Germinating Bulk Seeds: Bag or Paper Towel Method

If you don’t want to start from dry seeds or use a bulk germinating tray, you can also sprout the seeds in a bag or paper towel. Here’s how.

Germinate in bag or paper towel

You germinate seeds by placing them in a zip-lock bag partially filled with water, or in a damp paper towel. Place them in a warm, consistent temperature, area for a few days and you will have little sprouts with a root and a shoot.

After gently separating each little sprout, you can then take one of two next steps.

The first is to place each sprout in a seed starting tray. Fill the tray with just a little soil, so that the roots have something to grab onto and grow into. Place each sprout in each square, then gently backfill the tray so that just some of the shoot is covered. Wait a few weeks and you will have a full tray of ready to transplant starts.


The other method is to place the sprouts directly into the field.  Ensuring antiquate spacing, burry the roots and point the shoots straight up. Try and do this on a cloudy day or during a time in the day that the sun is not bearing down and scorching your delicate sprouts.  The tricky part here is to make sure these sprouts stay moist for the next three days. You can use a soaker house or a drip line that is always on.

Starting a large amount of seeds can be tricky and time consuming but will only lead to a large scale crop for your field this season. Practicing which method works for you will take a lot of time and patience as there are so many factors that may need altering before you get a good germination rate. The time and money it takes for you to get from seeds to plants will be one of the biggest costs that effect your production. So start practicing now for years of happy growing!

Do you have a favorite method of germinating seeds?

Photos: David Swart, Ritesh Man Tamrakar

PrintBy Jake Frazier

Jake Frazier is an outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Residential Ecology, a sustainable ecological resource management company. He uses existing natural systems to improve the quality of life for both humans and the Earth. Jake is interested in permaculture, living systems and exploring. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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