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Seed Germination: question about paper towel method

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pgt
Chalfont, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 22, 2009
8:03 PM

Post #6448621

I germinated some Lupine "The Governor" using the damp paper towel in a baggie method. Do I need to continue to grow them inside, or will they be okay if I plant them in the ground outside? At night it still gets down in the 40's, but it's been in the 60's and 70's during the day, and is supposed to get up to 80 this weekend.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

April 26, 2009
6:31 AM

Post #6464222

Hi, I have germinated all my perennials with the paper towel method this year with success. It beats sowing in soil.

What I do is as soon as I see a tiny root emerge, I plant the sprouting seed in a seeding flat, spacing 1" apart. Make sure that the root is pointed downwards. I hold the seed by its seed cover, using a tweezer and guide the seed into a hole made in the soil. Plant it at the depth that is recommended for the variety.

Once the sprout is up and growing with 1 or 2 sets of leaves, I transfer them into their own small pots.

This way you have control over growing conditions. They would also grow quicker. At this time I put my potted seedlings in a Large plastic storage bin for protection and let them have morning sun while I harden them off. I bring them in at night if below 50F degrees.

Caption: Here are part of those I sowed this year protected from wind in a plastic bin.

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Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
11:36 AM

Post #7440973

Was just browsing and saw your conversation with PGT in seed germination forum regarding paper towel method..I see you have planted seeds in cell packs and in Clear, Storage container..Am I understanding that once you have 2 or 3 leaves, you transfer them to a larger pot(maybe 4 or 4 1/2 inch);do you keep them in that same container once you transfer them to their own pots? When the soil is warmed up enough, do you transfer them to the flowerbeds? Can you WS in 6-8 oz. yogurt containers in that same type container and then when they get a few leaves, transfer to larger pot, until ready to put in garden? This will be my first year of WS and I am reading all post for people's experiences so I can learn from them. What do you feel was your biggest challenge your first year of WS?
pgt
Chalfont, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
1:05 PM

Post #7441067

Pippi,
I listened to Blomma's advice. I transferred my Lupine seedlings to cell packs (but I used potting soil instead of seed starting mix), and put them outside with the clear lid of the packs on top to protect them. They did great. Almost all of them survived, and when they got a few true leaves on them I transferred them directly into my gardens. Some of them got eaten, but most of them survived. Looking forward to seeing them bloom this year!
I also did a version of what you described with the yogurt containers with poppies. I read that poppies transfer poorly. So, I sowed them in those decomposable pots (I can't remember what they are called, but they are gray and kind of feel like cardboard does), and put these inside milk jugs and packed more potting soil around the pots. When the poppies got their a few true leaves, I transplanted the entire desposable pots directly into the ground. This seemed to work pretty well. Looking forward to seeing some blooms this year.

My biggest challenges my first year of wintersowing were the following:
1. Finding enough milk jugs for all the seeds I wanted to sow (neighbors ended up giving me their empty jugs)
2. I didn't expect such great germination, and I definitely planted more seeds than I needed to. Winter sowing really works. Don't count on failure.
3. Finding enough time and room to plant all my little winter sown plants - there were a few containers that ended up in the compost bin b/c I just couldn't face planting any more.
4. Waiting patiently for perennials to bloom. I did have some bloom the first year - Leucanthemum "Alaska" and "Crazy Daisy", Echinacea "Prairie Splendor", Digitalis purpurea "Camelot Rose", Delphinium "Connecticut Yankee" all bloomed their first year. I have to wait for the rest of the perennials to bloom this year. Of course, annuals like Zinnias, larkspur, etc all bloomed the first year so this helped with my lack of patience for perennial blooms.
5. Cleaning up was a pain in the butt. Lots of milk jugs to rinse out with the hose and store. Not fun, but now I have all of my jugs ready to go for this year.

