Wednesday, April 7, 2010

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had some old Early Girl hybrid tomato seeds. I was unsure of their viability, so I used EG’s germination method to see if any would sprout.

Following EG's instructions, I layered a small plastic container with a paper towel and placed several seeds on top:

I dripped water on the paper towel until it was saturated. Then closed up the container and placed it in a warm place:

I checked it daily for sprouting and made sure the paper towel didn’t dry out. After several days, I added the rest of the seeds to the container. There were eight seeds in all, I was hoping for at least 50% germination out of these old seeds.

After a while, I gave up on these seeds. Assumed they were too old to germinate and placed the container aside. Last Sunday, I thought I would use the container to germinate some newer tomato seeds I recently purchased. When I opened the container and looked at the old seeds, I spotted some growth! Upon closer inspection, I found four seeds sprouted!

I carefully placed the sprouted seeds into soil blocks and misted them with water. I checked them later in the day and found that the sprouts almost doubled in size:

I think I am going to like this germination method. However, I need to be more patient and allow the seed to germinate before giving up on them.

I started the rest of my tomato seeds this past weekend using the same method.

Wish me luck!


  1. Good luck. I may do that with my tomato seed too. I have a lot of varieties and not many seeds of each so I want to make sure every seed germinates that wants to.

  2. Excellent! I'm having a devil of a time getting some of my seeds to germinate. I should have done like this a long time ago. Next year, I'll know what to do!

  3. Works great, right? I do that sometimes, too. Give up on some seeds, I mean. Then I go to re-use the container or just clean it out, and, well, hey, whaddya know? Sprouts! Maybe it's the old "watched pot never boils" thing...

  4. Good luck! I need to redo my sprouting experiment with the indigo seeds. The first batch got inadvertently thrown away.

  5. Daphne: It is much easier to have a few containers instead of all the soil blocks. I like that I can see results in only a few days too.

    Ribbit: It really works. Some tomato seeds I started on Sunday have already sprouted.

    Sb158: Maybe it is similar to “watched pot never boils.” LOL!

    Stefaneener: Yes, I can see how that can happen. I had some pea seeds soaking in a little dish on the kitchen counter and K threw them away!

  6. I'm happy for your good fortune. It's always such a relief to see signs of life, especially when it's unexpected.

    My seed collection is all relatively new but I'm sure this germination technique will come in handy in the future.

  7. That is a great way to start seeds - particularly since you use the soil blocks which makes the next step planting process really easy - just drop them into the indentation in the block!

  8. Thomas: My new tomato seeds sprouted in only 3-days using this method. I like it as it was easy to place the sprouted seeds in soil blocks.

    kitsapFG: Yes, that is exactly what I do. It seems almost too easy.