Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Starting Older Seeds

You can see the tiny root sprouts
If you don't grow a full size garden, you usually end up with a good supply of seeds from year to year.  I purchase seeds instead of plants because I like to find rare and heirloom vegetables and the local garden centers only carry the "average" garden variety of plants.  One thing I like to do to see if they will grow before committing them to a peat pot is getting them to germinate first.

In order to do this, you will need a plastic container with a flat type bottom, similar to what you may place a sandwich in.  Place a folded damp paper towel in the bottom of the container and space your seeds in the bottom.  Dampen another folded paper towel and place on top of the seeds.  Place the lid on it and place in a warm location, like on your entertainment equipment, a coffee maker that has a continually heated water reserve, or on top of your refrigerator.  You need a warm location because you are trying to create a warm humid environment within the container to encourage the seeds to germinate.  If you germinate more than one type of seed this way, be sure to label the tops of the containers.  Check them after 2 days to see if there is any change in the seed.  Be sure to keep the paper towels damp but not soaked. Check the containers daily.

Once your seeds begin to sprout a little root, place them in prepared peat pots.  Gently remove the seed from the plastic container and drop in a peat pot filled 2/3 full of good quality potting soil or seed starter.  Be very careful not to damage the tiny sprout, or you will have to discard the seed.  Top with a half inch more soil, gently patting down.  Place your peat pots on a tray and add a little water to the tray so the peat pots can soak up the water from the bottom. Place in a warm, sunny location until time to transfer outside.