Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pre-sprouting Seeds

I have been pre-sprouting my Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Cabbage. Broccoli & Cauliflower seeds for a few years now. I used to just put them in seed starting mix and wait. I have found that pre-sprouting is much more efficient, especially when you only have a couple of seeds of a particular variety. It also eliminates the thinning step.


It's very easy to do. Just take a damp (not wet) piece of paper towel, put the seeds on it (wrapping or folding the paper towel over them) and either place it in an unsealed plastic bag or small plastic container. Don't forget to mark the bag or container with the variety of seed! Then place the seeds in a warm spot, about 70 degrees is good. I put mine on top of the radiator covers. The seeds will sprout in a few days. You need to check them at least once a day to make sure they aren't dried out.




Once the seeds are sprouted, carefully put them in a soil less mixture in a pot. You need to handle them gently to insure you don't damage the root. I use a pair of tweezers and gently grab them by the root. I usually take a piece of paper towel with the root. 



Gently place the little sproutling in the soil.


Cover with the soil less mixture. 
If the sproutling is big enough, I leave a little green sticking out.


Then I mark the pot and cover with some plastic wrap. They are then placed on the germinating table under the lights in the basement. Once the little sproutlings get big enough, I uncover them.

24 comments:

  1. Oh, I think it's time for me to start my summer veggies! Viva La Summer! Viva La Veggie Garden!
    ~~Lori

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    1. Yes, it's about that time!!!!!!!

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  2. I just know I would forget to water one day and it would be bye bye seedling

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    1. Sue, they usually stay moist. I haven't lost one yet!

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  3. I tried pre-sprouting my tomato and pepper seeds last year and had great results. I will be starting most of my seeds this way from now on.

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    1. I really like pre-sprouting my seeds. I think you have much better success then just sticking them in the soil.

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  4. Great post! I've been pre-sprouting my tomato and pepper seeds for years. I find it much quicker and easier than direct sowing. This yeat I'm branching out and have sucessfully pre-sprouted spinach and swiss chard this year, others to follow.

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    1. I think pre-sprouting is the way to go with a lot of seeds

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  5. Thats a great idea - I have some seeds which never seem to germinate for me, I will definitely try this with them so I can see exactly what is and isn't happening.

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    1. Give it a try. If you have seeds that still won't germinate you can sterilize them. I will do a post on it. It has worked for me with some pepper seeds that wouldn't germinate for anything.

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  6. Thanks for the great tip! Perfect timing too, we are going to be setting up the seedling nursery this week sometime. Hooray for springtime plans and dreams!

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    1. You are very welcome! I love it that name "seedling nursery"!

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  7. Thanks for this post Robin, we're following your process with several seeds as I type.

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    1. Jody, I think you will have great success with pre-sprouting your seeds. Let me know how it works out for you two.

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  8. I definitely feel like pre-sprouting is a must for me with certain seeds like artichokes, beets, spinach and corn. Though I tend to sow them soon after the root appears but before any green is visible (though oftentimes I forget about them and it's too late). I'll have to try your tweezer method for the ones I forget.

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    1. The tweezer method works great. Just grab the root, paper towel and all and gently pull it out!

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  9. I'm trying your method this morning for some seeds of the Delicious tomato I got from Wilderness. They didn't germinate for me in the pots like the rest of my sowings so I've just now put the seeds in the moist towel like you said to see if I can get them to sprout. Your post was very timely! Thanks!

    Did you get back to New Orleans for Mardi Gras?

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    1. Marcia, If they still don't germinate try the next post I posted.

      No, we don't go for Mardi Gras and have no desire to. We will be going back in May

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  10. I'm going to try this for some of my difficult seeds. I've done it to test seeds before, but not usually to grown them on.

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    1. I always pre-sprout my tomatoes and peppers. It speeds up the process and you don't waste any seeds. I started my 4 early tomatoes and your Sungold seed was the first ready for planting. That's the one in the picture!

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  11. Great tip! I was given some heirloom tomato seeds (only 10!) and am super excited about them, but also a bit worried about their germination...this sounds perfect! Thank you!

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    1. All of my tomatoes are heirlooms or have been given to me from a fellow gardener. Those few seeds are so precious. This way you know exactly what's going on and don't waste any of them.

      Let me know how you make out with the pre-sprouting.

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