Seed Germination with “the paper towel” method
Have you tried to get those seeds to sprout with no luck? We have all been there so don’t get discouraged. Let’s go over a basic technique that is almost guaranteed to bring you success!
Seed Germination. “What exactly is it?” The technical definition of Seed Germination is “the process by which an organism grows from a seed or from spores.” Basically, this is what hopefully will happen when you produce the right environment for the seeds to grow. This just means the proper amounts of lightness / darkness, water, and keeping the air temperature in “the comfort zone.” There are several methods of germinating seeds depending on exactly what type of seed you want to grow.
Germination rate – The germination rate describes how many seeds of a particular species of plant will sprout over a given amount of time. For example, if a specific seed species has a germination rate of 75, then that means that out of 100 seeds, you should expect that 75 of them will sprout. It’s good to know what your seeds germination rate is so that you know exactly what to expect when you are trying to get them going.
The paper towel technique – Yes you read that correctly. If you haven’t heard of it, there is a method called the paper towel technique. I’m pretty sure this is not the official scientific term, but nonetheless, it is tried and true, and I have no doubt that it will bring you success too. I know there are many different versions of this technique, but this is the way I have always done it, and it consistently gives me great results. Adjust it to your liking. It really does work more often than not.
First, you will want to get a paper towel and a Tupperware container or a container of some sort. If you don’t have any Tupperware and are looking to buy something, these disposable food storage containers would work perfectly for seed germination and you really can’t beat the price.
Fold the paper towel in half and set it inside of the Tupperware container.
Place your seeds on the paper towel, then fold the top piece of the paper towel over the seeds so that they are basically sitting in the middle of a paper towel sandwich. Yum!
Wet the paper towel just enough to make it damp, but not soaked.
Put a layer of plastic wrap over the Tupperware, but don’t seal it completely closed. Just let the plastic wrap sit on of the Tupperware container. This is going to help to create a greenhouse effect, but will still allow fresh air inside. If you completely seal the container, it will be vulnerable to mold. That is definitely not going to help your seeds to sprout! You can also poke a few small holes in the plastic wrap if you want. Put the Tupperware container in a window, preferably a window that gets a fair amount of sun each day. Check on it daily. You don’t want it to dry out! If you place this in a window that gets hot afternoon sun, you will definitely want to keep more water in it to prevent everything from drying out. You will want to make sure the air temperature stays between 70-85 degrees. This is the “comfort zone” that will give you the best success and a high seed germination rate. If It is a colder time of year and you are having issues keeping the air temperature warm enough, you can use one of these warming mats. They will keep the seeds and soil inside that “Comfort Zone” and they will be sprouting before you know it.
I have had seeds that sprouted overnight with this method! But generally speaking, you should see your seeds start to sprout within just a few days. They could also take up to a week or two. Once your seeds have sprouted a tail that is at least 1/4″ long, you will want to plant them in soil or rockwool if you are using a hydroponic setup. In either case, you are on to the next phase of growing!
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