While we wait patiently for Spring, there are a few ways we can get prepared for the growing season. With March several days away, it’s the perfect time to start germinating seeds.
Easy Paper Towel Method
3. paper towel
4. ziploc bags
Step 1: Select your seeds. Local companies like Sow True Seeds promote vegetation that grows well in Western North Carolina and seeking out these products helps support the local economy. Many gardening shops in the downtown area and even grocers like Green Life carry Sow True.
Step 2: Once you have your seeds, you can use whole paper towels, or rip them into strips. Make sure you dampen each paper towel, so it is wet all the way through, but not soaking. Shake some seeds – spread out – inside the paper towel. If you are just testing old seeds to see if they will grow, you may only want to use a couple. If you are trying to grow a large crop, you can germinate as many as you’d like.
Step 3: Fold up the paper towel and put it inside the ziploc bag. You may want to label your bags carefully if you can’t identify the plants by their seeds. Make sure you seal all your little eco-systems carefully. Sometimes I like to blow air inside the bag to inflate it before sealing it closed. Repeat steps 2 & 3 with as many seeds as you’d like. Make sure you start with the crops that you’ll be planting in early Spring, as it’s too early to begin Summer and Fall fruits and veggies quite yet!
Step 4: Be patient! Just like everything in gardening, germination is a slow process. Let your seeds sit. Some will take three days to germinate, most will take the better part of two weeks. Be sure to keep the paper towels damp; if they begin to look too dry, go ahead and re-wet the towel, sealing the bag when you are finished. You can keep an eye on your sprouts, but don’t open them up too often. The little sprouts in the first picture above need more time, while the sprouts on the brown paper towel are ready for the next step.
Step 5: You have a few options at this point. Get some egg crates or plastic planters and some soil and plant your seedlings. Then you have the option to keep your plants inside through the frosts, letting them grow bigger with sunlight from the window and being careful not to overwater the young plants. You could also get old take-out containers (the flat Chinese food containers with the clear plastic lids work best) and just create a bigger space for your sprouts to thrive, at this point, spraying them once a day.
We can’t wait for Spring to come!