefer a mix in baggies to start seeds in, I recommend peat moss over potting mix. To use, wet the peat moss in a bowl, when it is soaked, pick up a handful and squeeze as much water from it as you can. The moisture that is left in the peat moss is perfect for seeds to germinate in.
OK, I get it. I always wondered if there was a difference in the peat in the smaller bags as opposed to the ones in the bales. I did get a large bag on clearance at Wal-Mart this past summer, but I think it has fertilizer in it. That can't be good for seedlings. Maybe I'll stop by Lowe's tomorrow and get one of their small bags. Wal-Mart still has christmas clearance items in their gardening section, so there is not hope of finding any there. I'm so excited. Thanks for the clarification.
You are welcome Deebie. Another difference from small bags is that bales are for yard work. Bales expand upon opening since they are compressed for volume use.
I have never read of bales containing fertilizer. If it does, should state it on the bag. I got mine from Walmart also and use it for tiny seeds once I rub it between my hands. Never saw a reference to fertilizer on it. Can't find the finer cut in small bags. We have no Lowes here, just Home Depot.
Yep, the clearance sales are on in Walmart. Gardening stuff won't come out until March, I think. I used get all my Christmas decorations and paper after the holidays to use the following year.
I can't believe I passed up a bale of peat moss for this bag with the fertilizer in it when they were both on clearance. I was thinking in terms of storage space, not the contents. I learned about the fertilizer dilemna on another forum after I bought it.
The rootlets may not stick to the coffee filters but filters are harder to wet and squeeze moisture out of. Also not as soft as kitchen towels when wet. No big deal to tear around the rootlets if they do grow into the paper towels.
Deebie I doubt that the fertilizer in the peat moss will hurt the seeds. May even be beneficial since peat moss contain no plant nutrients.
thanks linda, im going to try that, these are hardy to zone 5 i would love to get some more of them going. so i can share them. i only have 2 and don,t know where i got those. ill let you know how the seed do.
thanks blomma, thats good to know. i got myself in a mess last night. if not for my dh i would be outside pulling roses out and putting new one in.ive had him for over 40 years he is one good man.and i am one crazy old lady. thank god it wasn,t so cold today. you are all so nice to me thank you so much for your help.
I've used toilet paper instead of paper towels. The tiny roots will stick to it, but it's really easy to tear the whole little section apart with the seedling attached. It also provides a kind of "base" to the seedling when I'm transplanting
Hey. I'm looking for some feedback from some experienced seed germinators. I'm working on a project as a student that involves a flat packaged polyethylene container that is designed to function first as a greenhouse and second as a planter, which eventually leads to hardening and transplanting. My blog is http://theopenlair.blogspot.com/
I would appreciate any feedback. Please check it out. My containers for the germination that also change into the pot are designed to be flat packed so that you can easily store them away without all the bulk and clutter.
Very interesting concept. Reuse of all of the plastic used for starting/growing seeds and plants is always a consideration. Folding flat is a good idea too. Do consider though that some seeds need light to germinate. The packets to fold up neatly though during germination.
Yes. I was considering making a clear top and also one with diffused light for a variety of germinating needs. I have only been working with herbs though, so I'm not familiar with the dimmer light germination.