Wondering whether your garden seeds will sprout? You can eliminate some of the wait time by pre-germinating seeds. Pre sprouting seeds germinates seeds before planting. This saves time, eliminates thinning, and conserves space.
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.
Benefits of Pre-Sprouting Seeds
About half the old seeds sprouted, and the rest were duds. I planted the sprouted seeds and watched the seedlings carefully to see if they would grow. I didn’t expect much from them, but they did grow into healthy transplants that were eventually planted into the garden.
Step 7: Transfer sprouted seeds to growing medium. Some seeds will sprout quicker than others. As soon as a seed shows tiny roots it is ready to plant. Carefully transfer your sprouted seed to your prepared seedling containers or soil blocks. Be very careful not to damage the root. If you do, the sprout will die. If the root has grown into the paper towel, snip around it and plant paper towel and all.
Pre-sprouting lets you germinate the seeds first, and then you can place the sprouted seed with the root into a seedling container to grow. You can see the seed and don’t have to wonder if it is doing anything under the soil. Other advantages of pre-sprouting your seeds include:
It is important to drain the seeds well, for several hours, while allowing plenty of air circulation. Mesh lids work well for this step, as the jar may be inverted and propped at an angle to drain for long periods.
Any glass jar will do for sprouting, though one with a wide opening is most convenient for rinsing, draining, and removing sprouts. Choose a jar large enough to contain the seeds and sprouts.
Start Making Your Own Sprouts Today!
A general rule is to soak at least 8 hours. Some larger seeds may require a longer soak. Soak until the seeds have doubled in size. Keep in mind that temperature also affects soak time. In warmer temperatures, the soak time is shorter. In cooler temperatures, soak time is longer, and larger seeds like chickpeas or kidney beans may require a 24-hour soak.
The most popular and convenient method for sprouting seeds is in a jar. Almost any seed can be sprouted in a jar, following these basic guidelines.
Once sprouts are ready to harvest, rinse one final time and remove un-sprouted seeds and seed hulls, if desired. Drain thoroughly one final time before eating or storing sprouts.
Start with seeds that are less than two years old, a soilless seed starting medium of some kind, and a container that can help hold moisture in.
Dampen (but do not soak) the soilless seed starting medium and place it in the container.
How to Germinate Seeds
Factors that affect seed germination vary from plant species to species, but there are a few that are standard. If the seeds that you are growing are not germinated in what is considered a standard way, the seed packet will state this in the directions. Factors that affect seed germination are:
It’s easy to get started with cheap seed starting. Let’s look at how to germinate seeds.
Soilless seed starting medium– A soilless seed starting medium will insure that the seeds and seedlings are not killed by too much salt (or salinity) which is frequently found in soil or even regular soilless mixes. The soilless seed starting medium can be an actual soilless seed starting mix (bought at your local nursery) or a folded paper towel. If you choose to use a paper towel, you will need to move the germinated seeds to soil or another growing medium after they have sprouted.