Pre-sprouting seeds is a method used to germinate seeds on a damp paper towel before they are planted. It is a great gardening hack that speeds up germination by providing the seeds with perfect moisture, air, and temperature conditions indoors.
Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.
How to Pre-Sprout Seeds
Step 2: Label your containers. Use a water-resistant marker to label your containers or bags.
Step 1: Line your container with paper towels. I like several layers of paper towels, so I fold them in half and cut to fit. If you are using plastic bags, fold and cut your paper towels to fit.
Step 8: Keep your seedlings warm and moist. Use your spray bottle to keep the soil surface moist and continue caring for your seedlings as described from step 5 on in this article: 10 Steps to Starting Seedlings Indoors.
Make sure you are planting the seeds at the correct time of year for the region you live in for the best yield. Seed packets may have ideal planting times listed on the package, or you can check a seed planting calendar online.
On the other hand, if seeds from multiple sources are failing to germinate, you may need to look into either your soil or your water. Your potting soil may not have sufficient moisture absorption or drainage, or your water may need to be filtered. You may also be in an environment that is too cold for seeds to properly germinate, in which case you may need to invest in something to warm the soil.
2. Begin by Starting Your Seeds Indoors
There’s only one catch: if you start your seeds inside, you need to harden them before planting them outside. That means slowly acclimating them to an outdoor environment before being planted, starting with one or two hours outside a day. And remember, many plants are actually suitable to an indoor garden. Herbs and some vegetables can be grown quite happily inside or in pots — so you don’t necessarily need to move your plants outside.
If you’re failing to germinate seeds outside, starting them inside can help. Purchase a seed tray and plant a few seeds in each one. After your seedlings have grown, you can then move them outside to continue to develop. This protects your plants during their most vulnerable period, and lets you completely control the amount of water they get. In the early stages of growth, a single storm could wipe out your new plants!
Once your seeds have been placed and you’ve started monitoring garden temperatures, you simply need to keep them well-watered until they germinate. Too little moisture and the seeds won’t germinate; too much moisture and they could actually begin to rot instead of developing. Some seeds simply take a long time to germinate to begin with. Lavender, for instance, can take anywhere from four to six weeks to germinate. During this time, resist the urge to try to check on the seeds or disturb the oil. Instead, just continue watering as needed and monitoring your sensors.
It is important to have pots and soil ready to go.
It may seem hard to pick up a tiny seed, but it really is quite easy. you can use a tooth pick, or just your fingers, which is what I do.
Plant them at a depth of 1-2 seeds size ( shallow depth for small seeds, deeper for bigger seeds) , and gently mist them daily for the first week.
Our favorite seed companies are Baker Creek Seeds, and Everwilde Farms both are started and ran by some great passionate people! Just look at that gorgeous green corn from Baker Creek, irresistible!
Or make this seed storage box from cardboard boxes! ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
This is our FAVORITE method to germinate seeds quickly. As passionate gardeners, we have been using it to start seeds for over 10 years! It works great for all herbs, flowers, and vegetables seeds.