Germinating seeds on wet paper towels

Bright starBright star Wrea GreenPosts: 575

I've been watching videos on YouTube about seed sowing in general in readiness for the spring. There are quite a few videos showing the wet paper towel method and wondered if anyone on the forum has tried it. it would appear that by using this method you know which seeds have germinated before you plant them in the usual way. Would be interested to read your thoughts on the matter. 

Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 19,997

    I've never done it B.Star. You then have to faff about planting them up anyway which can be awkward.

    Pot or tray method for me every time. When you have to prick out or separate, you have something more substantial to deal with, so less damage anyway  image

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    I have used this method for sweetcorn for many, many years.  Damp paper in a closed container is best and examine them every day and remove the germinated ones every day.  With some companies I get 98 to 100% germination.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 24,400

    It's one of the methods mentioned here

    which was my seed sowing bible for many years when there wasn't much on the internet.

    I've never tried it, the sort of plants I grow need the outdoor method.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 19,997

    I suppose it will largely depend on what you're sowing too.

    I don't grow many tender or tricky things. Hardy stuff mainly.

    Do you separate the seedling from the paper Welshonion, or do you simply plant them with the paper attached - ie split/tear the paper ? I can see that being easier than trying to remove the little seedling. image

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    I've used this method successfully for both sweet and edible peas. Damp/wet paper towel in a flat bowl, seeds spaced out then covered with clingfilm. When they germinate, I just lift each seedling individually and plant in a deep pot / Rootrainer. Ideally plant as soon as you see that germination is happening i.e. swollen, coat cracked and radicle (root) emerging.Since the seeds germinate at different rates, you need to check them daily and pot up the ones that have germinated.

    I haven't had any problems even with ones that have been left a day or two too long and the radicle has grown out over the paper - if you're careful it lifts off OK.

  • Bright starBright star Wrea GreenPosts: 575

    I will probably have a go at this method just to experiment a bit, it will be reassuring to know that the seed I'm planting has germinated and won't be wasted. 

    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,953

    I tried it last year with seeds whose sow by date had gone. Those that germinated were potted into small modules. It worked well. Did as Onopordum did. 

    For small seeds I used tweezers to pick them off the kitchen paper.

    Large seeds are easier to handle, peas, beans, sweet corn and sweetpea can easily be germinated. 

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 4,065

    I find it's a good method for "found it at the back of the shelf" packets of unknown age - you can see if they are viable by sowing a sample few seeds on damp paper first.  If they germinate it's worth sowing the rest in the normal way.

    "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change"    Stephen Hawking
  • hi bright star      I do a combo/  of a the answers I have used pape towels but I space them out in rows and do as fairygirl says split paper ( I may say that I have only done this a a experiment  and it works  I have tried a few things and they work ( and I do some times soak my big seeds in warm water for a couple hours //beet root I soak overnight and a better germination   but saying all that I still go back to paper pots or make plug plants as long as I have tried something new and works keep it in the store head)   hope some help  michael

  • aym280   hi    yes I don't mind trying ideas I have allways done new things I have a few trays and covers for plug and have just got 9 x 80 plugs for I am going to try and do what a member is doing as I am expecting 600 sets soon  and will put in modules to start of the only difference will have to make hole larger     Michael

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