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  • Seed collecting for school gardens October 20, 2014
    If you’re already thinking about next year’s school garden, this is the time to pick up your seeds: they are cheaper now than at pretty much any other time of the year. When I say “pick up” seeds, I mean it literally. Go out to your fading garden and get them. Collecting seeds takes only a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beauti […]
    Stacey Evers
  • Inviting Dragonflies to Lunch in the Garden October 17, 2014
    I noticed someone enjoying a bit of lunch in the garden recently.  It was an Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) and based on the coloration, a male. Males become pruinose blue with white claspers and a green face.” More often than not when I come across an Eastern Pondhawk in the garden it is one […] We love hearing from you! Please click […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Desert Ants are Dynamic October 11, 2014
    June was National Pollinator month, and many folks decided to help insect pollinators by planting flowers. Now for some not so popular insects that are also highly beneficial for the garden, but few people welcome them – ants. Indeed, some people are of the belief that the only good ant is a dead ant. While […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to […]
    Jacqueline Soule
  • Strays in the Garden October 10, 2014
    Hear the word stray and most likely you think of a dog or cat running the neighborhood while some irresponsible owner is oblivious to the whereabouts of their pets. My area?  We get a different category of strays.  Next door currently has a stray chicken hanging around.  A couple of weeks ago, a gang of […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • The Baby American Goldfinch in the Garden October 9, 2014
    Recently a fellow writer published a noticeably well researched post about the American Goldfinch. I was surprised to learn from reading this informative piece that this- early fall- is the American Goldfinch’s breeding season, and they only have one brood per year. A couple days later I was working at a clients home and saw […] We love hearing from you! Ple […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Sassafras October 7, 2014
    You know the question, “If you were a tree, what tree would you be?” My quick answer would be, “A sassafras tree.” I’ve had a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Virginia, since 1992. During that time I’ve hiked my mountain up and down, getting to know all the things that grow here. I […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • The Lowly Carpet Beetle October 6, 2014
    The scientific name for this tiny insect is the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci).  Carpet beetles are pests in the home and in natural history museums.  The adult beetles eat pollen and nectar, but their larvae feed on biological fibers from carpets, clothing, feathers, plus insect and animal collections. Carpet beetle larvae hatch from eggs […] We […]
    Judy Burris
  • Gardening Change of Attitude October 3, 2014
    YIKES!  Another year flew by and this article begins my fifth year as a writer here at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Four years in the tank…every Friday since October 8, 2010.  Mother Nature has provided so many interesting encounters to share in my  208 articles.  I begin article 209 with how things have molded my gardening […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • In This Fifth Season of Subtle Changes … October 2, 2014
    Autumn is coming. The Cottonwoods will turn bright yellow first, then the willows, and then the Sycamores later.  Even as late as Thanksgiving, Sycamores will turn orange, and their large palm-like leaves will begin their descent to the canyon floor throughout December.  As holiday shoppers woosh along winding canyon roads en route to malls in […] We love he […]
    Kathy Vilim

#GardenChat

Stop Poking Around

Some seeds are just plain pokey when it comes to germinating. My general observation: the smaller the seed the longer the germination. Larger  seeds like beans and squash may sprout in one week or less. Tiny pepper, eggplant and tomato seeds can take up to three weeks. Pre-sprouting seeds is one way of checking the progress of small seeds without digging around in the soil to see if they have germinated yet. (Yes, I do that.) Pre-sprouting also works well for tender crops like melons and cucumbers that are often direct-seeded late in the spring. Planting pre-sprouted seeds outdoors minimizes the chance of seeds rotting or being eaten before germination.

Here’s what you need:

Spray bottle, resealable plastic bag, seeds, paper towel/napkin, marker.

Spray bottle, resealable plastic bag, seeds, paper towel/napkin, marker.

Here’s what you do:

Use spray bottle to thoroughly dampen paper towel with warm water.

Use spray bottle to thoroughly dampen paper towel with warm water.

Space seeds evenly making sure none overlap.

Space seeds evenly making sure none overlap.

Fold damp paper towel over seeds.

Fold damp paper towel over seeds.

Repeat with more rows, folding paper towel over each row.

Repeat with more rows, folding paper towel over each row.

press-air-from-seed-germinating-bag

When finished rolling seeds, place entire paper towel into resealable bag.

Seal the bag and label. Check daily by unrolling, seeds need air. Plant when sprouted.

Seal the bag 2/3 of the way,label and store in a warm area. The top of the refrigerator is fine. Open and unroll daily, seeds need air to germinate. When they have sprouted, plant in pots.

Sprouted seeds.

Sprouted seeds.

That’s it! Several paper towels with seeds will fit into one bag, be sure to label them and check daily for progress. This technique works for flower seeds as well, if they require stratification place the bag in the freezer for a week or two then move to a warm area. Try it!

9 comments to Stop Poking Around

  • Love this idea. I have a few native flowers that take forever to sprout. I’ll have to give this a try. :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog.

  • Thank you for the helpful visual demonstration. I have the courage to attempt the pepper seeds again! I think I will be presprouting many seeds this year.

  • I did this once. I put them on top of the fridge, when I went to check on them a few days later they had turned rotten.

  • Lisa

    You bring up a good point, Melanie. It is important to open the bag and unroll the paper towel EVERYDAY. Seeds require air in order to germinate and by opening the bag each day they will have an ample supply. I’ve had good success with this method in the past. It may be worth experimenting with a few seeds left from last year if you aren’t sure.

  • Fun post. Gives us something to do while the weather outside is so frightful.

    I came here by way of Blotanical. Glad to see you there.

  • What a neat thing! I am so terrible about poking around in the soil as well! I’ve also been known to pull plants out of pots that I’m trying to clone (just to check the root growth!). I’m simply terrible about planting impatience. :(

    Q: If you’re unrolling the paper towel each day, won’t it dry out?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Usually the seeds sprout within 4-6 days so drying out isn’t a problem. If the paper towel feels dry when you check the seeds, simply spritz with enough water to keep it damp not soaking.

  • trying this with tomato seeds now…boy they are tiny. I’m going to have to use a tweezer, a flashlight, and a magnifying glass to see if they are sprouted yet. Thanks!

  • Lisa Gustavson

    It’s so much easier to see them germinate and planting is a breeze! Good luck! :-)

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