A gardener wanting to get a few days head start on their planting can germinate the seeds in the house and then plant only the ones that sprout. This gives 100% germination rates, plus gives gardeners a harvest a few days earlier. This technique works with any plant that grows from seed. PLEASE NOTE: it will not work on seeds with pre-treatment needed.
- Lay paper toweling on the glass dish or plate. Metal should not be used because it can rust in just a few days and ruin the pan.
- Pour seeds out of the packet and space them with your fingers to allow room for them to sprout. Tape the packet to the bottom of the plate or dish so you can easily identify what is sprouting.
- Pour lukewarm water into the pan or plate to dampen the paper toweling. Cover the plate or dish with another layer of paper toweling and enough water to dampen the top layer of toweling.
- Lay plastic wrap over the plate or dish. It shouldn't be air-tight, because you want to allow some air circulation while keeping moisture in.
- Place the plate or dish atop the refrigerator. This is a relatively warm place and isn't dramatically changed by normal air currents. Check the dish or plate after 12 hours to make sure it is damp. You don't want the seeds lying in water, but they have to be damp enough to sprout. If you are fortunate enough to have a heated grower's mat, place the dish or plate on the mat, away from air currents.
- The packet of seeds tells you how long before expected germination, but germinating the seeds in this manner should sprout them at least a day or two sooner than if you were germinating them in planting medium.
As soon as the seeds sprout, you can transfer them to planting medium in pots or six-packs.