Good luck with your first year. It is really a great method. Especially for perennials and biennials. Your in the same zone that I am, and almost everything I sowed worked.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
3:42 PM

Post #7441678

Pam and Blomma..thank you for explaining about the paper towel method. Interesting! Like you, my biggest challenge has been collecting the jugs and liter size soda bottles. We use 1/2 gal. of milk or beverages. Rarely will we buy the liter size of soda because they go flat but the other day I did buy one and maybe that's what I'll have to do next year and maybe even this year, or go hitting recycle bins in other neighborhoods. I live in a Sr. citizen community and you probably won't find large containers unless the people have recently had families drop in. I'm going to try a few plants this paper towel method, just for curiosity. I will print your instructions off for future reference. I'm going to send you a d-mail because I need to ask what certain flowers you have planted in certain areas.
pgt
Chalfont, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
3:45 PM

Post #7441688

Pippi, I've heard that Starbucks will give you their empty gallon milk jugs. You could give that a try.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
3:45 PM

Post #7441692

Once your seeds have germinated and you are able to plant into the flowerbeds, how do you get the paint pen writing off the container to use the next year? Rubbing Alcohol or dry erase pen cleaner?
pgt
Chalfont, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
3:50 PM

Post #7441721

This will be my second year winter sowing, and I just plant to cross out what was written, and make a new label below the original, with 2010 written next to the plant name. But, I'm interested in seeing what other people do. There's probably a better way.
DenverJude
Denver, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 8, 2010
5:51 PM

Post #7442229

GooGone takes off marker.
http://www.onlinedrummer.com/images/goo_gone.jpg
pgt
Chalfont, PA
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
6:09 PM

Post #7442317

Oh! I love GooGone. We use it all the time to get rid of sticker residue (my three little boys love to decorate our furniture with stickers - ugghh). I'll give it a try. Thanks.
DenverJude
Denver, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 8, 2010
6:13 PM

Post #7442329

It's one of few products that actually lives up to its advertising.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 8, 2010
10:36 PM

Post #7443247

Hey, you learn all kinds of helpful hints on this website!

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 9, 2010
1:40 AM

Post #7443871

Hi Pippi21 and pgt:
Just passed through and saw I needed to clarify something. I sowed all my seeds in kitchen paper towels, not in cell packs. Once the seeds germinated in the towel, I potted some of the sprouted seeds in cell packs to give to my daughter. Other seeds were planted in seeding flats. I don't use jugs to winter sow in for the reason of your qoute below. Also sowing in paper towels gives me more control over not oversowing and wasting seeds.

pgt wrote: Cleaning up was a pain in the butt. Lots of milk jugs to rinse out with the hose and store. Not fun, but now I have all of my jugs ready to go for this year


Photo is my daylily seedling at 6 weeks old. Started in Oct stratified in fridge for 3 weeks in moist kitchen towels inserted in baggie. Then transferred to my window sill where they sprouted. This was to test these open pollinated seeds from my Daylily plants. Ofcourse, now can't toss them.

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 9, 2010
1:41 AM

Post #7443878

Oops, forgot the photo!

PS I use pieces of duck tape to mark plants. A permanent marker works great to write on. At the end of the season, just tear off the duck tape. .

This message was edited Jan 8, 2010 6:46 PM

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Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

January 9, 2010
3:16 AM

Post #7444203

So are you telling us that you don't write the name of the seeds/plant on the outside of the jugs, but write it on the duct tape? You already have it in the inside of the jug with your plant marker. Makes sense to me. Thanks!

blomma

blomma
Wyoming, WY
(Zone 4a)

January 9, 2010
4:03 AM

Post #7444312

Pippy, I don't use jugs to sow seeds in. Many of the stronger growing seedlings were potted in foam coffe cups. These I can write on. If I want to reuse them, I can use duck tape and write on that.

I tried wood lables but found the writing don't hold up too long. On cell packs, duck tape work great. I have even cut labels from plastic milk cartons and use a permanent marker to write on them with. They make great temporary lables---and cheap.

To label plants in the garden, I use purchased plastic T-labels from Walmart. I can reuse them by removing writing with a steel wool soap pad.

I have tried many different types of home made labels for seeds and seedling. I'm cheap and like to recycle. This year I will use only duck tape and temporary labels made from plastic milk container.

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