In my first post I showed a picture of the seeds I started pre-sprouting in anticipation for this spring. I'm going to show you how to do this....
Egg cartons /container
Zip lock / plastic wrap
Droper / mister
Pick your seeds:
Using a grow chart like this or following the directions on the back of the seed package, choose your seeds to start. Honestly, every chart says something a bit different. Just have fun with it and experiment to see what grows.
NOTE: Some gardeners believe that certain seeds aren't viable for pre-sprouting. I say do it anyway to see what happens! Gardening is all about learning from experience. I will also add that it's beneficial to maintain a garden journal so you know what has worked and what hasn't.
Moisten paper towel:
Run under water and squeeze out most of the moisture, you're looking for damp but not soaked paper towel. You can use the scissors to cut the sizes you need for your container or just rip it.
Using tweezers, carefully place seeds on damp paper towel.
USE YOUR LABELS PEOPLE! There is nothing worse than growing a whole lot of mystery plants. Make sure you know what your sprouting because each plant will require different care.
Seal your container with it's lid, plastic wrap or a zip lock bag to keep the moisture in. Make sure whatever you use to cover the container is clear so that light can get in.
Check your seeds at least every 3 days. If you're like me, you'll probably have you face in there every day :) But, every 3 days is just fine to check the progress and to make sure your paper towel hasn't dried out.
NOTE: You may notice that some of your seeds have a layer of film or mold on them, this means that there was too much moisture and no airflow. Don't be alarmed, gently remove it before planting (some will disagree with me here, planting the seeds that had mold, but I've have a lot of luck with them regardless of this. Plants are resiliant, give them a chance).
Carefully take your sprouted seeds and plant them as instructed, lightly moisten your soil and keep them moist. Place them somewhere they can catch light for most of the day.
Why pre-sprout / use the seed germination test
Cuts down on "thinning out": Now you won't have to seperate your sprouted plants which was a result of putting in a cluster of seeds in one pot seeing what popped up.
Cuts down on transfer time and stress on plant: The more you transfer plants the more stress you put on them. Sprout - Plant - Transplant, that's it!
Better for colder climates with short growing seasons: Here in Saskatoon, you just never know when things will start to warm up and stay warm. Time is of the essence with our short growing season, so giving our plants the best and earliest start possible is a must.
Because it's cool: It's really fricken amazing to see how these small little recepticles turn into beautiful life giving plants
Educational: If you have children, this is definitely a project that is not only fun but will teach your children about life, plants, food, science, gardening and more!
Where can I get seeds?
Local small businesses: Search for local businesses that provide a selection of seeds. Here is an example of one, but there are many so shop around!
Seed lending library: Many cities have their own seed exchange/lending libraries where you can "check out" seeds for the begining of the season and return some from your best crops at the end of the season. Saskatoon, we are getting one very soon!! Click here for more info and to stay informed.
Seed purchasing events: Specifically, this week in Saskatoon is Seedy Sunday. Go and check it out, you'll be amazed at the selection!
Online seed stores: There are many online stores that provide catalogs of seeds. I won't note any here because I personally have never used one but feel free to google it for your area.
Home and garden stores: There are TONS of places that carry seeds. I suggest if you do buy from these stores that you buy organic seeds.
So now you're in the know! Happy sprouting!!!
Ninetta (Nina) Savino