Posted on

get seeds to germinate

This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

This article has been viewed 562,777 times.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 14 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status.

If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you know there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing the first tiny green shoots come up after you’ve planted seeds. To germinate seeds you will need to give them the correct type of soil and make sure they get the right amount of sun or shade, plus regulate the temperature so they don’t get too hot or cold. Read on to learn how to give seeds the right environment to germinate and grow.

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.

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.

Place the sprouted seed on top of your growing medium and cover with dry seedling mix. Mist with your spray bottle and place under your growing lights.

Materials needed to pre-sprout seeds:

It may be helpful to review this article on 10 Steps to Starting Seedling Indoors to get your seed starting area setup, and then follow the steps to pre germinate your seeds:

Step 3: Dampen your paper towels. Spray the paper towels with your spray bottle. You are aiming for the paper towels to be damp, not dripping. If you notice the water pooled in your container, dump out the extra.

You May Also Like:

Step 8: Keep your seedlings warm and moist. Use your spray bottle to keep the soil surface moist and continue caring for your seedlings as described from step 5 on in this article: 10 Steps to Starting Seedlings Indoors.

It’s pretty fancy… it’s a plastic bag! After seeding and watering my containers or pots, I slide them into a plastic bag and seal it shut.

As I wrote above, at my house most of my seeds germinate just fine on my seedling rack in the ambient temperature of my home.

Seed planting depth: Most seeds will need to be covered in soil to aid germination. But, some seeds, like flowers, should only be lightly covered because they need light in order to germinate.

Tips for How to Germinate Seeds for Seed Starting

My Jalapeno seed packet has a tip that says, “Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge.” (I’ll talk more about this in #4.)

Without supplemental heat, you might have spotty pepper germination. Over the years I’ve had the best success with using either a seedling heat mat underneath newly planted seeds or an electric soil warming cable buried in the soil of the tray. (Read more about the cable here.)

If you’re feeling like you want some extra guidance with seed starting, my how-to video series, Super Easy Seed Starting, walks you through the entire process of starting seeds from start to finish. You’ll avoid lots of mistakes and have a fun and successful experience!

There are a few simple tricks you can incorporate into your seed starting process that will help you increase your success rate and avoid seed starting disappointments.